Sunday we checked out of Huaraz and drove to a village called Chavin to stay for the night. It was a beautiful drive in the mountains and the village was practically deserted. After the Easter weekend, all tourists had checked out and with the rain, people stayed inside. Before the rain, we went to visit a World Heritage site. The archeological site in Chavin has been part of UNESCO since December 6th 1985. The monument is 3400 years old, located at an altitude of 3180m, and is considered the most important c
eremonial center of the area. Thousands of pilgrims from different regions of theAndes came here to give offerings to the gods. The gods were animals, such as the jaguar, the snake etc. And the number seven was important to them, and so many of the statues, structures are multiples of seven. The ceremonial plaza for example measures 49m by 49m. Everything is connected by subterranean tunnels and a lot of it remained intact. There are still many parts that are uncovered as well. It was estimated to be built between 1200 and 800 A.C. To this day, you can see the plazas, the drainage systems, stairs and walls.
Our return to Lima on Monday was a beautiful drive through mountains, snow, mineries (ew) and back to the coast.
The next day, we drove around in the mountains to find a lodge we were told about called The Way Inn (http://thewayinn.com/). We found it in between two valleys and all of us loved it right away, so we decided to stay the night. They have their own garden, water well, restaurant with amazing food, free tea, a massage room and they also have retreats twice a month. They also had a handmade dry sauna which was really cool! This little paradise was located at about 3700m and we were so happy to be able to stay a night.
We took this opportunity to take a one day trek to a lagoon called Churup, which is at an altitude of 4450m. The hike itself is not really difficult, except certain parts at the end where you have to rock climb a little. However, being at these altitudes, in shape or not, your lungs feel it and the oxygen is not what it is at sea level that is for sure. You have to take your time a little more, or take more breaks. JJ and I were quite fast actually, but at some points we were quite out of breath! We all left early that morning and it was nice and sunny! JJ and I got to the Lagoon and were able to have some lunch, look at the lagoon and its snow capped peak. However clouds were coming and so we decided to start our hike back, knowing that we would be caught in rain at some point. We had packed accordingly and had our rain jackets. Soon enough it started raining. What we did not expect however was for it to start hail. And then for the lightening and the thunder to start too. The only thing we didn’t get was snow really! Ahaha. The rock climbing part was soooooooo scary going down, I was freaking out inside and JJ too, but afterwards everything went smoothly and the sauna and sleep that night were well deserved and wonderful.
Semana Santa, April 5th-9th 2012
We left early on Thursday morning to drive to a city called Huaraz, which was about 6 hours. When we arrived, we checked into our hotel, had some lunch and then it started raining at about3pm. The city itself, at an altitude of about 3000m, is not very appealing: it was hit by various earthquakes, the last one being in 1970. The city is located in the second biggest chains of mountains in the world (after theHimalaya): on the east side the Cordillera Blanca (permanent white snow-capped mountains) and on the west side the Cordillera Negra (no snowcaps). The highestmountainofPeruis part of the Cordillera Blanca and is called theHuascaran, with an altitude of 6,768m. Everywhere we looked, it was beautiful! There are many lagoons to see and treks that you can do, going from one day to two weeks.
After lunch, we decided to go visit some ruins that were not very far away called Wilkahuain. The Wari was a pre-Inca culture that rules 700 after B.C. and part of this monument was the oldest funeral monument found. The temple has 3 floors, each of which has 7 rooms, which were used to place mommies.