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Routes and Tips: Huaraz - Steps to Heaven

Height: 3,090m. above sea level
Climate: warm and dry
Population: 954,912

Getting there: The main road to Huaraz is a picturesque drive up the Pan American Highway North, leading to the Callejon de Huaylas and Pativilca. An alternative route goes through the mountains via Casma and Huaraz, a steeper route that starts at the turn marked Km. 358 of the Pan Americana.

Transport: The Huaraz Tourism and Travel Agency is on hand to help travellers. The Cruz del Sur bus company has daily departures at 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Other bus companies include Transportes 14 SRL and Rodriguez. Aero Condor provides charter flights on eight- or 19-seaters. The ride lasts 90 minutes and lands in Caraz, the heart of the Callejon de Huaylas.

Adventure tourism:
Mountain climbing: Most aficionados prefer ice caps such as those found in the Huayhuash and in the Cordillera Blanca.
Hiking: Most trips last from three to 10 days, and include destinations such as Santa Cruz, Punta Union, Colcabamba, Llanganuco, Caraz, Quebrada de los Cedros, and Alpamayo.
River-running: This is dynamite on the Santa river from Anta to Caraz. Have a blast!
Skiing: Do it down Mt. Pastoruri, especially during Andinismo Week in June. Pastoruri is not steep, so beginners could have a go of it.
Mountain-biking: This is at its height April through November, with trips lasting from a day to three weeks.
Rock climbing: It's unforgettable along the Monterrey Wall.

Reaching the Chavin Fortress involves a 74 kilometer drive along a dirt road starting from Catac. Pass through the beautiful mountain scenery of Queracocha and the Cahuis tunnel before starting your descent into the narrow Mosna River Valley. The Trome and Condor de Chavin bus companies provide transport. 

The peaks of Huayhuash are located 50 kilometers south of the Cordillera Blanca at the spot where the departments of Ancash, Huanuco and Lima meet. The most popular route is via Chiquian, 31 kilometers from Chavin by road. Chiquian is eight hours from Lima and three hours from Huaraz. Several bus companies serve these routes, or you can rent a car.

Those not wishing or unable to spend the four days that this trip entails can content themselves with seeing the mountains from Chiquian. There is an excellent view from the road just outside Conococha. This excursion is easily worth the effort and can be taken as a little detour from the trip to the Callejon de Huaylas.

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Volume II/Issue 7, Page 34
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