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Laguna Paron rocks. Just like the more famous Llanganuco Lagunes, it is turquoise and surrounded by snow capped mountains. Most notably by the nicelyshaped Piramide de Garcilaso (5885 m.) at he end of the lake if seen from it's road entrance from Caraz. In that town you can take a taxi for about 25 dollars. Not really cheap but I think reasonable (especially when shared) if you take the rise in altitude and the condition of the road in to account. >>>>>

I felt well rewarded by the spectacular valley. Arranging a guided tour in Huaraz or Caraz is a good option.The ride takes a little over an hour steadily going up passing some rustic adobe villages. Only four public 'combi' vans visit these villages a day but none of them goes all the way to Laguna Paron so you will have to arrange transportation. An additional advantage when you do is that you can stop wherever you want. The village Paron is the last one before you enter the Quebrada. It has a friendly welcoming population and an adorable little church.

Lake Paron is also the entry to the base camps of the many mountains is the valley. The by far most renowned of these is the Artesonraju whose pyramid shape is said to have been the model for the Paramount films logo. >>>>>

The usual way to climb the mountain is to go 8 to 10 hours straight up the ice wall on its south face. Not highly technical but quite demanding.

To get to the Artesonraju base camp you have to walk one hour along the Paron lake after which the valley curves into a new part where you can see the smaller Artesoncocha lake. >>>>>

Some people are warning that too much water has recently been drained from Paron for hydro-electrical purposes. It is true that the waterlevel has visibly dropped more than 10 meters. Something to keep an eye on.>>>>>

Laguna Paron can be your destination for a pleasant daytrip a few hours from Huaraz, or the beginning of some serious mountaineering. The valley is between the famous Llanganuco and Santa Cruz valleys much more frequently visited by people doing the Santa Cruz trek. Staying the night in a tent is an attractive alternative option.

(K.K., August 2005)
photos: K.K. - top lake photo: Haren Montes

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