The Wondrous Paron and Caraz

The stretch of valley from Huaraz to Caraz, known as the Callejon de Huaylas, is already a spectacular backpacking route, with plenty of options for camping and accommodation. You can sneak into the Cordillera Blanca to the west, which is always tempting you with its enormous mountaintops. Many backpackers find their way to the small town of Caraz, with the intention of undertaking the Santa Cruz trek. However, you should consider the nearby Laguna de Paron as a good alternative.


In fact, the Santa Cruz hike might be your alternative if you somehow can’t swing a visit to Paron. But that shouldn’t be a problem, because Paron is very easily accessible. It all begins in Caraz, a great little municipality two hours north of Huaraz.


Caraz has a small central square. There are plenty of internet cafes around, with cafes and hostel options as well. Travellers will want to check out the market before heading to Paron. The hike is a 3-6 hour buy cialis no prescription hike depending on how many breaks you take, how much gear you’re carrying, etc.

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The market is dividing into two covered buildings south of the main square. A great food to have on a hike is something called machica. It’s a Quechua word, and describes the consistency of a powder made from wheat. Not many vendors have it, but if you ask around you should find it. It’s perfect for a hike because it’s light and nutritious. Take it with some water, nuts and mini mandarins, and you’re good to go trekking.


Well, there is a dirt road that arrives to the lagoon itself, which you can navigate with a 30 sol taxi ride from the town, but it’s better to do the hike. A 5 sol minivan takes you to the townships of Paron, from where you’ll walk five minutes to the entrance to the Huascaran National Park. Pay 5 sols entry fee, and the 5 hour hike begins.


The trail follows a raging glacial river all the way to the summit. You can drink from this water source without fear of stomach problems (although it’s always good to be safer than sorry). Eventually, you’ll arrive to Paron Lagoon, and will have to control your jaw from dropping to the ground!

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The lagoon is simply magnificent. It’s the largest glacial lagoon in Peru, and in this writer’s opinion the most beautiful. Deep azul waters stretch for kilometers to the other side of its drastic bowl. The surrounding peaks’ glaciers arrive flush with the surface, and many waterfalls feed the lagoon. You can choose to circumnavigate the lagoon on the peripheral trail, and you can even camp up here. Just be sure to be prepared for below-freezing temperatures, because the lagoon sits at 4,200 meters above sea level.