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One of the Llanganuco Lakes © Iñigo Maneiro/PROMPERÚ

The city of Huaraz is not just the capital of Áncash, it has also been named the Adventure Sports Capital of Peru. This impressive destination holds the highest snowcapped peaks in the country.

Extreme adventure

13.5 miles from the city of Huaraz is Huascarán National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. At this park, you can see wild animals like condors, vicuñas, deer, pumas, Andean foxes and vizcachas. It also holds 434 blue, turquoise and green lakes nestled above 13,000 feet.

Lake 69, at the foot of Chacraraju, one of the most beautiful glacial peaks in the area, is among its unforgettable places (perfect for hikes and a peaceful experience). Other gems are Llanganuco Lake (at the foot of Huascarán), and Ichic Cocha and Hatun Cocha lakes below the snowcapped Artensauraju and Alpamayo; places full of nature and part of an exceptional landscape perfect for horseback riding, hang gliding, camping, mountain biking and relaxing hikes.

People who love mountaineering come from all over the globe to climb Huascarán, considered the highest summit in Peru at 22,204 feet above sea level. Following it are Alpamayo, at 19,511 feet, known as “the world’s most beautiful mountain,” Huandoy Norte, at 20,981 feet; Huantsán at 20,896 feet; Chopicalqui at 20,846 feet; Copa Norte at 20,253 feet; Artensauraju at 19,767 feet; Santa Cruz Sur at 20,535 feet and Hualcán at 20,085 feet above sea level. Everyone enjoys this climbers’ paradise, but always under the leadership of specialized guides and with authorized tour companies.

The renowned Santa River flows along the base of the snowcapped mountains, dropping though intense rapids perfect for rafting lovers (river access is 30 km north of Huaraz). This river runs through spectacular natural formations, Andean landscapes of incomparable beauty and the Callejón de Huaylas, from south to north, before continuing through the beautiful towns of Recuay, Huaraz, Carhuaz, Yungay and Huaylas (Caraz). It is common to see kayakers and rafters attempting to tame the grandeur of this watershed.

Everywhere in Peru, and especially in the Áncash region, the country’s geography offers impressive landscapes that invite travelers to experience them and discover the hidden treasures of this incredible tourist destination.