Huaraz, Peru – Acclimatising with Lake Willcacocha

(Skipping over Trujillo, Chiclayo and Huanchaco for now to write down Huaraz while it’s still hot)

I had heard so many tourist rave about their amazing experience in Huraraz. The four-day trek around Santa Cruz, the ice climbing, the national park is one of the top destinations for trekking in the world so I decided on Huaraz as my next designation after 5 days of surfing in Huanchaco.

From Trujillo, Huaraz is a 8 hour bus ride south-east. It is the entry city to the UNESCO world heritage Huascaran National Park and sits in the Andes at 3,075m altitude. It mountains and glaciers are top rated destinations for international trekkers, rock climbers and even ice climbers.

The mountains range in the 3,000 – 6,000m so there were many stories on altitude sickness and the banging headaches, the throwing up and the injections so I would need to be very careful in adjusting and take a few days adjusting and see how my body responds.

The 8 hour night bus on LINEA was great. Big comfy seats gave me a lovely sleep. I was even cracking up at my own dream, oh how the mind works! It was a joke battle with my friends, but mind-blowing to think that my mind is capable to create these contents and scenarios that crack me even while I am unconscious. I loved it! I enjoyed it so much that by the time I was woken up, there was none on the bus and I was safely in Huaraz.

Huaraz’s surrounding is gorgeous with the panoramic view of the mountains and the glaciers. This is the view from my hostel, Caroline Lodging.

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The city is pretty big (22nd largest in Peru) and busy, We walked around trying to get adjusted to the altitude the first day and the impression was pretty Damn, its Wild!

For example,

Full roast pig on the streets. The woman picks at the meat with her bare hands and sells it off piece by piece. The meat is so soft and juicy and the skin is salty and crisp! It was so wild and good! I tried the in a sandwich (prepared by her bare hands) for S. 5 ($1.50)

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Also, a popular street food is boiled quail eggs. You get like 5-6 of these soft snacks with spicy sauce. All of S. 1 (about 30 cents)

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And chicks in a box. The girl was buying 5-6 chicks for S. 3 (about a $1)

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My first alpaca sighting. Ya, it was unnatural and forced, but nonetheless.

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I was being really careful to listen to my body and I felt my body was a bit tired and heavy (not just because I’ve been stuffing myself) and climbing up a flight of stairs, I was really out of breath so I took it easy and slept to rest my body.

The second day, I decided to take a trek to Lake Willcacacocha, which was slightly higher at 3,753m and see how I respond. Just as a reference, Mt. Fuji in Japan is 3,776 so it’s about the same height and here it was considered the “easy trek to get your body acquainted” A short 20 min collective bus (local bus for S. 1) from Huaraz and its an 1 1/2 hike up.

And no, it was not an “easy trek” for me at all.

Right off the bat, I was out of breath after 1 min of climbing. So you climb, rest and climb and rest. While I am taking my time, the locals with the donkeys obviously glide past me, even in their pretty little outfits. The local ladies (of all ages) dress in their puffed out skirts and colorful cardigans and high hats. So cute! and climb without a sweat!

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The scenery has absolutely gorgeous walking up which pushed me forward one meter at a time.

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You start seeing the glaciers more and more as you go up.

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Antoino, a local guy accompanied me up to the top. He apparently lives on the top of the hill though I had my suspicion that he was going to charge me at the end or that he was going to ambush me with his friends and rob me somewhere in the mountain but he turned out to be just a nice local that wanted to hang out and make sure we get there safely and get the best views. Sorry Antonio!

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After a painful and oxygen needd hour and a half to the top, here is what you see! The beautiful lake!

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And the pretty little donkeys! They’re actually there to transport the tools and food for the tourists that go on tours.

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And THE VIEW.

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And my tacky “Taking it all in, I’m ON TOP OF THE WORLD!!!” shot.

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If this is just the beginners course, I don’t know how much more excited I’ll be with the other more serious treks!

Very excited for what lies ahead.

But first I still have to rest a bit and get acclimatised. Altitude sickness is serious!

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