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July is a good time to visit the region; the temperature is perfect for walking and the sky is free from clouds / rain. It's also a good time as the July period has many of Peru's annual event celebration dates. The town puts on a tremendous night of entertainment each year for most of the days, featuring live music and more. Well worth a look if you are in the region.
A town of 100,000, it blends a mix of modern and native culture. The town has many markets and shops catering to tourist needs and local needs. The food markets are especially interesting and are a great starting point for getting supplies for expeditions. Be sure to shop about before purchasing/hiring (especially for mountaineering gear) as often a better price can be found elsewhere with a bit of bargaining.
The town has many places offering cheap internet access; although a bit slow, the connection is usually reliable. The town has a big post office and a few banks. Huaraz also has a mix of old and new restaurants offering a variety of dishes. Cuy (guinea pig) is a regional dish; perhaps something to say one has tried but not something to make a diet off! There are a few night clubs and many bars open late. Clearly common sense would advise people not to travel alone at night, but one felt safe in the city where the locals were very willing to help out where possible. Like many places in Peru, it's not wise to take much money at with you in at anyone time if you can possibly avoid it.
Huaraz is approximately 8 hours coach drive from Lima; it's simple and a reasonably cheap and reliable service. Movil Tours, Ormeño, Cruz del Sur and CIAL are most frequently recommended bus companies.
When you arrive you will find out that ´captadores´ are trying to bring you to lowly recommendated hostels and places. They spread bad words about the hostel you are willing to go to. Do not believe any of these popular phrases like: that hostel is always full, that hostel is far away. Especially at Cruz del Sur it is tough to leave. These 'captadores' get commision for each night you stay at the place that they recommend.
There are several daily buses to and from Chimbote & Trujillo. Movil Tours  & Transportes Linea  are the best (US$14, 9 hours to Trujillo), followed by Chinchaysuyo & Comite 14, all of which only travel by night, & continue to Trujillo. All night buses travel on the tar sealed road from Huaraz to Pativilca (Caral is near there) to the Panamerican Highway, midway between Trujillo & Lima.
Transportes Linea , America Express & others run from Trujillo from 6am or earlier to catch the 8-8.30am bus of Turismo Huaraz & Yungay Express from Huaraz via Caraz & the spectacular Cañon del Pato. It's a rough 8 hour bus ride, the buses are basic for the unsealed road (Caraz to Chimbote) and may be overcrowded between Caraz & Huaraz. The views are stunning. Price is around US$7 (S/. 25). If you have your own vehicle, obtain permission (& confirmation of entrance times if maintenance is in progress) from Proyecto Chavimochic in Trujillo (Telefax 044 272286) or Viru to leave the Panam (485 km north of Lima) via the well kept Brasileiros maintenance road alongside the canal to the north bank of the Santa River to Cañon del Pato. It is possible to cover Trujillo to Caraz in 5 hours (+ photo stops) on this straighter, smoother road. Almost 40 tunnels are large enough for all but the largest tourist buses.
In Huaraz, taxi's are cheap and fast for getting about the town.
Be wary of dubious taxi drivers / cabs. Peru does have a problem with taxis in some places, and tourists have been known to be mugged/assaulted in them. On a non-sexist note, female travelers should be careful not to travel alone, especially in taxis and especially at night. That said, Huaraz is a comparatively safe city--for males and females--and is easily maneuvered by the seasoned traveler, particularly those who can speak Spanish. However, just as in any part of Peru, staying aware of your surroundings and avoiding potentially dodgy situations is advised.
Also if you need to rent a car to go out of the city, are a variety of companies that make this service, the most prominent being Andean Rent a Car. You can contact trough email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (043)422423 /943626780 in order to get information about the cars, trucks, prices, etc. Andean Rent a Car offers a good service with a drivers that know the routes.
- Movies. Those travellers hankering for a new release in a movie theater will be disappointed to learn that there is no movie theater in Huaraz. Approximately a decade ago there was a functioning theater but it shut down due to low profits. However, a cafe called the Huaraz Satyricon shows movies (often new releases) on their large 5 foot screen in the cafe, for 4 soles. Free popcorn is included with the price of admission, and the cafe also sells falafel sandwiches and large chocolate chip cookies.
- Archeological Sites. Within walking distance of Huaraz is the Wari ruin of Wilcawain. Built centuries before the Incas, this temple complex is virtually undamaged, providing a unique opportunity to see a complete pre-Columbian building in Peru. Huaraz is also the departure point for tours to see Chavín de Huántar, the center of a cultural and artistic revolution in Peru that took place between 600 and 300 B.C.E. Museums in Huaraz contain many fine examples of Chavin sculpture and older Cupinisque pottery.
- Trekking - The region is a trekkers paradise; it features breath taking views and an escape from the hive of people seen in other famed trekking locations like the Inca trail. Although one could do it on ones own, it's advisable to get a guide / run it through a specialist company. There are many companies offering these services. The House of Guides (Casa de Guías) offers professional free information, and maps for a price. They have a ´check in/check out´ book which it´s advisable to sign, especially if traveling without a guide.
- Andean Kingdom, Luzuriaga 522, is a well recommended travel agency. They provide info, rent out equipment and organize trekking or climbing tours. They also have a bouldering cave.
Warning - EuroInka Trek, a trek hire shop, has dubious equipment and an even more dubious safety record. It is important that you personally check all your kit that you hire before agreeing to pay for it, and make sure you don't accept sub-standard gear.
