This blog was written by Phillip Anderson from Jaywalktheworld
Seeking adventure is a lifestyle that I grew up chasing. Back at home in Virginia Beach, I really had it all. I could explore our many parks and beaches, and it was only a short few hours to the Shenandoah National Park. With a lot more downtime starting in 2020, I began to fall in love with writing and wanted to share my adventures with others. Thus, Jaywalktheworld was born, and it has helped travelers from all around the world plan their next adventure.
Working remotely can take many different forms and shapes. It may not look the same to everyone. With more remote job opportunities now than ever before, I decided that this year was the best time to pursue my adventures abroad! When telling my close friends and family about my plan to live abroad, they initially imagined something like sipping Pina Coladas and typing away on my laptop while on the beach. However, I craved something that was more adventurous, and to my surprise, I realized I wasn’t the only one. While there are still those who hang out by the beach all day, there is a large community of adventure enthusiasts in the digital nomad community.
After getting used to life abroad, I began to crave what perhaps could be the biggest adventure of my life. I started the year off in a place I’ve always wanted to explore more; Latin America. My curiosity to experience the vibrant lifestyle of South America and my desire to learn Spanish drew me here.
After some time spent in Colombia and Ecuador, I headed to Mancora in Peru. This is one of the nation's most popular beach towns. Here, I decided to go to a place known for its lush forests and breathtaking mountains- Huaraz, Peru.
The week in Huaraz, Per quickly turned into one of my favorite places I’ve visited thus far, so for all you adventure seekers out there- here’s what you need to know about this beautiful city.
Huaraz began to feel at home after about two weeks. With my routine well into place, I was ready to set sight on my next adventure. Set in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, I was constantly surrounded by the beauty of these amazing peaks. Sitting at 3,052 meters, this place is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! Especially when it comes to hiking. After doing a bit of research, I decided Laguna Wilcacocha was a hike I had to do while living here. At about four miles long and 3680 meters high, it’s safe to say this hike is a must for many travelers that explore here. Before I get to preparing for the hike itself, let's first see how we got here.
The Lows Of Travel
As many travelers may know, it’s important to stay flexible with your travel and your plans. With so many details, sometimes you must be prepared to adjust your plan. After spending a week in Huaraz, it was time to pick up my girlfriend. She was flying into Lima from the United States and was set to arrive on the 27th. I was preparing to take an 8-hour bus down to Lima, pick her up from the airport, and then take an overnight bus back to Huaraz. There was only one problem: Peru's Independence Day on the 28th of July. Something neither of us had known before. This meant that all of the buses were sold out. Stranded in Lima, we had to adjust our plans and settle for arrival in Huaraz the following day.
Plans changed, and extra money was spent, but this wasn’t as big of a deal as it could have been. Some friends of mine were in Lima at the time and suggested staying in the Miraflores district. I was glad I had taken the Fury with me in this situation. After my experience of traveling for a few months, I knew to bring extra clothes and a few other necessities with me in case of any travel mishaps.
Laguna Churup Hike
I chose the Laguna Wilcacocha hike because it is perfect for acclimatization. This hike got us prepared for the rest of the week. The incline was harder than we thought it’d be, but the continuous views of mountain ranges kept our spirits high. I highly recommend this hike for new arrivals to Huaraz. Since we started with this hike, we could step it up a notch in difficulty with a different, more popular lake hike.
Laguna Churup is one of the most popular day hikes in the area, and for a good reason. Travelers should know this hike does involve a little transportation. But luckily, at a very reasonable price. Transportation from Huaraz costs 20 Soles round-trip ($5 USD) and takes you right to the trailhead.
Don’t let the length of this hike fool you, as it is just under 4 miles roundtrip. While this hike was shorter than Wilcacocha, it was more challenging. This is mostly due to the elevation gain and the lake's altitude (4450 meters). To me, this is the best kind of hike; while challenging, it’s just as rewarding.
Travelers for this hike should also be comfortable with a bit of climbing. Sections of the hike include climbing up with chains attached to the rock. Bringing a pair of gloves for this area of the trail helped out tremendously. If you’re one to hike with poles, having a backpack to fit them in is necessary as they can’t be used while using the chains.
