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Huaraz is the mountain climbing capital of South America, with the Cordillera Blanca mountain range right on its doorstep. Some climbers fall victim to the technical climbs here, most recently three Americans in 2006. This range also produced an amazing story of survival captured in the documentary Touching The Void, where two young travelers almost got themselves killed climbing the face of a mountain that no one else had previously attempted.
photo credit: elgarydaly
Altitude here is 3100 meters (10170 feet).
Chance Of Hooking Up Rating: 2 out of 5 ?
There’s not much to do if you don’t plan on climbing or trekking.
Cafe California (28 de Julio 562) has decent drinks and snacks with free wireless internet a block from Plaza de Armas. You can watch the owners’ young boys make a mess. There are several restaurants near Plaza Ginebra, most notably El Horno.
Nightlife centers around El Tambo, a club that gets a light crowd on Thursday night but really gets going on Friday. It plays mostly salsa music but there are also short sets of reggaeton and house. There are several more bars around El Tambo including Makondos, an edgier venue that was very crowded on Saturday. Another option is Diablo, closer to the main square. The music is better but it has thinner crowds.
While the nightlife here isn’t too bad, there is not an abundance of pretty girls. Do not come to Huaraz for the nightlife.
Albergue Churup (Figueroa 1257)
$5/night for dorm bed. The very comfortable and modern main complex has the cafe, lounges, TV room, and wireless internet. The dorms are in the annex next door, which isn’t as nice but still comfortable with its own kitchen and lounge. The 20+ dorm beds have to share two bathroom, so they get dirty fast. It doesn’t help that every other traveler in Huaraz has diarrhea, probably because of long treks in the mountains. Showers are usually hot.
Huaraz On The Blog
Symptoms of a giardia parasite infection started the day after I arrived in Huaraz. In this post I detail the symptoms and my treatment.
I have parasites attached to the wall of my small intestine, sucking away my nutrients and causing unspeakable bathroom adventures. Continue Reading
Other Cities In Peru
If you're only going to visit only Peru then I recommend you get this guide, which is far more detailed than the continental guide below, with options that cater to a range of budgets instead of only the shoestring backpacking crowd. Also it gives more respectable treatment to small cities and towns that the larger guide breezes over with a paragraph or two.
South America On A Shoestring Guidebook
This is the guidebook that I used in my six month trip in South America. The maps are excellent, the information is complete and thorough, and the reviews are accurate, which is why it's often called "the bible" by many travelers. The only problem is that everyone else has this book so if you are the type of person that wants to hit the isolated small towns you will be disappointed. My advice is to use this book for its maps and information on getting from city to city, but talk to the locals and other travelers for those isolated gems that Lonely Planet for some reason didn't find worthy to include.
Spanish For Beginners
My copy of this book is so beat up and weathered it's disintegrating before my eyes. I took it with me to South America because I loved how it was organized in a logical way that kept me motivated to keep studying. Lessons start short and easy and increase in complexity as you tackle frustrating readings that help take you to the next level. The only downside of this book is that it was originally published in 1957 so some of the vocabulary is very dated. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern equivalent of this book whose teachings approach the same quality. Last time I checked you can grab a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.