Los Amigos de Huayhuash

Recommendation Letters

Here are a few words from those who have trekked with Abner and Alcides. If you have recently trekked with them and would like to add to this "memory book", please do email me (click on my name at the bottom of any page) and I will be more than happy to update the site with your contribution.

Tiadora, trekked in October 2012

"We were extremely impressed with Abner and instantly comfortable with him"

We went with Abner, of Los Amigos de Huayhuash, on a 10 day Huayhuash trek. Abner and his family of guides are based in Chiquian, a village not far from the trailhead, so they are local and the money stays in Peru. We were extremely impressed with Abner and instantly comfortable with him. Unfortunately, we had chosen a cold rainy time of year to go, and after 5 days we asked Abner to modify our trek to 7 days. He gave our revised route a lot of thought in order to optimize all of the good scenery. He walked our pace with us, offering up information about the area and answering all of our questions. He was a lot of fun – and an excellent cook! We ate well every day, always hot food, with food that we had helped shop for before the trek. His sister Anamin was also terrific. She met us when we arrived in Huaraz and took us to our hotel, and also took us shopping for the trek at the local market. Our arierro (mule driver) was Marait, their cousin, who was extremely competent and also great fun.

Review via TripAdvisor: read more.

Chip and Katrin, trekked in June 2012

"This really couldn’t have been a better trip and we were very lucky that Katrin found Los Amigos"

“Katrin”, I asked, “Do you want to go to Peru for some hiking in the Cordillera Huayhaush?”

That was how the adventure began, after hearing a hiking buddy rave about his trips to the area some 10 years ago. Knowing my friend, I should have realized that this innocent question would initiate from her a flood of questions, daily Web-based searches and wildly ambitious plans for my second trip to Peru. Fortunately, Katrin’s frugal nature and generally solid instincts about people quickly pointed us to Los Amigos de Huayhaush. The special hospitality, familiar expertise with the area, friendly disposition and excellent organization that we found with Abner, Adolfo and Anamin turned what could have been a rather dull forced march into a wonderfully invigorating and yet calming experience in the high Andes of central Peru.

The special treatment began when we arrived by bus from Lima to Huaraz. Anamin met us at our hostal, somewhat surprisingly, to find out if our trip had been pleasant so far, explain preparations for the trek and let us know that she would be available for any questions that arose. This friendly approach and Anamin’s excellent command of English helped in allaying our remaining concerns about the trip and compensating for my shamefully impoverished Spanish.

Several days later, after acclimatizing around Huaraz – a pretty little town with wonderful day hikes accessed on foot or collectivo – we met Adolfo, the youngest of the Valdez clan, for a morning of shopping in the local markets. Katrin and I were used to backpacking in the Canadian Rockies, where excess weight is a costly luxury and so we expected to be eating rather Spartan fare. We had also heard that some trekking agencies in the area were in the habit of serving 10 days of pasta and tomato sauce to their clients. And so, we were pleasantly surprised when our food cache included local cheeses, fresh fruit and veggies, quinoa and a few sweets for extra energy.

Ready for the off
Ready for the off

Later that day, we boarded the bus with Adolfo and made the 3-hour trek to Chiquian, where we got some additional supplies and made bus arrangements for the trip to Llamac, the start of the trek. We spent the night in the Valdez family home, a spacious but simple dwelling on the outskirts of Chiquian, but one with hot running water and a warm bed. Abner’s wife, Erika, made us a great dinner, a skill of the entire family, as we were to find out later.

Early next morning, we headed by bus up the treacherously curved, steep and rutted road to Llamac where, due to bus “irregularities”, we were unable to connect for the final bus segment to Pocpa. There we were, stuck with all of our gear, 10 days worth of food and no way to get it to the burros, already in Pocpa with Abner.

Impressive scenery
Impressive scenery

Not to worry. Somehow, Abner had gotten word of the difficulties and, within 45 minutes, could be seen coming down the narrow road on Tipi, the lead horse, accompanied by our burro team, Juan, Toledo, Richimbo and Alan. A few minutes lagter, we had loaded the burros and were hiking, a bit later than expected but happy that our adventure had begun in earnest.

Over the next 10 days, we fell into a pleasant, almost meditative rhythm. We would wake at around sunrise, have a solid breakfast of mate de coca, local bread, eggs, cheese, or quinoa, help pack the gear and burros. Then, as Abner led the burros to our next camp, Adolfo guided us past waterfalls and pastures, over 5000 meter passes, along the length of wide valleys and under the snow-capped peaks that define the Cordillera Huayhuash. It is really quite impossible to describe the area and even photos can’t do it justice. We are blessed with innumerable and majestic mountains in our Canuck homeland, but the Andes certainly rival the Rockies for jaw-dropping beauty.

During our daily walking, we traded language lessons, with me getting the better end of the deal because Adolfo’s English was pretty polished compared to my halting and error-prone efforts. The descents were generally easy but the up-slope segments, generally between 4000 and 5000 meters, required slow-going even after our acclimatization. Adolfo seemed to have a very natural sense of the pace we needed and, on those occasions when we wanted a bit of a break, Tipi the Wonder Horse was ready to provide the transport option.

Chip & Katrin on the trek
Chip & Katrin on the trek

At day’s end, generally after 5-6 hours on the trail, we arrived at camp that was already set up by Abner. It was a real treat to have a good tent to crawl into when the rains started, as they generally did, about 4 p.m. It was even better to have a tidy little toilet tent that afforded privacy, protection from the elements and allowed us to avoid the crowded and sometimes less-than-pretty privies that we found at some campsites.

