The Cordillera Blanca
Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
67Trip End Jul 14, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Hostal Inti Wasi
A cauld morning developed into a roasting afternoon, so we lounged about in the Plaza de Armas (all central plazas in Peru seem to be called this). We have good views again from our roof, of the mountains surrounding this place. We negotiated with a travel agent to do a couple of bus tours round the area, and got a good discount. No glacier climbing or ice hikes for us oldies! Met a nice Geordie, called Dave who we shared a few beverages with each night, and ate in old man Tito┤s each day - a good value place, but possibly source of a stomach bug I suffered with for a few days after....?!
Tour 1: Laguna de Llanganuco - We did a bus tour up the Callejon de Huaylas, the valley which lies between the Cordillera Blanca to the east and Cordillera Negro west. This is the highest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas - we stopped on the route for a view of the highest mtn, Huascaran (6768m, over 22000 ft), then carried on through previously earthquake-hit towns of Carhuaz, Yungay and Caraz. We reached the lake after a winding uphill drive into the Cordillera Blanca, bouncing along the dusty road. The lake was beautifully torquoise and looming over us were mountains and glaciers. Hanging around here for a bit, we got bitten by high altitude mozzies - buggers!! Returning the way we came, we stopped at Campo Santo, a sacred area just outside ┤new┤ Yungay. I say ┤new┤ because the old town was flattened by an avalanche in May, 1970. A massive earthquake hit central Peru, causing a huge slice of Huascaran┤s glacier to fall off and into the lake. This then cased an aluvian (mix of ice and rocks) to cascade down towards Yungay. It buried almost all 18000 inhabitants, and the earthquake killed some 50000 elsewhere in Peru. Campo Santo sits right on top of them!
Tour 2: Chavin de Huantar - A tour to visit the ancient Chavin ruins. This was a long 10 hour return trip on a minibus - our reward for having stinking hangovers from the previous night
Other than the tours, we were lucky to see the town celebrating the festival of their patron saint, El Se˝or de la Soledad (Lord of Solitude). Lots of music, dancing and very colourful parades took place near the church of the same name - great fun for a few hours.
The morning bus to Lima, which we took gave us great close views of the Cordilleras Blanca, Negra and Huayhuash further south. We descended some hair-raising roads though - it┤s not good for the heart to sit on the side of the bus, which overlooks the sheer drops into valleys below! Winding our way back down to the coast had me sweating with my fear of heights (maybe it was my stomach bug kicking in, but I held everything in!!!). At the coast, I believed we were safe from anymore sheer drops like that, except I hadn┤t countered for the road north of Lima running on the outside of sandcliffs, dropping straight into the ocean...In Lima, we caught a taxi straight out again to the southern suburb of Barranco. Hostels were either expensive or full, so we checked into a hotel w. bth and tv for cheaper. Unfortunately, we didn┤t do an awful lot for the next 3 days, with me staying ever close to the bathroom. Pills from a local pharmacy saw me improve enough for us to carry on our plod south to Ica.