Recommended Tour Companies
In Peru, it's important to pick tour operators carefully to avoid being ripped off. When you're embarking on alpine adventures, especially mountain and ice climbing, it's even more essential: The risks are extreme, so it's paramount to go with an experienced, professional outfit. Accidents happen, and every year climbers are injured or killed climbing in the Andes. A good guide from a respected agency knows the routes, the weather, and the risks, and can usually steer you away from the latter. In the event of an emergency, he or she will know how to get injured parties evacuated. Huaraz is littered with freelance guides and somewhat shady agencies offering very cheap fees, but if you're serious about adventure sports, you don't want to skimp when it comes to the people to whom you're entrusting your safety and well-being. Locals suggest that you demand a factura (receipt) with an "RUC" (taxpayer registration number) from any prospective agency or guide.
The following are all recommended agencies and guides with many years of experience and good reputations in the Huaraz/Cordillera Blanca region. Even so, ask around first. Talk to people who've recently returned from treks and climbing expeditions. Contact the South American Explorers either in Lima, at Av. Piura 135, Miraflores (tel. 01/445-3306; www.saexplorers.org); or Cusco, at Choquechaca 188, no. 4 (tel. 084/245-484; firstname.lastname@example.org). Also speak to the Casa de Guías de Huaraz, Parque Ginebra 28 (tel. 043/421-811), an excellent source of current information (although understand that its mission is primarily to hook you up with one of its guides -- who generally charge about $50 per day). Don't overlook your guide's ability to speak English, which could be critical if your understanding of Spanish is poor. Even if the agency says that the guide speaks good English, don't automatically take its word for it.
Virtually every agency in town runs the basic and most popular little-to-no-difficulty programs to Lagunas de Llanganuco, Glaciar Pastoruri, and Chavín de Huántar for about $10 per person. Agencies often pool travelers when they can't round up enough on their own.
- Huaraz Chavín Tours, Av. Luzuriaga 502, Huaraz (tel. 043/421-578 or 01/447-0024; www.chavintours.com.pe): A good company offering standard tours, including trips to Chavín de Huántar, Pastoruri Glacier, and Llanganuco lakes.
- Pablo Tours, Av. Luzuriaga 501, Huaraz (tel. 043/421-145; www.pablotours.com): A standard tour company, similar to Chavín Tours but offering a few more options. Also organizes good group treks.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.