andes Peru South America

Cañón del Pato

I arrived in Huaraz on Friday evening, Isabel and her brother Ricardo waited for me with dinner- this delicious pollo a la brasa. I didn’t really have time to decide where I wanted to go on that upcoming weekend, all I needed was to escape Lima’s noisy streets and just relax…To relax in Huaraz while you’re surrounded by these beautiful mountains?! How naive I was.My guidebook raved about the Huascaran National Park’s lakes and some Cañón del Pato. The start-point of the majority of treks was Caraz situated on the north of Huaraz, 1h by bus.

So I arrived there at 10.30am in the morning, found the Plaza de Armas (city centre) and a tourist point. The city was deserted, a ghost like place. And the tourist point was closed, I rang a bell and some Alberto tried to answer all my questions. It was too late to go the Laguna de Paron and too expensive to go alone anywhere actually as December “no es la temporada de turistas” so you’ve got two options: a private tour which costs an arm and a leg or you can travel alone, on your own, something that I do not recommend, it’s dangerous to set off to the Andes alone (I found it out the hard way).

At this time of the year, the Cañón del Pato (Duck Canyon literally) becomes extremely windy in the afternoon and the visits are not recommended after 3pm. My first idea was to rent a bike but It was too late so I managed to negotiate the price of the tour by car with Alberto and he just accepted my proposition, how proud of me I was!

The canyon is situated between Caraz and Huallanca (north of Huaraz) and it’s a nice journey, you pass through 36 tunnels before arriving to Huallanca. The canyon  was formed by the river Santa where the north end of the Cordillera Negra range (to the west) converges with the Cordillera Blanca mountain range (to the east) and the place to see is the point where the cordilleras almost abut. We left the car there and went for a walk. I visited the Cañón with Milton, a nice Peruvian guide and school teacher. It’s better to go there with someone who knows the area otherwise you won’t be able to make the most of it as there are no indications at all. This is how It looks: Milton was so patient and agreed to stop every time I wanted to take some photos. What I liked about this place is that it was something new for me, a different type of landscape,a different adventure.

 In the afternoon I came back to Huaraz and visited its Archeological Musem. I came home exhausted with a horrible headache because of the altitude and temperature differences of the day I guess. Isabel always waited for me with a cup of mata de coca to make me feel better and I would go to bed at 8pm! The plan of the next day was the famous Laguna 69…

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