Cordillera Blanca Base Camp Overview

Peru 03

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Huaraz was pretty much flattened by the big earthquake of 1970 and is quit efrankly not a classic pretty South American sort of town now. However it has everything you need for a good base to operate from. Lots of accommodation at reasonable prices. Lots of shops from supermarkets to the "real" markets. You can even by technical mountaineering gear but expect to pay pretty high prices.

I stayed in a couple of places.

Hostal Quintana, Mcal Caceres, tel 726060 S/ 20
This was the was the first place I stayed and though pleasant, friendly and central it was also in a very noisy square and the noise continued to the early hours and then started up again about 0500 with market stalls etc being set up. I didn't get a lot of sleep.

Hostal Virgen del Carmen, Jr de la Cruz Romero 664, tel 721729 S/ 15
This was just around the corner but very much quieter. It is run by a lovely old couple who did everything they could to help. We stored bags there whilst in the hills for no extra cost. They speak virtually no English but seemed to love struggling to understand my appalling Spanish! They will also do laundry for you a reasonable cost. The price is for twin rooms with shower/toilet.

The Way Inn, Buenaventura Mendoza 821 tel 728714 
I only found out about this place after we had settled into the Virgen del Carmen and we didn't stay there. It is run by a couple of Brits who were incredibly helpful to us in other ways and has a strange approach to paying. They don't have a fixed fee - you pay them what you think it is worth! It is clean and well set up but is a little further from the centre of town - probably about ten minutes walk. More info...

The California Cafe 
Tim, the guy who runs this place, is Californian/German/Canadian (I hope I've remembered that right and my apologies if not!) and is always happy to help and provides loads of useful information. Great place to have an extended breakfast and make plans. Tim also writes some news/weather type pages for the site.
The Guides Office
Very helpful but typically very limited English, you really need to be able to speak Spanish to get good information from these folk and to be fair they are mostly interested in getting you to hire them!

Arrieros, cooks etc
These are names of some arrieros given to me by Tim (above) I never did manage to contact them so can make no personal recommendation:
Martin Henostroza Lluiya based in Llupa 9692615 and his brother Fedencio 9692615.
Carlos Rosales Lamanca 9692468.
Maximo Gamarra, Jr San Martin 722 Phone: 756629 - this is the guy we eventually got to sort out our trip up Quilcayhuanca - much cheaper than the agencies - he organised arrieros, mules, cook, food, cookers etc. Everything went pretty smoothly on the whole and we were well pleased with the arrangements. With a little more time I probably could have organised all of this myself directly. See logistics for all the prices.
Abel Granados Angeles. Avenida Luzuriaga 412, Huaraz. Abel was our cook. He food was generally pretty good but a little variable. Abel himself had little English but was very helpful and determined to learn more English (often just sat reading my Spanish-English dictionary!).