Dinners were a real treat, thanks to the creativity of both the Valdez brothers. Usually, we’d start with a hearty soup, followed by chicken and veggies and, on a few occasions, we were treated to freshly caught trout. Desserts could be fruit salad or pudding but were always refreshing. I don’t know where Adolfo learned his cooking secrets but every meal, done over a two-burner propane stove, was as delicious as it was filling. And, while we ate around the cook tent, Abner filled us in on politics, farm life and scuttlebutt on rival guiding agencies.

Adolfo with the donkeys
Adolfo with the donkeys

Although most days involved a change of campsite, we managed to treat ourselves at Laguna Juahuacocha, perhaps one of the prettiest settings on the circuit. This site allowed easy hikes to the toe of a glacier and let me wander the lakeshore looking for high-elevation birds, including Tit-like dacnis and White-cheeked cotinga, Mountain caracara, Cinereous ground-tyrant and several hummingbirds.

The trek ended all too quickly, back at Llamac where again we had some…er…confusion with the bus. Adolfo, in his usual patient style, was able to round up another bus to take us, filthy as we were, back to Chiquian. By afternoon were in Huaraz, met by Anamin at the station, curious to hear about our exploits and ready to escort us back to our hotel.

Peaceful cohabitation...
Peaceful cohabitation...

This really couldn’t have been a better trip and we were very lucky that Katrin found Los Amigos. From start to finish, we were in experienced and gentle hands, fed like royalty, entertained around the camp tent and, of course, treated to one of the best high-altitude treks in the world. We learned a little about handling animals (I really wanted to load Tipi on the plane!). More importantly, for the entire adventure we were treated like family and not just customers. We got to know Abner and Adolfo and their perspective on living in rural Peru. If you are considering the Cordillera Huayhuash for your next trek, I can’t think of a better agency to help you realize your dreams than Los Amigos de Huayhaush.

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Nicole from Germany, trekked in August 2011


The trek in the Huayhuash Mountains was a unique and unforgettable experience. Los amigos de Huayhuash: The brothers Abner, Alcides and Adolfo are an absolutely fantastic team. The help & guidance before, during and after the tour was great.

  • Los amigos del Huayhuash were always ready for a personal, individual care: Before the trek we bought together the food for the entire trek.
  • They provided a good acclimatization trek before (night and day trip from the base in Chiquian (their home) before the trek started the next day from Pocpa)
  • The route was discussed & decided together depending on the stamina and skills of each person.
  • We had blue skies and sunshine every day, the Huayhuash mountain range is fantastic and one of nature's paradises
  • The Valdez brothers know the mountains very well and are always looking for alternative routes where other tourists were rare.
  • I was absolutely delighted to have done the trek with Los Amigos de Huayhuash. We were only four. (towards the end of the trek, we met a group of 10)
  •  In the morning before breakfast we got a hot tea to wake us up, brought to our tents. Our guides always asked our preferences: breakfast cereal or pancakes for breakfast or bread with egg, or perhaps you prefer warm quinoa and potato soup like the Peruvians :-)
  •  The food was always very good and sufficient. Breakfast, ample picnics on the go, snacks upon arrival at camp and plentiful dinner: soup, main course and dessert, if desired, Pisco, etc.
  •  The day trips were always between 4-7hrs long, the route being so well discussed before setting off. The guides were always very considerate and alert to the condition of the participants
  •  The brothers, to respect nature and wildlife, kept all rubbish to dispose of properly after the trek.
  •  Our mules were never overloaded; the horse Tipi accompanied us for emergencies and tired legs I made the most of it :-)
  •  I recommend the trek through the Huayhuash Mountains to anyone who loves nature and the mountains - it's a unique experience and words really can not describe it.
  •  The typical meal "Pachamanca" the brothers prepared for us after the tour in their home was simply delicious!

Thanks again to Alcides, Ribellino and Adolfo


Der Trek im Huayhuash Gebirge war ein einzigartiges,unvergessliches Erlebnis. Los amigos de Huayhuash: Die Brder Abner, Alcides und Adolfo sind ein absolut tolles Team. Die Betreung /  Fhrung vor, whrend und nach dem Trek war spitze.

  • Los amigos del Huayhuash waren stets um eine persnliche, individuelle Betreung bemht: Vor dem Tek kauften wir gemeinsam die Nahrungsmittel fr den gesamten Trek ein.
  • Sie sorgen fr eine gute Aklimatisierung vor dem Trek (bernachtung und Tagestour bei Ihnen Zuhause in Chiquian, bevor der Trek am Folgetag ab Pocpa startete)
  • Die Route wurde gemeinsam je nach Ausdauer und Fhigkeiten besprochen und ausgewhlt
  • Wir hatten jeden Tag blauer Himmel und Sonnenschein,das Huayhuash-Gebirge ist traumhaft und ein einziges Naturparadies
  • Die Valdez Brder kennen das Gebirge sehr gut und suchten stets kleine Pltze fr unser Lager aus, wo kaum andere Touristen aufzufinden waren.
  • Ich war absolut froh, mit den amigos de Huayhuash diesen Trek gemacht zu haben. Wir waren nur zu viert.( Unterwegs gegen Ende des Treks trafen wir eine 10kpfige Gruppen-> Massenabfertigung)
  • Morgens bekamen wir vor dem Frhstck einen heien Tee an unser Schlafzelt gebracht. Beim Essen wurden wir stets nach unseren Wnschen gefragt: zum Frhstck lieber Msli oder Pancakes oder Brot mit Ei oder vielleicht doch lieber warme Quinoa und Kartoffelsuppe wie die Peruaner frhstcken :-)
  • Das Essen war immer sehr gut und ausreichend. Frhstck, reichliches Picnic fr unterwegs, Zwischenmahlzeit nach der Ankunft am Lager und reichliches Abendessen:Suppe,Hauptgang und Dessert wenn gewnscht, Pisco ,etc
  • Die Tagestouren waren immer zwischen 4-7h, wobei die Route ja auch vor Beginn besprochen wurde. Die guides waren stets sehr rcksichtsvoll und passen sich der Kondition der Teilnehmer an
  • Die Brder achten die Natur und Tierwelt sehr. Wir haben den gesamten Mll wieder mit nach Hause genommen.
  • Unser Packesel wurden nie berbelastet; fr Notflle und mde Beine begleitete uns das Pferd Tipi. Haben es aber nciht gebraucht :-)
  • Der Trek durch das Huayhuash Gebirge empfehle ich jedem, der die Natur und die Berge liebt- es ist ein einzigartiges erlebnis und mit Worten eigentlich nicht zu beschreiben.
  • Die typische Mahlzeit- Pachamanca-die die Brder nach dem Trek in Ihrem Zuhause frs uns zubereiteten,war einfach kstlich.!!

