Getty Images

Cordillera Blanca

One of the most breathtaking parts of the continent (both figuratively and literally), the Cordillera Blanca is the world’s highest tropical mountain range and encompasses some of South America’s highest mountains. Andean leviathans include the majestic Nevado Alpamayo (19,511ft/5947m), once termed ‘the most beautiful mountain in the world’ by the Austrian Alpine Club. Others include Nevado Huascarán (at 22,205ft/6768m, Peru’s highest), Pucajirca (19,835ft/6046m), Nevado Quitaraju (19,803ft/6036m) and Nevado Santa Cruz (Nevado Pucaraju; 20,535ft/6259m).

Situated in the tropical zone, the Cordillera Blanca stands to be affected greatly as global warming increases; there exists significant evidence that the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca show a measurable decrease in their volume and that the snow line has receded in recent decades. Other threats to the park include litter and high-altitude livestock grazing on endangered qeñua (Polylepis) trees.

Explore Cordillera Blanca

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Cordillera Blanca.

Guidebooks

Learn more about Cordillera Blanca

Uncover the heart of travel and be inspired to see new sights with one of Lonely Planet’s in-depth, award-winning guidebooks.