After the heart-racing climb comes a view that I will always remember. The lake, as well as the hike back, is breathtaking. The lake had some of the clearest water I’ve seen, coupled with the perfect mountain peak directly behind it. On the way back, we took a different route that brought us to a scenic ridgeline opening up into the valley. It’s a view I will always remember.
After our two shorter hike days, we decided to rest up in anticipation of a 2-day hike just days away.
So, we did what digital nomads do best and went to a coffee shop to get some much-needed work done. Luckily I had spent the previous weeks scoping out the perfect coffee spot to get my work done, it wasn’t always easy finding the perfect coffee shop to work at (this is where Google reviews come in handy).
My favorite place to work while in Huaraz, Peru was called: California Cafe. So we decided to set up shop and get to work. While their prices are a bit higher than average, their wifi is one of the best, and they offer ample room for my laptop, coffee, and notebook. Also, they have the best coffee in the country, hands down. I’m a huge cappuccino fan, and it did not disappoint!
One of my favorite things to do while traveling is something we often forget to do in our day-to-day lives. The simple art of meeting and chatting with people from all over the world. From chatting with the locals to other travelers in the cafe, there are so many interesting stories to be heard. With hours being spent here, it’s not unusual to strike up a conversation, so while you’re hitting the road- make sure to take in the scene around you. This always reminds me why I do what I do, along with the crazy experiences I get to go on.
Overnight Laguna 69 Hike
The day had finally come. The hike we had been looking forward to Laguna 69, here we come. Since we set our eyes on Huaraz Peru, this day was long anticipated.
This hike is one of the most popular day hikes in the entire country of Peru, and from our conversations at the cafe, we knew that this day would not disappoint. After discussing with a few locals at the cafe, we were excited to hear that there was a path for this hike that would not involve large crowds and offered a more self-guided adventure.
To take the path less traveled, as some would say- we took a different route towards Laguna 69 that involved staying at an extremely beautiful refuge called Refugio Peru, next to Mount Pisco (5,752 m). It can also sometimes be called Camp Pisco. Here we got to enjoy a popular local meal involving a 3-course dinner- the perfect way to gear up before a big hike.
The hike here took around 3 hours and gave us some amazing views. There was only one problem. When we got there, we discovered the ticket we purchased from a tour company wasn’t valid. We then had to pay for our bed & dinner with our remaining cash and hoped we could get our money back in Huaraz. The dinner was out of this world, which helped us cope with the unfortunate situation.
The first course was some of the best soup of our lives. Very simple noodles and veggies, but it hit the spot. The main course was chicken smothered in a homemade red sauce, potatoes, and rice. We were treated to a coffee cake drizzled with chocolate syrup for dessert. We were blown away by the quality of this meal.
Sometimes things happen, and we were lucky that we brought enough money to still at least pay for a bed there.
Laguna 69 Hike: Day 2
After getting some much-needed rest, we woke up at 6 am and started our hike towards Laguna 69. The views were even better than on the first day.
I will never get tired of hiking in this area of Peru. It took us another 3 hours to get to the lake while reaching a peak altitude of over 4800 meters. The scenery had me speechless.
Laguna 69 was more amazing than we had ever imagined, and the best part was we got a whole hour before any other hikers showed up. Which meant we got to take in this view completely uninterrupted.
We spent the whole way down chatting about the beauty we experienced. Before we knew it, we were back down to catch a ride back to the city.
The End To A Great Week
All in all, it was a great end to the week, which is what it’s all about! Even with the difficulties that being a traveler on the go entails, the hardships never exceed the joy of experiencing something new. What many people don’t realize is the work that comes along with traveling abroad- sometimes, they can be quick to only see what an adventurous lifestyle looks like in a photo. But I can tell you that living the adventure rather than just seeing it in a photo is much more rewarding.
There will be ups, and there will be downs while traveling. So, my biggest advice to those getting ready for life abroad- be prepared! Having the right gear, clothing and doing plenty of research can make all the difference. This is the life I chose, and I don’t regret it for one second.