Vielen Dank noch einmal an Alcides, Ribellino y Adolfo.

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Robert from France, stayed on the farm in October 2011


My partner and I met Abner and Adolfo 2 years ago when we went on a 14 day trek in the wonderful cordillera of Huayhuash with both of them. I kept in touch with Abner, and I just got back from his farm close to Chiquian. I spent 12 unforgetable days with Abner, his wife, his 2 daughters, his parents and Adolfo. Hard life, harsh conditions with no power, no running water, no sanitary but a great welcome. I worked with them weeding potatoes, milking cows, building a terrace wall, baking bread, forging tools etc…I was raised on a farm and I'm used to hard work… which is helpful in this case.

Abner would like to develop this kind of tourism with people who want to share his way of life and give a hand, if they can or desire to. If you are interested, please contact me.

Portrait of Abner by Robert
Portrait of Abner by Robert


Je connais Abner et Adolfo depuis 2 ans parce que, avec mon amie, nous avons fait un trek de 14 jours dans la fantastique cordillère de Huayhuash avec eux. Je suis resté en contact avec Abner et je viens de passer 12 jours que je n’oublierai jamais dans sa ferme proche de Chiquian. Il y vit avec ses parents, son épouse et ses deux filles. Les conditions sont rudes : pas d’électricité, pas d’eau courante, pas de sanitaires mais un accueil magnifique. J’ai travaillé avec eux pour traire les vaches, désherber les pommes de terre, construire un mur de terrasse, faire du pain , forger du métal etc…Je suis d’origine paysanne et je connais le travail manuel…ça aide.

Abner voudrait développer cette forme de tourisme avec des gens qui veulent partager sa façon de vivre et participer seulement s’ils le peuvent   des travaux. Si vous souhaitez des informations, n'hésitez pas   me contacter.

Portrait of Adolfo by Robert


Conocí a Abner y Adolfo en 2009. Fueron respectivamente nuestros guía y arriero durante un trek de 14 días que realizamos con mi amiga en la maravillosa cordillera de Huayhuash. Acabo de pasar 12 días en su chacra (granja andina). Ahí vive con sus padres, su esposa, sus hijos y Adolfo. Las condiciones de vida son muy básicas: no hay luz, agua corriente, baño. Sin embargo la acogida es fantástica. Trabaje con ellos ordeñando vacas, construyendo terrazas para la agricultura, deshierbando papas, haciendo pan, o apoyando en actividades de forja… Nací en una granja y conozco el trabajo manual….es una ayuda útil en este caso.

Abner desearía desarrollar este tipo de turismo con personas que quieran compartir su modo de vida y puedan participar de las actividades de la familia. Si quiere informaciones, puede contactarme.

Huayhuash scene by Robert

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Martin and Vicky from Austria, trekked in July 2010

11-day Huayhuash trek with Alcides and Adolfo (24.7.-3.8.)

During our research on the Huayhuash trek we came across Steve’s detailed trek report (see the photos page for the link) and immediately liked the whole concept of the Amigos de Huayhuash. Since our Spanish is very limited we wrote to Adrien and Jenny to set up the contact with Abner and everything from this first contatct until the end of the trek went perfectly well.

We met with Abner in Huaraz to buy food at the market (yes it works to meet at 9am at one corner of the Plaza de Armas), which is already a first great experience you miss with a travel agency. In Chiquian we stayed at Abner’s house for one night and discussed the exact route. With Adolfo, we took the bus to Pocpa the next day, where we met with Alcides and three donkeys and a mule. After loading all luggage and supplies, we set off for the magnificent trek. The weather was perfect during the whole time, only 2 half-days with clouds and no rain at all. Mountain views every day! There was not a second we regretted having chosen the Valdez brothers as our guides (all the more when you meet large trekking groups along the way):
• They know numerous side paths and great viewpoints so you get away from the main trail if you wish. (We i.e. hiked Trapecio pass to save one day)
• They love their animals, do not overload them and treat them well.
• They have been in these mountains since their childhood and tell a lot of details and stories. Besides, we hardly met a local person they did not know.
• They are great cooks (not only do you get a “restaurant” dinner but also a tasty soup in the afternoon and pancakes in the morning).
• They know a lot of less frequented, small camp sites (despite high season we almost always camped alone or far away from other groups).
• They adapt the route during the trek according to your wishes/abilities.
• They keep the mountains clean by taking all rubbish along with them.

