The North Coast and Northern Highlands Feature


Cordillera Huayhuash Treks

While much smaller than the Cordillera Blanca, the main chain of the Cordillera Huayhuash is known for its isolation and pristine environment. For years the area remained essentially off limits to foreign tourism as it was a major stronghold for the Shining Path movement that wracked much of Peru's central highlands with terrorism throughout the 1980s. Today this isolation is what makes the region so special. Treks in this region are measured in weeks not days, with road access and tourist infrastructure almost nonexistent. The opportunities to spot rare Andean wildlife are much greater here and the chances of meeting tour groups next to zero.

Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit: The major draw here is the Cordillera Huayhuash circuit. This taxing trek can take up to two weeks, passing some of the region's most spectacular mountain scenery. Access to this trail was traditionally via Chiquián, but the road has now been extended to Llamac. Tours and supplies are best organized in Huaraz, although Chiquián does provide some limited facilities, and porters and mules can be arranged here.

Siula Grande (6,344 meters, 20,813 feet): See the mountain made famous by Joe Simpson in his gripping tale of survival in Touching the Void.

Yerupaja (6,617 meters, 21,709 feet): The second-highest mountain in Peru.

—Oliver Wigmore

Updated: 06-2013

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