There’s one thing that these towns in Latin America seem to always have in common. A great viewpoint hike that is short and gives great views of the town below. That is no different for Peru. The mirador hike in Huaraz is great for views and getting acclimatized.
Mirador stands for lookout in Spanish and you will see many of these during your time in this part of the world.
These hikes are also great because you don’t have to take a taxi or collectivo to them. They are all very accessible from the town center. This hike is popular amongst locals as most tourist companies push for the bigger treks.
In this guide, I will go over the details needed to hike to the mirador in Huaraz.
Where is Mirador de Rataquenua Hike Located?
In the southeast corner of Huaraz, the trailhead to the Mirador is located. You will be on the road for a tiny bit of time and then after this, there will be a side trail.
This side trail will lead you up through some brush and to a cross.
If you are located far away from the trailhead, you can take a tuk-tuk or moto-taxi to the trailhead. This shouldn’t cost much and will shave off some time.
It took us around 40 minutes to walk to the trailhead as we were on the completely opposite side of town.
Other Day Hikes Near Huaraz
How to Get to Huaraz, Peru
Huaraz is one of the most popular places in Peru and is often referred to as the hiking capital of the country. This means there are multiple bus options for you. Buses in Peru, from my experience, are really good and cheap. Below I will go over how to get there from a couple of popular areas in the country.
Lima to Huaraz
There are many different bus companies in Lima that will take you to Huaraz. Also, there isn’t a central bus station. Most buses have their own bus terminal. The most cost-effective way to use these buses is to buy a night bus. Below are some tips for getting to Huaraz from Lima.
- If you don’t want to go to the bus terminal, you can order your ticket on Redbus. This is the go-to for online bus tickets in Peru.
- Julio Ceasar is one of the highest-rated bus companies but they are all pretty good.
- Terminal Plaza Norte and La Victoria are two good stations
- The bus ride is around 8 hours. If you buy early you can get tickets as cheap as $15 to $20.
Cajamarca to Huaraz
Traveling from Cajamarca to Huaraz is slightly more difficult but still very easy. It is only more difficult because you have to switch buses and isn’t a straight shot. You will be going from Cajamarca to Trujillo to Huaraz. This is the route we took and is very easy.
- Go to the bus station Terminal Terrestre Cajamarca ATC & find any bus going to Trujillo. We paid 30 soles for ours
- Once in Trujillo, you can go to the Terrapuerto Trujillo bus terminal or you can buy your ticket in advance
- We paid 70 soles for the 1st class seats which are amazing for night buses. You get better seats that help you sleep at night.
Best Places to Stay in Huaraz, Peru
- Alpes Huaraz: This is where I stayed during my time in Huaraz and it was amazing. The area is set up like a mini-hotel and the kitchen is huge. Dorms are very cheap at $7-$9.
- Krusty Hostel: With great prices for private rooms and growing in popularity, there isn’t much to hate about this hostel. Centrally located just a few blocks from the main square.
- Vacahouse Huaraz B&B: This is a great hostel if you’re traveling as a couple. The private rooms are very nice and for a good price.
My Suggested Hiking Gear
Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.
- KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
- Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
- Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
- Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.
Mirador de Rataquenua (Huaraz) Hike Details
- Distance: This hike is around a 4.4 mile loop hike. This varies slightly depending on if you stop at the cross or not.
- Duration: On average it will take people 3 hours to finish. This depends on fitness level and time at the mirador.
- Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as moderate because of the altitude and elevation gain.
- Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 1371 feet or 418 meters.
- Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.
If you want to read more reviews about this hike then you can head over to Alltrails
Best Time to Visit Huaraz
Most people when visiting Peru and especially Huaraz, are here to go trekking. This means the most ideal weather is when there is a lower chance of rainfall.
Even though it is Winter, the best time to visit Huaraz is between May and September. The weather is more likely to call for blue skies and it is also the dryest period of the year.
With how high Huaraz and the surrounding mountains sit, it will always be cold at night.
Tips for Altitude Sickness in Huaraz
A common fear of most people when traveling to these parts of Peru is the chance of getting altitude sickness. This isn’t fun and can ruin a trip. Here are some of the best tips to lower the chances of this happening to you while traveling to Peru:
- Drink a lot of water (I like to aim for a gallon a day)
- Rest, Rest, Rest. Sleep is everything with recovery and health.
- If you’re planning on hiking, start with smaller hikes like Laguna Wilcacocha
- Coca is very popular in Peru and having some of the candy on hand can be smart
- Stop and rest wherever you are
- Take ibuprofen
My Experience Hiking to the Mirador in Huaraz
This hike can be as short or long as you want. The hike to the actual mirador in Huaraz is a fairly short trail. This will give you views of Huaraz and is where most people stop.
There is a loop that you can take that will give great views of the surrounding area.
Trailhead to Mirador of Huaraz
The trailhead located above starts on a road. You will be around many different buildings that are either businesses or people’s homes.
We stayed on this road for about 20 minutes. During this time a small group was behind with what seemed like a guide. Halfway down this road, they took a different route but we stuck to mapsme.
At the corner of this road when it starts to wind up, we then took a different trail. Most of these trails here are hard gravel dirt. Follow this for only a short bit and you will arrive at the mirador of Huaraz.
You will know that you have arrived at this section because there will be a massive cross at the top.
The Loop: El Cañon de Rataquenua
We kept following the trail past the cross at the Huaraz mirador. This led us around on a road again but there are trails cutting through that you can take. After another mile, the trail becomes very flat and super manageable.
According to mapsme, the only trail available is one that leads you all the way around in a longer loop. This will add on 1.5 miles or so.
According to Alltrails, there is a trail that cuts this in half. It was hard to find but we think we found it eventually and looked down from above. There were some parts where a bridge was needed. The unfortunate part is that the bridge seemed broken.
We decided to turn back and hike down the way we came.
If you can continue along the mapsme trail you will get even better views than that at the Huaraz Mirador in my opinion.
Other Activities to do in Huaraz, Peru
Huaraz is a dream location for anyone who loves hiking or climbing. There are so many amazing hikes around this area. Some of these are not crowded at all, even in high season. I love to have a good mixture of non-popular activities and popular ones. There’s a reason everyone goes to these such as Laguna 69 and Santa Cruz Trek. Check out some great activities to do around Huaraz below for a trip to this wonderful region of Peru.
My Final Thoughts on the Huaraz Mirador Hike
The hike to the Mirador of Huaraz is great for those still trying to acclimatize. Transportation is not needed and you can make the hike shorter if you want. The area around the trailhead isn’t the greatest though. This is the case with all hikes and activities in Huaraz but please be careful with the wild dogs. The views along the rest of the trail are amazing and great for pictures. Overall, I highly suggest doing this hike a day or two after arriving here in Huaraz.
Thank you for reading my guide on the hike to the Huaraz Mirador or also called El Cañon de Rataquenua. I hope this helps you find a perfect day hike to acclimatize.