Despite our poor Spanish, we had interesting conversations along the trek and especially in the cold evenings. For us, it’s been magnificent and unique 11 days ending with a great Pachamanca meal at Abner’s house to celebrate the successful trek. Thanks again to you, Abner Alcides and Adolfo.

Adolfo & Alcides with Vicky & Martin
Adolfo & Alcides with Vicky & Martin

Typical evening meal!
Typical evening meal!

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Frédéric et Sonia, trekked in June 2010

14 jours de trek en juin 2010

Nous ne pouvons que recommander ce trek magnifique guidé par les exceptionnels frères Valdes. Ces 14 jours furent une aventure andine authentique et humaine. Une expérience magique pour les amoureux de la montagne. Si vous souhaitez des informations, n'hésitez pas   nous contacter. Nous parlons français, espagnol et anglais.

Encore merci Adolfo, Alcides et Abner de nous avoir offert ce merveilleux souvenir péruvien.

14 dias de trek en junio 2010

Le recomendamos hacer este esplendido trek guiado por los excepcionales hermanos Valdes. Estos 14 dias fueron una aventura andina autentica y humana. Una experiencia magica para todos los que aman la montana. Si quiere informaciones, puede contactarnos. Hablamos frances, castellano e ingles.

Agradecemos mucho a Adolfo, Alcides y Abner por habernos ofrecido este maravilloso recuerdo peruviano.

Sonia & Frédéric
Sonia & Frédéric

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Anna and Ed, from Sheffield - Trekked in April/May 2010

10 day Cordillera Huayhuash Circuit with Abner and Adolfo 26th April-5th May 2010

Having found out about this website via Lonely Planet Thorntree forum we contacted Abner by email with help from Jenny and various Spanish speaking friends to arrange our trek.

After 2 nights in the excellent Albergue Churup in Huaraz (at 3000m+ allowing for some acclimatisation) we met Abner (and his sister who speaks excellent English!) at 9am in the main square the day before starting our trek. Together we bought our bus tickets (2pm to Chiquian) and all the food, which was a great experience in the local market and at street stalls. Shopping with Abner meant he designed our menu to what we like, whilst incorporating local dishes and ingredients. Following an evening meal and night at the Valdez house in Chiquian we caught the 8.30am bus to Pocpa with Adolfo and all the luggage, food and equipment - Abner had left early to fetch the animals from their farm to meet us at Pocpa at 11.30am. Once the donkeys were loaded we set off on our 10 day adventure.

The first few days walking were relatively short to aid acclimatisation. We soon got into the daily routine of:

  • a great breakfast (pancakes or porridge)
  • packing up camp and Abner and Adolfo loading the donkeys
  • 3-7 hours of walking (most days including a high pass) with plenty of breaks to take in the stunning scenery and a good "box lunch" en route
  • a welcome hot drink on arrival at camp
  • plenty of time relaxing at camp
  • a tasty and filling soup, followed by a delicious dinner in the large cooking/mess tent
  • bed (in our own tent). 

We had mixed luck with the weather, but generally had the better views in the morning so it was worth getting up and going early (mas temprano!). Abner and Adolfo made the trek for us - they were patient with our Spanish attempts and helped us to improve by teaching us, they were great company and Abner's big smile is contagious, they allowed us to ride Tipe the horse for some sections of the trek (mostly uphill bits) and generally looked after us very well.

On the last day we waved goodbye to Abner and the animals and got the bus back to Chiquian with Adolfo, where we found Alcides preparing our Pachamanca feast - highly recommended! We got the 4.30am bus back to Huaraz (rather than 2pm) the next day to give us time to get our very smelly laundry done before heading back to Lima. There are direct buses to Lima but we'd left luggage in Huaraz so had to go via there.

Hopefully helpful hints:

  • Try to change bigger notes for smaller ones for campsite fees and anything you buy en route (we bought fresh trout from a farmer and a few resupplies in Huayallpa)
  • We struggled to find iodine for our drinking water locally so bring it with you - Micropur is available locally but doesn't kill all nasties
  • Take a swimsuit for the pool fed by the hot springs or you'll be swimming in your undies like us!
  • Take lots of books (the donkeys will kindly carry them for you) as there's lots of time relaxing at camp.

Photos on Flicker.

All in all a great trek with great guides - we highly recommend it!

Ed & Anna's last day
Ed & Anna with Abner & Adolpho on their last night

Anna enjoying the view

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Elisa and Nico, from Toulouse - Trekked in August 2009

Arrivés   Huaraz en aout, pleine période touristique, on était très attirés par le tour de la cordillère Huayhuash mais on souhaitait le faire tranquillement, c'est   dire pas avec un groupe de 10! On a contacté Los Amigos de Huayhuash et Ancel, un des frères étudiant   Huaraz, nous a aussitôt répondu puis mis en contact avec Abner, son frère, arriero-guide depuis 15 ans dans la cordillère Huayhuash. On s'est mis d'accord assez vite sur le prix et sur l'organisation,   savoir partir seuls avec lui pendant 9   10 jours. Très pro, celui-ci a fait la route jusqu'  Huaraz (il habite normalement un ranch isolé   quelques heures de route) pour faire les courses au marché avec nous.

