Huaraz is a fairly big town high in the Cordilleras surrounded by some stunning scenery. We arrived early and booked ourselves onto a day trip to the Lagunas de Llanganuco. It went via a couple of towns including Carhuaz famous for flavoured ice creams - we tried maracuya, pisco sour and cerveza. Not great! We also stopped at Yungay. A big earthquake in 1970 caused an avalanche on the biggest mountain in the Cordillera Blanca (Huascaran at 6768 meters). It measured 7.8 on the richter scale and killed 70,000 people in the region with 18,000 from Yungay alone. We visted the camposanto (cemetary) and could see the boulders that had fallen from the mountain destrying the town in just five minutes!
We then headed up to 3850 meters to Laguna Chinancocha, a nice enough lake in a beautiful setting. On the way back to Huaraz we stopped a restuarant selling traditional food. I opted for a 1/4 of Cuy (Guinea Pig). My quarter included a head and arm and was presumably overcooked as the skinned was rock hard and there was no meat on the little w***! Feeling very shattered after the 10 hour night bus and a long tour we were disappointed to have two more pointless stops on the way back reaching the hotel about 8pm.
The next day we were again back on another long day trip, equally scenic, this time heading the other way out of Huaraz to Chavin, a pre incan ruin dating from 800 to 200 BC. The scenery on the way was amazing with the snowcapped Cordillera Blancas providing an amazing backdrop. We stopped at another lake (Querococha) at 3980 meters and continued higher into the Cordilleras passing through a tunnel at 4550 meters. Chavin itself was dull. There was no English speaking guide on the trip so we just wandered on our own (we get bored easily following guides around anyway) so we could go at our own pace and explore the labyrinth tunnels underneath the buildings.
We again got back after 7 and headed to a curry restaurant as we had read about as we needed our fix having been without since Quito! The place was run by an English man and whilst not cheap was nice enough and satisfied the cravings for another few weeks.
Next stop Lima.