Snowy glacial peaks, mud brick villages, unique art, and the greatest variety of climates in the world make the Central Highlands of Peru a worthwhile region to explore. The Huaraz area caters for both the adventurer and the history buff alike. Fewer travelers make the trip here compared with more popular areas, so it is still uncrowded and intensely beautiful.
The Best of Central Highlands
Stretching from the Cordillera Blanca south to the Cusco province, the Central Highlands provide stunning mountain scenery and timeless Andean villages. The region is a must-see for travelers who appreciate nature, traditional culture, and high-quality craftwork. Highlights include the Cordillera Blanca mountain range and the cities of Huaraz, Huancayo, and Ayacucho. Inhabitants of these villages are responsible for the many of the handicrafts that are sold in Peru.
The whole highland area is famous for its art, and thanks to the nationwide diversity of cultures, Peruvian art and crafts can be considered some of the most diverse and varied the the world. Indeed, Peruvian wares can be seen on markets in Europe, Asia and North America, although it is definitely cheaper to snap up a bargain during a visit.
The diversity, colors, and multiple uses of Peruvian handicrafts make them a fundamental activity for thousands of families, as many families survive by selling their wares to wholesale dealers and tourists. This happens especially in remote areas like Ayacucho and Huaraz. The shapes and decorations are a combination of pre-Hispanic and Spanish symbols. Gorgeous woven textiles, ceramics, wood carvings, and jewelry are some of the most prized objects.
The most famous spot to visit is the Cordillera Blanca, which is home to Peru's highest mountain, Huascaran (22,205 feet or 6,769 m) and Peru's most beautiful mountain peak of Alpamayo. This breathtaking area in the heart of the Andes is known for its dramatic views, turquoise lakes, and interesting wildlife. The mountain range runs parallel to a lush agricultural valley where countless villages maintain a traditional way of life. However, the area is also well known for destinations like the relaxing natural thermal baths in Monterrey, the pre-Incan ruins of Chavín de Huantar, and the city of Huaraz, which is the capital of the Ancash region and is famous for trekking and climbing.
The Andes contain the largest variety of climates in the country, with semi-arid valleys and high rainfall in higher areas. It's still worth it to visit during the rainy season, which lasts from October to April. The rainiest months are January, February and March. In the Andes temperatures can drop to 14.0°F (-10°C) during the night.