Huaraz, about 180 mi/290 km north of Lima, is Peru's most important center for treks and mountain climbing in the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Huayhuash. Huaraz has a glorious setting beneath the glaciated peaks of the Cordillera Blanca—from your hotel window you can see Huascaran (Peru's highest peak at 22,199 ft/6,768 m) and several others that reach more than 20,000 ft/6,100 m (Huascaran and the Cordillera Blanca are within Huascaran National Park).

Several tour operators offer visits to the nearby Llanganuco Lakes, as well as technical climbs to the top of Alpamayo (once labeled "the world's most perfect mountain"), trekking and trips to see Puya raimondii (a plant that grows up to 33 ft/10 m in height and that is found only in certain regions of the Andes). Several nearby towns have thermal baths where you can relax your muscles after hiking and climbing through the area.

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