Huaraz Biking and the Festival del Andinismo

One of the many joys of living in Huaraz is that it boasts the best mountain biking in Peru. Not that we’re mountain bikers, except in the sense that we love the mountains, and we love biking in them. But we have ventured out a couple of times on the LHTs onto some chaquinani (singletrack) and inexpertly made our way down the hills into town.

And when the Festival del Andinismo took place in late June, we had a whale of a time watching the Peruvian national mountain biking champion chewing up the opposition in the Cross Country competition, followed by some surprisingly heavy heavy metal bands, and a few tastings of the local micro-breweries’ offerings.

Waiting for the off in the Cross Country race at the Festival del Andinismo

Waiting for the off in the Cross Country race at the Festival del Andinismo. No.18, with the tree trunk thighs, won by a mile. Not surprising really, given he’s the national champion and had been bused in from Ayacucho specifically for the event.

At the Festival del Andinismo rock concert

An incongruous scene at Wilcahuain. Some enjoying the heavy metal; others just trying to work out where their sheep have wandered off to.

Sierra Andina Cerveza Artesanal

Some tasty beers from the Sierra Andina micro-brewery. Lucho’s, the other micro-brewery in town, serves up some equally excellent brews. The best of which are flavoured with coca.

An incongruous scene

A second incongruous scene on a day loop in the Negra. Huaraz’s rubbish dump, backdropped by the magnificent peaks of the Cordillera Blanca. All those plastic bags handed out in shops at every conceivable opportunity have to go somewhere, I suppose.

In the Cordillera Negra

A eucalyptus tree to admire in the Cordillera Negra.

Cycling in the Cordillera Negra

July, but still some wildflowers left in the Negra.

The abandoned Mina Santo Toribio

The abandoned Mina Santo Toribio, another of the ex-mines in this area. I shudder to think what it’ll be like when some of the enormous mines close down – Barrick’s gold mine in the Negra, or the gargantuan Antamina mine, say.

Not sure I'd drink the water near the mine....

Some not-so-appetizing-looking water near the Santo Toribio mine.

Cycling through Mina Santo Toribio

You can cycle through the old mine though, and gawp at all the crazy colours left behind.


A great new road we thought we'd found in the Cordillera Negra

From the mine we descend, feeling quite smug about finding a great-looking new road.

Still on the great new road in the Negra

It looked like it headed right down to our house.

After we found out the great new road in the Negra hasn't been finished yet

And then we find out that it’s a work in progress and yet to be completed. Cue half an hour of linking up ancient walking paths to reach the bottom section of road. When we arrived back home, we found out that Freddy, our landlord, is the chief engineer in charge of the building project! The road would’ve been finished, only the Caterpillar dug up some ancient ruins, which had to be removed by archaeologists before the work was able to continue.

Lunch at Yurac Yacu Cafe

Cass comes to town. We head to Yurac Yacu Cafe for some fine dining.

Quinoa salad at Yurac Yacu Cafe

A delicious quinoa salad, jam-packed with fresh veg from the Lazy Dog Inn’s gardens.

Climbing to Pitec

While Out Climbing to Pitec.

Cycling to Pitec

Still climbing to Pitec, heading for Nevados Cashan and Shacsha.

The Three Surlys

The Three Surlys: LHT – Ogre – LHT.


Sunday food market in Jose Olaya, Huaraz

Then a few days later Sunday comes round again: time for the food market in Jose Olaya – the only part of Huaraz to survive the 1970 earthquake. A chance to try out some traditional Inca fare. Some delicious, others (the rubbery tasteless intestines) not quite so.

Some tasty chicken soup

A relative success: tasty chicken soup, adorned with a windsurfing sail.

Agave graffiti

We return on a back route to the town centre; coming across some agave graffiti in one of the poorer barrios en route.


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