We´re currently in Huaraz, the adventure tourism capital of South America. This is where you can trek, climb, mountain bike, extreme ski, river raft, river run, horse ride, paraglide, hang glide and pick your nose with a fantastic view. In fact I´m off to do a 4 day trek tomorrow on the Santa cruz circuit apparently a very famous and reasonably hard walk crossing over 4800 metre passes. Yet, it´s not just about the above adventure tourism pursuits that has made huaraz famous. In fact just being here is an extreme adventure. In 1941, an avalanche hit the town flattening the city centre and killing 5000 of it´s inhabitants. Then in 1970 a huge earthquake hit killing 70,000 people in central peru, including 15,000 people in Huaraz where the city was flattened once again. But that´s not all. We just went up the road to a town called Yungay, where the above Earthquake caused an alluvion which buried the entire population of the city barring a few fast runners who made it to a statue of Christ on high ground in the cemetary. An alluvion is basically a huge wall of water often mixed with snow, ice, mud, rocks and other matter with sharp edges. The one in Yungay was about 30 metres high and 4 miles wide. The place was really quite eerie and all that was left of the town was the top of the church and a car. This from a large town that had a population of 25,000.
Little wonder the area around Huaraz is at the cutting edge of adventure tourism. well at least I´ll be taking a few thousand beanie clad tourists with me