On a ensuite décidé de faire la boucle en 10 jours, même si elle est faisable en 8, ce qu'on n'a pas regretté (on conseille même 11 ou 12 jours). On est donc parti avec 3 ânes et un cheval (pour la sécu, ce qui n'est pas du tout le cas de tous les groupes) et des caisses remplies de légumes et autre nourriture "haut de gamme" pour une rando (ça nous changeait des soupes Maggi de d'habitude). On s'est chargé de la cuisine, lui des animaux (on s'aidait évidement). Malgré la fréquentation de cette boucle, on était seuls presque tous les soir dans les campements magnifiques, Abner connaissant des alternatives aux campements fréquentés.

Ces 10 jours ont été pour nous un des moments les plus forts de notre voyage de 10 mois en Amérique du Sud, d'abord par la rencontre très chaleureuse avec quelqu'un d'extrêmement humain,   l'écoute, soucieux de nous faire découvrir "ses" montagnes dans les meilleures conditions, son métier d'arriero, puis ensuite par la beauté des paysages, probablement les plus beaux dans lesquels on ait randonné. On a même eu l'honneur, une journée, de parcourir un itinéraire qu'il ne connaissait pas et qu'il nous a proposé (itinéraire praticable depuis peu en raison du triste recul du glacier) et passer par un col avec une vue faisant de ce jour l  une des plus belles journée de montagne de sa carrière d'arriero!

Bref, on ne peut que conseiller ces "Amigos de Huayhuash" et notamment Abner pour son professionnalisme et sa gentillesse.

Bon voyage, et n'hésitez pas   nous contacter pour des renseignements. Pour info aussi, on a décrit cette rando autour de Huayhuash sur notre blog de voyage.

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Gérald, Yannick and Alex - Trekked in April 2009

FR : AVRIL 2009

En avril 2009, sur les conseils de voyageurs rencontrés   Ushuaia, nous avons suivi Abner et Alcides sur le trek de la Cordillera de Huayhuash. Un trek inoubliable ! Region la plus riche en 6000m de l'Amérique du Sud, Huayhuash reste la zone la plus sauvage.

Préparatifs et courses   Huaraz puis direction Chiquian, le village de nos guides. Nous voici donc partis pour 12 jours avec 4 mules et 2 chevaux (qui nous permettrons de jouer les cow-boys chacun notre tour, rêves de gosse accomplis !).

Les premiers jours sont pluvieux, commençant même   mouiller les duvets. Mais finalement le soleil salvateur revient au 5eme jour pour dégager les plus belles vues. Nous prenons le rythme et les nuits jusqu'  4500m aidant, nous franchissons sans trop de difficultés les 2 cols de 5000m. Vue plongeante sur les lacs turquoises surplombés des sommets des dieux dont le Yerupaja Grande   6634 m. Nous sommes fascinés par cet environnement qui s'ouvre sous nos yeux.

Mention spéciale aux maîtres des lieux : notre guide Abner, 15 ans d'expérience dans ce genre d'aventure et son frère Alcides, guide-cuistot, des montagnards Péruviens d'une gentillesse incroyable.

Photos : http://picasaweb.google.com/caminonuevo2009/13PeruHuarazCordilleraHuayhuash#

EN: APRIL 2009

We met backpackers in Ushuaia in January 2009 and they advised us this wonderful trip. The Cordillera de Huayhuash counts many 6000m summits and Huayhuash stays one of the wildest area.

Our guides came to help us in Huaraz for the food shopping, then Abner showed us the way to Chiquian (bus). We trekked 12 days with 4 donkeys and 2 horses. First days were cloudy and it was raining quite strong. But day 5th, sun came back and we could admire the amazing views on the lakes and summits. We passed 2 times at 5000m, but a good acclimatation (3 days in Huaraz) is enough to enjoy the trek. You discover amazing lagunas and the Yerupaja (6634m), 2nd highest summit in Peru

Special thanks to the guides Abner and Alcides, experienced, skilled, very good cooker, and such nice people!

Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/caminonuevo2009/13PeruHuarazCordilleraHuayhuash#

Gerald & friends
Moment of joy for Gerald's group, facing the mighty Yerupaja

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Claire and Nico - Trekked in September 2008

Hola amigos de Huayhuash, on écrit actuellement de Puno au bord du lac Titicaca... et on peut vous assurer que ce trek fin septembre-début octobre avec Abner était génial.

Comme nous avions du temps, nous avons fait la grande boucle de 12 jours tranquillement même si certains font la même chose en 8 jours, mais   cette altitude (entre 4000 et 5000m), c'est mieux de prendre son temps.

Côté logistique, ils sont super bien organisés mais c'est   vous de découvrir tout ça. Vous pouvez y aller les yeux fermés, mais n'oubliez pas de les ouvrir une fois l -haut.

Encore merci   Jenny et les autres pour le bon plan, on s'est régalés. Hasta luego!

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Isabelle and Manu - Trekked in September 2008

Nous avons fait un trek de 12 jours dans la cordillère Huayhuash en septembre 2008.

Au coeur de la cordillère, on découvre une nature sauvage et intacte. Sous les glaciers crevassés, des cirques et des vallées s'étendent, garnis de lacs éclatants et d'une faune aviaire abondante. C'est l  le décor d'une randonnée spectaculaire et extrêmement intéressante.

Si ce trek est d'exception par la beauté naturelle et inégalée de cet univers, nous vous le recommandons surtout pour la rencontre d'Abner et Omar. Leur professionnalisme n'altère pas la relation humaine, qui reste familiale.

