Peru's number-one trekking and adventure-sports destination, Huaraz is an easy starting point for those wishing to explore the vast wilderness of the Cordillera Blanca. Unfortunately, the town has been repeatedly leveled by natural disasters. In the later part of the 20th century three large earthquakes destroyed much of Huaraz, claiming more than 20,000 lives.

Despite the setbacks and death toll, Huaraz rallied, and today it's a pleasant town filled with good-natured people. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in northern Peru, Huaraz also has a great international scene, and although the town has few sights, the lively restaurants and hotels are some of the best in the region. Many businesses close between September and May, when the town practically shuts down without its hordes of climbers and trekkers. It can be hard to find an outfitter at this time; call ahead if you plan a rainy-season visit.

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