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The emphasis on seeing and doing in Huaraz is definitely on the latter -- most visitors are in town as long as it takes them to get acclimatized and organize an excursion into the mountains and valleys nearby or participate in some sort of adventure-sports activity. The town itself was hastily reconstructed after the devastating 1970 earthquake. A single street, Jirón José Olaya (to the right of Raymondi), gives a hint of what Huaraz looked like before it came crumbling down.

The Museo Arqueológico de Ancash is an interesting and well-organized small museum crammed with exhibits presenting the long history (more than 12,000 years) of the region through mummies, trepanned crania, and a terrific collection of monoliths from the Recuay and Huari cultures. There are textiles, ceramics, and other pieces from the Chavín, Huaraz, Moche, and Chimú cultures, as well as scale models of various ruins sites in the area. The museum, at Av. Luzuriaga 762 (tel. 043/421-551), is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm, and Sunday from 9am to 2pm. Admission is S/5; the ticket is also good for same-day entrance to the ruins at Wilcahuaín.

Another diversion might be the Museo de Miniaturas del Perú (Miniatures Museum). It houses dolls in traditional Peruvian dress and scale models of the ruins at Chavín de Huántar, pre-earthquake Huaraz, and the city of Yungay. The museum is in the gardens of the Gran Hotel Huascarán, Jirón Lúcar y Torre 46 (tel. 043/421-466). It's open Monday through Friday from 8am to 1pm and 3 to 6pm. Admission is S/3.

But because Huaraz is almost wholly about its stunning location and getting outdoors, visitors are usually more interested in the Mirador de Rataquenua ★, a lookout spot on a 3,650m (12,000-ft.) mountain pass with great panoramic views; it's just less than an hour's walk southeast of downtown. The direct trail is pretty steep; there's also a less demanding dirt road with plenty of switchbacks. Go with a group during the day because the area has experienced a spate of crime in recent years and become quite dangerous; locals warn that under no circumstances should a lone traveler walk there. To get there, head south on Luzuriaga to Villón and follow the road at the end, just beyond the cemetery.

Located about 8km (5 miles) north of Huaraz, the Monumento Arqueológico de Wilcahuaín is a set of ruins from the Huari culture, which lived in the region around A.D. 1000. Two sites named for their relative size, Grande and Chico, were burial grounds and storage centers. The major temple was built around 1100. The ruins don't have established opening and closing hours, but it's certainly wisest to go during daylight. Admission is S/5 for adults and S/2 for students. To get there, take any combi marked "Wilcahuaín" from the Río Quillcay bridge. The trip takes about a half-hour and costs S/3. After visiting Chico, walk down to Grande and catch a return combi to Huaraz.

A relaxing spot to visit, perhaps after you've indulged in some trekking or other adventure sports, is the thermal baths Baños Termales de Monterrey (tel. 043/427-690). A series of small wells and two large pools has mineral-rich waters that make the water look dark brown and rather unappealing, but your body might not be as picky as your eyes. The upper pool is the nicer of the two. The baths are open daily from 7am to 6pm, and they're usually very crowded on weekends and holidays. Admission is S/5. The baths are about 6km (3 3/4 miles) north of Huaraz along the road to Caraz; a colectivo from Avenida Luzuriaga drops passengers at the entrance.

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.