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Published: August 21st 2018
Country number three, Peru! No points for guessing the main place to visit here, but some points for those who know of The Huascaran National Park and the main city of Huaraz located 8hrs by bus North East of Lima!
This area is the highest point in the Andes and has excellent opportunities for day hikes and multi day treks and is where the famous mountain logo from the Paramount movies is located.
Our stay in Lima was brief, we only saw a very small portion of Mira Flores in less than a day before catching the overnight bus to Huaraz.
We had instant mountain views from our room and the temptation to visit immediately was there but first we had to spend a few days acclimatising. We had several day treks planned and our first one was to Pastoruri glacier at 5200 masl.
Its a trip that takes 3 hours to drive to but that included stops to various places along the route. One of which is to stand among the unique Andean Pura Raimonfii which as a cluster in the distance resembles golden boulders.
It was only 30-40 minutes of walking to get to the glacier on a very
easy track. We could both feel the effects of the altitude but poor Anna felt it the most and in retrospect we did climb 2000 meters in a couple of hours but I'm sure we weren't the only ones who had altitude effects.
The glacier was impressive but sadly it is in retreat. Its estimated that this tour will only last about 7-10 years as there won't be enough glacier left. Even a sign marks the point where the glacier ended only three years ago and it has since retreated by around 100 meters.
So with our heads throbbing from the altitude we somehow managed to think and decide that it was best to rest the next day. We went to the Chancas natural thermal pools which required two collectivos and about 45 minutes to get to from Huaraz. The main attraction of these pools are the natural rock cave saunas dug in to the side of the mountains and vary in temperature.
The only catch is that you wait in line and at about 20-30 min per group of people in front of you, it means that when it's popular, you could be waiting for almost two hours.
Its definitely worth it though and a really cool experience. We were the only foreigners there and it was really cheap, less than two pounds!
Another popular trek here is to lake 69. An amazing blue lake surrounded by the high snowy mountains above. It's at 4600 masl and again takes three hours to get to with a few stops. We got picked up at 5am. It takes about three hours to walk to the lake on a well defined track.
The lake was incredibly clear and blue but the mesmerising effect means the water is extremely cold!
Again, we felt some effects of the altitude and so did others but not as bad as Pastoruri.
We were glad to have spent a good amount of time in Huaraz and felt it was a great area to visit. It's not as popular as other places in Peru but that just means people are missing out on a special area!
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