Malgré nos connaissances plus que rudimentaires de l'espagnol, Abner s'est appliqué   toujours dialoguer avec nous. Avant de partir, nous avons fait les courses au marché et Abner nous laisse choisir la nourriture que nous apprécions tout en l'adaptant aux conditions du trek, ensuite ensemble nous avons tracé l'itinéraire, la durée du voyage, les difficultés.. En chemin, il nous a fait partager ses connaissances de la montagne et favoriser la rencontre de quelques bergers et autres habitants de la montagne. Abner connaît très bien cette région, les endroits de bivouac ont tous été très bien choisis, par leur beauté et leurs commodités comme les quelques sources d'eau chaudes. Au terme du voyage, nous avons retrouvé son père et quelques-uns de ses frères autour d'une « panchamanca », cuite de manière traditionnelle sous la terre, la maman nous avait préparé du pain. Un souvenir inoubliable !

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Nancy and her husband - Trekked in July 2008

My husband and I used the services of the Valdez brothers in July of 2008 to do an eight-day trek in the Huayhuash. We also found out about the brothers through this website and are very happy to be able to recommend their services.

The brothers were professional, friendly and well organized. From the very first contact, I was impressed with how quickly Abner responded to my emails which made the process of trip planning quite easy.

We met Abner in Huaraz to go over our final route and to go food shopping. Later that afternoon, we got on a bus to make the trip to Chiquian. I would definitely recommend staying the night before the trek at the Valdez house in Chiquian. I'm sorry that we weren't able to complete the full loop and return there for a Pachamanca (next time, we hope!).

From Chiquian, we headed off on our trek accompanied by Alcides and Adolfo, their younger brother. We had a wonderful time and were extremely happy with the service that Alcides and Adolfo provided. They were friendly and knowledgeable about the area and we had many interesting after-dinner discussions. I was also impressed at how they cared for their animals and also how they did not leave garbage at the camp-sites like so many of the other guides. I was happy to have Rigel the mule along as he gave me a ride a few times up the passes. I also have to mention that you will not suffer in the nutrition department if you go hiking with Alcides. He is an excellent cook and we had many delicious meals. The most memorable was fresh trout and French fries. I've never seen anyone make French fries on a camping trip before!

I would not hesitate to recommend a trip to the Huayhuash to anyone in good shape who likes being outdoors. We chose to do only the route between Llamac and Cajatambo due to time constraints and would love to go back to complete the full loop. When we return, we will definitely do so with the Valdez brothers!

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Mike and Anne, Ireland - Trekked in September 2007

We spent two weeks in Huayhuash in September / October 2007, completing the circuit. We found our guides, the Valdez Rivera brothers, via this website and are very pleased to recommend their services.

Our small party was led by Alcides, assisted by his brother Adolfo. Our meeting in Huaraz was warm and cheerful and augured well for our trip. Shopping for food was an experience in itself. Anne is vegetarian, but Alcides still managed to create wonderful meals on the trek. We stayed with the family at their house in Chiquian both before and after the trek, a real bonus and more welcoming than a hotel room.

The trek was wonderful, although the weather was more overcast due to the time of the year. Security has greatly improved since our previous visit in 2002, the local communities manage their own valleys. Alcides and Adolfo were great guides, knowing the mountains intimately and judging our abilities correctly (we are nearly 60). We learnt to master horse riding, becoming good friends with Sultan and were at times grateful to take a rest from walking. Alcides acquired a young domesticated vicuña named Kennedy who accompanied us back to Chiquian and added to the fun.

Kennedy the Vicuña with Alcides

Although another brother Abner speaks a reasonable amount of English, we did start off with some language difficulties. But this added to the experience, our Spanish improving rapidly and Alcides making progress in English, until we could hold conversations on some quite complex topics.

Finally, price. It was definitely very competitive, much cheaper than agencies charge and probably a bit less than we paid in 2002. They are worth a generous tip. Would we use them again? Certainly!

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Daniel - Trekked in September 2007

Avec ma femme et une amie nous avons effectué le tour de la Cordillera Huayhuash avec Abner et Alcides en septembre 2007. Nous avions tous les trois une moyenne d'age de 60 ans.

Je voudrais encourager ceux qui hésitent encore   effectuer un tel trek. Vous pouvez avoir confiance. Abner et son frère connaissent parfaitement la cordillera.

En plus des ânes qui transportent le matériel ils ont deux chevaux qui peuvent assurer la sécurité en cas d'incident. Si vous avez l'habitude de randonner quelques soit votre age n'hésitez pas.

Nous n'avons eu aucun problème avec l'altitude mais il faut pour cela s'acclimater quelques jours   Huaraz ou Chiquian avant de se lancer dans les cols.

Il n'est pas indispensable de passer par Huaraz pour rejoindre Chiquian, un bus assure la liaison Lima-Chiquian.

Aucun problème pour la nourriture, avec peu de moyens Alcides fait des prouesses et quelques truites vous attendent au bord des lacs.

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Adrien - Trekked in August 2006

I was in Peru in August 2006 with Jenny and we did a 10-day trek in Cordillera Huayhuash with Abner and Alcides. They are farmers from one of the Huayhuash valleys.

Abner is a wonderful trekking guide. He knows his mountains, the local people and the way the weather works perfectly.

Alcides is a fantastic cook. His food is abundant, rich and incredibly tasty (which is very important at high altitude where it is common to lose one's appetite). He met us in Huaraz to choose fresh local food at the market.

