After a month of a well-deserved break, I returned to Peru with a few days in Lima before going up to the North, to Huaraz, escaping the depressing limenian greyness.
Huaraz is located 300 km north of Lima, reachable in 8 hours by bus. The city is located at 3,100 m above sea level and is surrounded on all sides by high mountains with magnificent white peaks.
The city was totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1970, it does not overflow of charm but its interest resides mainly in the excursions to discover the splendid surrounding nature. There’s a plenty of treks, the best known being that of Santa Cruz (4 days), and Huayhuash (7-10 days). There are also day hikes, which I opted for.
The laguna 69 was the destination that attracted me the most, but I wanted to readapt to the altitude and long walks before going there, on the advice of other backpackers and bloggers.
So I went to discover the Pastoruri Glacier, a place no less beautiful but for which the walk is shorter and allows to gradually readapt to altitude.
The glacier is located in Pastoruri Park, 84 km south of Huaraz. We arrived there after 3 hours of bus including 2 photo breaks. The first allowed us to appreciate the Nevado Mururaju in the Cordillera Blanca.
At the second stop (we were already at 4.300 m altitude), we discovered the Puya Raymondi. These giant plants can live up to 100 years, bloom from 40 years to let emerge this stem up to 15 m high!
When we arrived at the base of the glacier, we were at 4,800 m above sea level, and started walking 2.5 km to reach it, a little tiring given the lack of oxygen but we had enough time. It is also possible to ride on horseback.
The glacier regresses at a crazy speed because of global warming and is unfortunately doomed to disappear within 4 years. Moreover, a melting of all the snow in the Cordillera Blanca in 20 years is predicted!!
A panel showed where the glacier arrived in 2015, we were terrified but also depressed when we realised the melting that took place in just 3 years!
Once arrived at the mirador, we appreciated the glacier but we especially saw it melting in front of us, which was really heartbreaking!
Despite this, the majority of tourists went beyond the rope intended to mark the limit of visit, touched the glacier, took a piece of ice to take a picture, and even went inside a small cave created by melting ice. All this in front of the guilty silence of the tour guides, which made us and other tourists aiming to preserve this beauty furious!
We spent about 45 minutes on the spot before starting the descent and taking the way back.
- 1 € = 4 soles
- All agencies offer this tour for 30 soles. It is possible to go directly through your hostel.
- The price includes only transportation. There are 30 extra soles as an entrance to the park.
- It is possible to negotiate the prince with an agency if you make several tours with it (Laguna 69, Chavin de Huantar or Santa Cruz).
- The air gets cold once at the base of the glacier; think to bring warm clothes, hat or cap, gloves, scarf, etc.
- The sun hits really strong, don’t forget to cover your head and use a sunscreen.
- The lack of oxygen is really hard while climbing, all coca products are welcome!
Here is the course of my day
The agency picked us up at the hostel at 9:40. Departure at 10h10
10:45 – 11:05: Coca mate break at Ticapampa
11:05 am – 1:05 pm: 2 hours to reach the glacier, including the two photo breaks.
13:10 – 15:10: visit of the glacier (between climb, photos on the spot, and descent)
16:30: lunch break in Ticapampa
18:30 pm: Back to Huaraz