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Altitude: 3,350m (10,990 ft) Phone Code: 43

Tucked away in the Cordillera Huayhuash south-west of Huaraz is Chiquián, a hidden gem, forgotten by the tourist circuit-which has been rerouted onto a new highway. This charming sierra town takes its name from the Quechua word for amanecerachikyay—or sunrise in English. It's a perfect base for trekking the mountains nearby, exploring the Jahuacoa Lagoon and visiting the Huanoca Pampa ruins. The inhabitants of this traditional cheese-making village bemoan the loss of tourists coming to Chiquián; for the odd traveler however, Chiquián’s new-found tranquility is an attraction unto itself. Ask anyone in town and they will tell you why it’s good to live here: in Chiquián you are 3,350 metros más cerca de las estrellas—3,350 meters closer to the stars.

Most come to Chiquián to stray off the beaten path and trek the 165-kilometer (102 mi) network of paths around Huayhuash, taking in its natural riches. For day-trippers, there are waterfalls close to town, as well as trails affording views of the imposing Yerupajá, or El Carnicero summit, which looms at 6,634 meters (21,766 ft), making it the second highest mountain peak in Peru.


Other places nearby Chiquián: Yungay, Caraz, Carhuaz and Huaraz.

15 May 2012

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