If you are planning to visit the Cordillera Blanca you must first get to the city of Huaraz. There are currently no options to fly to Huaraz and renting a vehicle is not recommended. It is possible to hire a private taxi to drive you to Huaraz but it is very expensive and most people opt to take a bus. This eight hour, 400km ride is a great way to see the country and can be incredibly scenic at times. Although comfortable, the paved road is fairly windy and some might find it a little difficult to stomach.
There are many different bus companies that offer non-stop transport to Huaraz but the best known, and safest, are:
Cruz del Sur www.cruzdelsur.com.pe / (+51-1) 3115050
Movil-Tours (Movil Bus) www.movilbus.pe / (+51-1) 7168000
Oltursa www.oltursa.pe / (+51-1) 7085000
It is well worth the upgrade price to VIP for comfortable fully reclining seats. If you prefer to not waste an entire day on the bus there are night bus options so that you can sleep for the majority of the ride. You can purchase round trip tickets online ahead of time or try your luck at the counter.
Lima is Peru’s capital and a main entry point to the country. Jorge Chavez Airport (LIM) is the International Airport where all flights arrive.
There is a ticket counter shortly after leaving the international baggage claim area. Check out their website for more info and departure schedule.
- Taxi Green (certified taxi service)- When leaving the international or domestic terminal, look for the Taxi Green counter. Here you can pay a set rate for your ride and will be taken to your driver. This is a fast and safe way to go directly to your hotel (70 Soles/ $21USD).-
- Airport Express Lima (Airport Bus)- This bus goes directly to Miraflores on a regular schedule (27 Soles/ $8 USD). The bus is safe, comfortable, and very punctual. Is has many stops throughout Miraflores and you can choose to stay at one of the hotels where the bus stops for convenience.
There are many options to stay in and around the Lima area. The most common place to stay while in Lima is the Miraflores District (45 minutes to 1 hour ride). Miraflores is an upscale district with many options for hotels, restaurants, shopping and for visiting the beach. Check Trip advisor for more information but here are some ideas:
- Hostal Torre Blanca
- Hotel Double Tree
- Hilton Hotel
- Jose Antonio Hotel
- Hotel Maria Angola
- Hotel Boulevard
Taxis in Huaraz- Although Huaraz is a sizable city, most places are within walking distance of most hotels. However, taxis are very abundant and finding transportation is cheap and easy. Taxi rides around town are typically 5 Soles for foreigners.
Transportation to the mountains
Huaraz is located just below the Cordillera Blanca and getting to the mountains is relatively easy. The most common way of getting to trailheads is hiring a vehicle (van or taxi). Many of the taxis that can be flagged down on the street and can take you to one of the many trailheads above town, roughly 45 minutes. For longer trips and possibly a more comfortable ride, many of the hotels around town can arrange a car for you. These can range from 70 – 300 Soles depending on where you are going and if you expect the driver to wait for you.
Colectivos- The cheapest option, however, is using public transportation (colectivos). Most colectivos will only get to the nearby villages though and from there you will need to walk to the mountains. These colectivos have a predetermined departure spot in Huaraz but pick-up and drop-off people anywhere along their route. Inquire at your hotel where particular colectivos depart.
If you are traveling farther north into the mountains you can take a colectivo from Huaraz to any of the major cities along the highway and then hire a taxi to take you into the mountains from there. These colectivos, however, can be very crammed, fast, and at times scary.
At 10,000 feet above sea level in the Andes, the city of Huaraz is home to some 150,000 friendly faces. Here, nestled between the colorful mountains of the Cordillera Negra and the high glaciated peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, the city has become the center for adventure tourism in the area. With this close proximity to towering mountains, Huascarán National Park and its world class trekking circuits, Huaraz is host to thousands of climbers and trekkers from all over the world yearly.
The Cordillera Blanca & Huascaran National Park
The Cordillera Blanca “The White Mountain Range”, is known as the highest tropical mountain range in the world and has become an incredible destination for trekking and climbing. This mountain range stretches 180km running in a generally north-south direction and is home to Huascarán, the highest point in Peru at 6768 m/ 22,205 ft.
Created in 1975, Huascarán National Park covers most of the Cordillera Blanca and is home to 27 snow-capped peaks above 6,000 m/ 20,000 ft. This abundance of snow covered peaks feeds the rivers and streams that water the valleys known as the Callejon de Huaylas and the Callejón de Conchucos, located on the west and east side of the mountain range respectively. Below these dramatic high peaks are deep ravines and green river valleys, home to numerous trail systems that explore the far corners of the Park.
With an incredible abundance of unique native flora and fauna, culturally rich locals, and fascinating ruins of several pre-Incan cultures, the Park was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1977. It was added to the list of Natural Heritage of Humanity sites by UNESCO in 1985. Today the Park encompasses a size of over 840,000 acres.
*Some trailheads in Huascarán National Park will require an entrance fee (30 Soles)