They treat their animals with care. They are very careful to take enough donkeys on the trek to spare them the pain of carrying too much. They even brought two horses along on our trek just in case we were tired and fed up with walking. They are very welcoming and offered us to stay a few days to acclimatise in their typical adobe house in Chiquian. Moreover the price is very cheap. It was such a pleasure to give them more than what the expected, but unfortunately less than what they deserved.

If you want to meet authentic Peruvian farmers and discover both their culture and their desire to learn about others, do not hesitate - they are the best.

As a comparison the agency proposed us 1 guide-cook-horseman, and 2 donkeys for both of us. Abner and Alcides came with their brother Adolfo, 6 donkeys and 2 mules for less than half the price! The horses can carry adults or children.

Do not hesitate to contact me for further information, if I can be of any help I would be delighted.

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Patrick and Sophie - Trekked in August 2006

Nous avons passé en août dernier, 8 jours inoubliables avec Abner et Alcides, deux frères aussi adorables l'un que l'autre. Leur professionnalisme, leur honnêteté, leur générosité et leur désir de nous faire découvrir les beautés de la cordillère Huayhuash nous ont souvent émus.

Avec eux nous avons eu l'impression d'être au coeur de la vie des péruviens. Ils connaissent les villageois que vous rencontrerez durant le trek et avec qui vous partagerez peut-être votre repas. En nous invitant chez eux   Chiquian pour partager la "pachamanca", ils nous ont fait partager leur vie simple mais chaleureuse ou les générations s'entraident.

Abner et Alcides travaillent   la ferme pour aider leurs parents, c'est un travail rude qui ne suffit pas   faire vivre correctement toute la famille et   payer les études des frères et soeurs (brillantes études dont ils sont très fiers). Le salaire que nous leur versons sert principalement   payer ces études qui sont le seul moyen pour se sortir de la pauvreté. N'hésitez donc pas   faire appel   eux, vous voyagerez en toute sécurité et passerez des moments inoubliables.

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Pauline and Jimmy - Trekked in November 2005

Cela fait plus de deux ans maintenant que nous avons rencontré Abner et Alcides au hasard d'un trek (et quel trek!) "organisé" ou plutôt vendu par une agence de Huaraz. Cette rencontre a été l'une des plus marquantes de notre long voyage en Amérique du sud...

Lorsque nous sommes arrivés   Huaraz, nous rêvions de faire le tour de la Cordillère Huayhuash, c'est un lieu mythique pour les passionnés d'Alpinisme, ou plutôt d'Andinisme. Nous avons essayé d'organiser notre trek seuls mais ce n'était pas évident, nous nous en sommes donc remis   une agence qui proposait des prix abordables, voire louches, mais nous avions peu d'argent... Abner travaillait alors pour cette agence ou plutôt il était exploité par elle, enfin c'est la conclusion   laquelle nous sommes parvenus, puisque Abner et Alcides organisaient absolument tout le trek, nous guidaient, nous faisaient   manger avec leur matériel, conduisaient leurs propres ânes et mules... et n'empochaient qu'une infime partie de la somme que nous avions versé   l'agence. Classique me direz-vous, oui mais ça n'en est pas moins insupportable et intolérable!

Nous étions les seuls de notre groupe   parler espagnol, et nous avons vraiment sympathisé avec ces deux frères fermiers, et avec quelques habitants de la cordillère grâce au contact privilégié qu'entretiennent Abner et Alcides avec eux. Il nous a paru évident qu'il fallait absolument les recommander comme l'une de nos meilleures expériences andines, de manière   ce que les personnes intéressées par ce trek les contacte directement: c'était l'assurance d'une belle rencontre pour les voyageurs, d'un prix imbattable pour ce trek, sans négliger le confort et la sécurité, et une rentrée d'argent directe et méritée pour eux. Nous avons donc "posté" notre recommandation sur divers forum de voyageurs, en proposant notre aide pour la mise en relation, et en avons parlé   tous les gens que nous rencontrions durant notre périple... mais nous n'aurions alors jamais pensé qu'autant de personnes nous contacteraient... et qu'une véritable chaîne de solidarité naîtrait de ces rencontres! Je tiens   remercier Jenny pour ce superbe site et tous les voyageurs qui y ont participé... Abner et sa famille le méritent tellement !

Nombreux sont ceux qui ont été enchanté de cette rencontre et ont recommandé   leur tour cette expérience inoubliable. Aujourd'hui, Abner n'a plus besoin de travailler pour l'agence de Huaraz, il vous accompagne en famille dans ces montagnes qu'il connaît si bien. Grâce   l'argent qu'il gagne dignement comme guide de haute montagne, car c'est réellement ce qu'il est, il peut aider ses jeunes frères et s?urs   poursuivre leurs études, être moins tributaire des aléas de la ferme... Il a également aménagé chez lui des chambres pour pouvoir vous accueillir quelques jours avant ou après le trek, ce qui représente une expérience unique d'approfondir vos relations, de rencontrer sa famille et de séjourner dans un village magnifique qui n'est absolument pas touristique... Cet accueil exceptionnel est compris dans leur prestation. Voyager avec eux est en plus un vrai gage de sécurité dans une région potentiellement dangereuse pour les touristes. Vous ne risquez absolument rien avec eux, vous serez même reçu comme des papes par les locaux qui apprécient les voyageurs solidaires!

Mon petit message de recommandation s'est transformé en roman, mais je suis intarissable sur cette rencontre, l'une des plus belle de ma vie!

