A city of 100,000 people, both modern and native cultures are blended in Huaraz to create a fascinating melting pot in Western Peru. The city has a huge range of activities and opportunities to offer, ranging from nature tours and treks to local markets and volunteering, making it one of the most popular travel destinations in South America.
Huaraz is the capital of the Áncash region and is also the hiking and trekking capital of Peru. The city lies within the Callejon de Huaylas Valley and to the right hand side of the River Santa. The city originated before the time of the Inca Empire, with the development of human settlements around the valley of the Santa River and Qillqay. During the Peruvian struggle for independence, the whole city supported the Liberty Army with food and guns which awarded the city the motto of “Noble and Generous City.”
All in all, Huaraz is an extremely interesting city full of culture and life. As a result of the extensive opportunities on offer in this city, hundreds of thousands of tourists flock from all corners of the world, making this an exciting melting pot of opportunities and nationalities.
Another huge attraction to the city of Huaraz is the archaeological site, Chavin de Huantar (arguably the most important ruins in Peru from an archaeological and cultural standpoint). It is estimated that construction of this famous site started around 1200 BC and was occupied until 400-500 BC by the Chavin people, a pre-Inca culture. Chavin de Huantar is located at the start of the Conchucos Valley, in the Ancash Region, only 3 hours away from Huaraz. Chavin de Huantar is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and many artifacts and relics from the site are currently on show in the Museo Nacional de Chavin. There are many activities that can be enjoyed in the Chavin de Huantar including a three day Inca hike that takes place on an Inca trail between Olleras and Chavin. There are also hot springs that travelers can relax in after a long day of walking.
Alongside the extensive trekking and adrenaline-based activities available in and around Huaraz, there is also a huge range of other touristic opportunities that all types of travelers can enjoy. At Soledad, travelers can visit the Lord of Soledad Chapel which contains the crucified Christ and was founded during the colonial period. Pre-Hispanic ruins of stone palaces, characteristic of Wari culture can be found 3 miles from the city in Wilcahuain. Only 1 mile from Huaraz, more ruins can be found in Waullac, shrouded by enormous mountains and prairies.