Covering the southern extent of the Cordillera Blanca and the majestic Cordillera Huayhuash, this part of the Andes refuses to be outdone in the ‘breathtaking mountain scenery’ stakes. Several peaks here pass the 6000m mark, huddling to form a near-continuous, saw-toothed ridge of precipitous summits. Yerupajá (6617m), Peru’s second-highest mountain, is the icing on the Cordillera cake and is followed in height by its second lieutenant Siulá Grande (6344m). The rugged and rewarding 10-day Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit, accessed through the town of Llamac, is the glittering star attraction.
Recuay (population 2900), a town 25km from Huaraz, is one of the few municipalities to have survived the 1970 earthquake largely unscathed. Catac (population 2300), 10km south of Recuay, is an even smaller hamlet and the starting point for trips to see the remarkable Puya raimondii plant.