Warning - Galaxia Expeditions and Andean Camp and Ruta Cero, are not to be trusted. Several reports say that they overload their donkeys and some of them have died. They also combine groups, if you want to avoid one of these agencies, there still is a chance of trouble. Ruta Cero is offering bargain Sta Cruz treks with groups over 10 people, mostly from Israel.
See Cordillera Blanca for more trekking info.
- Mercado central. On the second floor you can indulge in a true Peruvian set meal of soup, rice and chicken and limonade. All for 2.50 soles. The first floor is good for stocking up for your trek.
- Chifas, there are several in town. Their dishes are cheap and feed two. And in contrast to Peruvian cuisine they tend to sneak in some veggies.
- Fuente de Salud. Very cheap, very tasty vegetarian food. Highly recommended for vegetarians and those who are feeling the effects of travellers diarrhea.
- Siam de los Andes. A traditional Thai restaurant in the middle of small-town Peru, serves up delicious curry and stir fry dishes. Price range: moderate: 15-50 soles per meal. (Closed until Summer 2009.)
- Creperie Patrick, Av. Luzurriaga 422. A well-known restaurant that serves up many different styles of sweet or savory crêpes, Creperie Patrick is also known to be relatively expensive: 25-50 soles per meal.
There are several bars clustered around José de la Mar and Cajamarca to still your thirst.
- El Tambo, 2 blocks from Plaza Ginebra. Popular weekend club (slow on Thursday) that plays mostly salsa with short sets of house, reggaeton, and American music. It has a tree / wood theme.
- Cafe Andino, 2 blocks from the Plaza de Armas, closed Mondays and January/ February. Delicious espresso and other coffee beverages. Can buy beans too. Excellent selection of books to borrow (with deposit), and good magazine selection to peruse while there. Loud, familiar music (Marley, Grateful Dead...). We hung out all day there when waiting for a bus - nice, accommodating staff. Nice atmosphere.
- California Café, Jr. 28 de Julio, 568. Café with a big book exchange, also doubles as library. The Californian owner organizes ultimate frisbee matches every Friday. Just drop in at around 130pm (Dry Season, April-November) or 10AM (Rainy Season, December-March) if you're interested. One of the house specialties is their mixed fruit smoothie, called Surtido. This cafe also serves roasts its own coffees and is an ideal spot to hang for a few hours when first getting into town. Try their sandwiches, made to order with lots of variety. Also has free wireless internet
- Olaza´s Hostal, . Five blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Rooftop terrace with good view of surrounding mountain where you can get served breakfast (coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, toast included in room price). Internet, TV with small DVD collection, stacks of magazines, kitchen to use, really clean. US$20 for double bed, private bathroom.
- Hostal Churup, . Located 5 minutes walk from the center of town, this hostel offers an excellent service to travelers, including secure storage of luggage, breakfast, free wireless internet, and washing facilities. Family run, they are helpful and offer lots of useful advice on travel and trekking. Prices range from 25S/$6 (dorm excl. breakfast) to $32.
- El Tambo, Av. Confraternidad Oeste #122 (well hidden opposite the stadium). Fine hostel close to the bus terminal and four blocks from the center. It offers free internet, laundry service, kitchen use, communal area with cable TV and DVD and a simple breakfast is included in the price. Low-season price s/.10 pppn.
- Hospedaje La Cabaña, . Sucre 1224, 5 minutes walk from main square of Huaraz. Helpful, friendly, family-run guest house from US$4pppn.
- Steel Guest House Huaraz, . Alejandro Maguiña 1467, 10 minutes walk from the city centre. Internet, kitchen for guests, private parking, sauna, great view of the city and the mountains, pool table, book exchange, etc. Affordable pricing.
- Caroline Lodging Only 6 mins from the main square and located in safe part of Huaraz. The sign above the door says 'welcome to our home' and nothing could be more true. These are fantastically hospitable people, running a bargain basement, but super-friendly hostel. the price includes breakfast and the local info you wish. A dorm for 14s/4$ incl breakfast and free pickup from the busstation. Can you ask for more? The have also laundry service, free tourist information, mountainbikes, internet, kitchen facilities, book exchange, bbq, tv + dvd (free to use). Just call and they pick you up. And because of this Recommended by thousands of travellers, Lonely Planet, FootPrint and Routard.
- Eating. Be careful as to what you eat as it is almost certain that you will get food poisoning and/or diarrhea at some point during your travels in Peru. Being pro-active can limit your exposure:
- Avoid drinking un-clean water
- Be picky about what food you eat and ensure that it has been cooked properly. What might appear to be well established restaurants can be just as bad as street traders when it comes to food hygiene.
- Sunscreen. Since Huaraz is physically and visually far from the Pacific Coast beaches, it may not occur to casual visitors to buy and use sunscreen. For those people who are planning on trekking into the mountains, or doing mountain climbing, sunscreen is a vital resource. The thin air and high altitudes increase the effects of UV penetration.
- Armed robberies of tourists are fairly common, even more so on Sundays.
- Toilet paper. Since most restaurants and hotels in Peru do not supply toilet paper, you would be well advised to buy and hold a steady supply of this vital resource.
- Trujillo. At least 2 bus companies (Movil and Linea) provide overnight service to Trujillo. The trip takes about 10 hours. The busses may not be equipped with air-conditioning, so it may be a hot ride. It´s a rocky, fast-paced trip through the mountains.
Yungay Express (7am), Turismo Huaraz & Huandoy (9am) pass through Caraz 2 hours later & the spectacular Cañon del Pato to Chimbote terminal terrestre, where you can change for Trujillo.
- Caraz. Minibuses leave frequently and the trip takes about one hour.