Huaraz is a small city in the North. It is not very touristic, as most tourists focus on the South of Peru. Therefore you’ll be able to really witness Peruvian life and culture. The city doesn’t offer any major attractions, but it is the closest spot and starting point for hiks into the Huascaran National Park. Huascaran is an absolutely stunning park, full of crystal blue lagoons and challenging mountains. Some of the most challenging Andean hikes can be done here in this park. We highly recommend the 4 day long Santa Cruz trek, as it was a unique and beautiful experience for us, but there is also the 8 days Huayhuash hike is supposed to be amazing.
Where to stay in Huaraz:
Andes Camp Hostel: Privates from 15€ and dorm bed’s from 5€. It is a great spot for meeting other backpackers and offers probably the best deals for hiking tours (we paid roughly 60€ for the Santa Cruz trek, that includes food, water equipment and the van ride)
Food prices in Huaraz:
Huaraz has the cheapest lunch prices we have seen in Peru. Lunch menus in small local restaurants cost 4 Soles, which depending on the exchange rate equals 1€.
If you want to treat yourself after a long hike and maybe eat something outside of the Peruvian cuisine, then we can highly recommend Krishna Bhog. Yes, there is an Indian restaurant in a city like Huaraz. The restaurant is in the house of the owner, who is an Indian that lives since a long time in South America. The food is mainly vegan and during lunch it’s an all you can eat menu. Price? 4€. Of course compared to 1€ thats expensive, but the food was incredible and the owner an amazing host (10/10 in our opinion).
Tour vs. Hiking on your own:
Normally we would always go for hiking on our own, as it is cheaper and you are simply free. But that makes only sense if you have good equipment. At least a tent, enough food, and a thick sleeping bag is a must, as it gets pretty cold at night.
If you don’t have equipment, like us, then you will have to go for a tour. The tour we did with our hostel we really liked, but we were also lucky, having an amazing group of fellow backpackers and very friendly guides, that also cooked pretty decent food for all of us.