N'hésitez pas   me contacter pour plus de renseignement (see contact page), je suis régulièrement en contact avec Abner et peux faire le lien si vous ne parlez pas espagnol. Par contre, je demanderais aux personnes qui ne seraient pas sérieuses de s'abstenir. L'été dernier, Abner et ses frères ont réservé les 10 jours de trek pour des gens qui ne sont jamais venus et qui n'ont jamais plus donné de nouvelles, je trouve ça honteux. Si vous avez un empêchement, prévenez bien   l'avance, c'est la moindre des choses partout dans le monde!

Je souhaite un bon voyage   tout ceux qui vont tenté l'aventure avec Abner et Alcides, et je sais que le résultat sera au-del  des mots...

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Rob - Trekked in 2005, 2006, 2007...

I have trekked Huayuash with Abner and his brother Alcides three times with different friends. I met him as a result of being unhappy with the service of a Huaraz agency and deciding to organize a trip myself. One of the many advantages of doing a trek this way is you can tailor it to your needs, buy your own food, and have a say in choosing the route.

Something no agency will offer is the opportunity to stay in the family home before setting off, or for a really incredible experience, start from Abner's farm 3.500m in the hills above Chiquian. From there it was 3 days before we saw any other trekkers! Abner treats his animals exceptionally carefully, our donkeys were never laden like we saw in other groups. On my last trip we encountered other groups having all sorts of problems; missing equipment, donkeys falling over etc, but we felt in very safe hands.

Financially we were very satisfied as every cost is accounted for; guide, cook, donkeys, mule for riding/safety, so all added up we knew where our money was going - directly to the people who did the work, rather than an agency who pockets your money and pays the drivers a pittance!

I've lots of experience trekking in different countries and can't recommend Abner highly enough. Huayuash is a tough walk as it's a long way and can be very cold at night, but the walking is not that hard, only a couple of days require some serious slogging, and there are a couple of passes around 5000m, but the scenery, mountains and lakes are spectacular and if you have time I recommend you insert a couple of rest days, or take it at a leisurely pace to absorb the experience.

Please feel free to contact me for further info (see contact page).

Becky & Tim June 2014 Laguna Churup acclimatisation walk and 9 Day Huayhuash Circuit review.

We found the Valdez family via tripadvisor and this website, and the reviews were all so positive and this sounded exactly like the experience we wanted to have whilst undertaking the Huayhuash Circuit that we booked via email I can categorically say that neither of us were disappointed in the slightest by the trekking, the organisation, the equipment, the guides, the food, or any other aspects of what must surely be one of the highlights of any journey to South America


Anamin was our point of contact via email, and her knowledge and itinerary planning was spot on. She tailored the trip to my 16 day time limit and suggested we do the Churup acclimatisation walk prior to the main trek so I could get used to the altitude a very good idea! She was also very clear about what costs were included in their fee and what costs were not so there would be no surprises. She was also able to arrange several optional extras which we required -  transportation in Peru, equipment hire (an extremely good quality North Face tent), hostel/hotel rooms. Finally, when my rucksack was lost on arrival into Lima (with sleeping bags et al.) Anamin reassured us that we would be able to cut our 10 day circuit to 9 days without any problems, and she even offered to lower the price as we had lost a day an amazing offer, and shows that they really do want their customers to leave Peru feeling 100% happy with all aspects of their trip. 


Churup at an altitude of 4450m this acclimatisation walk is exactly what is required before undertaking the Huayhuash circuit. Anamin herself was our guide, and picked us up from our hotel in Huaraz and we drove by taxi to the start of the walk. A beautiful walk, ending in a stunning view of a lake beneath a snowy peak. The walk was difficult for me as I was not used to the altitude, but this was essential preparation for Huayhuash.

Following a successful trip to the market in Huaraz with Anamin and Adolfo (where we were able to choose what we wanted to eat for the 9 day trek), we jumped on a bus to the family home in Chiquan and slept in their guestroom prior to starting the 9 day circuit.


Huayhuash The trekking is phenomenal. We have both been on several treks around the globe, including Alps, Himalaya, Inca, Patagonia etc. and both found the walking, scenery and remoteness of this trek to be absolutely outstanding. It is also a very well designed route, with 3 easy days at the start of 4-5 hours trekking with campsites at lower altitudes (4100-4200m) to allow you to acclimatise adequately before the more difficult days in the middle (6-8 hours) with very high passes (Maximum of 5100m), and high campsites (Max of 4500m). It is the middle 3 days which make this trip so remarkable. The views are stunning, walking along moraines, through valleys, by turquoise lakes and up over passes by beautiful glaciers and peaks.  For a flavour of the views and wildlife we saw see the pictures below.



There were numerous things which impressed us about the Valdez family whilst on the main trek: firstly they recommended on day 5 we went a different route to the main tourist route, which they said was more beautiful and remote. They were absolutely right, it was one of the best days walking, with some of the best views, and we were the only group going that day! Secondly, they took extremely good care of us on trek walking at our pace, and slowing us down when we were going too fast, cooking snacks to raise our spirits after the particularly long days, asking what we wanted for breakfast and lunch every day and more besides. Thirdly, they took very good care of their animals, and the 4 mules and Tippy the horse were perfect throughout (Tippy in spite of having heavy tourists on his back at times!). Fourthly, they created incredible meals whilst on trek the food is exceptional and there was always seconds of everything! And lastly, both Abner and Adolfo were really great fun to play games with and discuss Peruvian and European culture over dinner really important when spending 9 days in close proximity with each other!


We cannot recommend the huayhuash circuit, or Los Amigos de Huayhuash highly enough, if you love walking you would be hard pressed to find a more spectacular trek, and you would find it very tricky to find a trekking company which would look after you much better than Los Amigos.