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Huamachuco to Caraz, Peru - 20hrs By Bus Glad To Be Alive

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - August 2011   » View Photoset (43 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
The best way to describe the journey from Huamachuco to Caraz in the highlands is 'pure hell'. In total it took around 20hrs in crappy buses on the most
Peru Photo - Huallanca town in the mountains between Chuquicara and Caraz.
Huallanca town in the mountains between Chuquicara and Caraz.
roughest of unsealed roads that weaved around cliffs with sheer drops of 100 meters or more. It took 2 and a half days to complete. This journey is definitely not on the gringo trail. I would not recommend it to anyone nor would I ever want to do it again!

Alternatively

The most intelligent way to get from Huamachuco to Caraz is to go to Trujillo, then down the coast to Chimbote or Chiclayo and then up into the mountains to Caraz from there.

My Itinerary

My way was like this! From Huamachuco 1hr to Shorey, 2hrs to Santiago de Chuco, 6hrs to Mollebamba where I spent 1 night. Next morning 2hrs 30mins walking to Mollepata, 6hrs bus to Chuquicara and sleep 1 night. Next morning 4hrs to Caraz. What was I thinking? What I was thinking was this - that I wanted to travel from north to south Peru only in the highlands. I pretty much did that except for a slight coastal detour further south in Lima.

The Journey in Detail

Here is the story of the trip from
Peru Photo - Getting closer to Chuquicara on the road from Pallasca.
Getting closer to Chuquicara on the road from Pallasca.
Huamachuco to Caraz. Leaving Huamachuco in a co-op taxi to Shorey, a sign says 178kms to Trujillo, through La Colpa, Choquisonguillo, interesting rock formations and boulders on the hills, 141kms to Trujillo, road works and a beautiful lagoon, more Stonehenge like rock forms, stop in the small town of Quiruvilca, arrive in Shorey.

In Shorey

Waited for a bus to Santiago de Chuco for over an hour, then took another to Mollebamba, arrived in Mollebamba late at around 9:30pm. Nothing here, nothing open, found a bed in the town center, just a little shack of a room. The woman gave me something basic to eat. I slept and
Peru Photo - Through a tunnel between Huallanca and Caraz.
Through a tunnel between Huallanca and Caraz.
got up around 4:30am and walked for 2 and a half hours over the hill to Mollebamba.

In Mollebamba

It was early, before 7am. I got some breakfast of fish at a womans house and waited until after 9am for a bus to Chuquicara. Mollebamba is a tiny place at 2677m above sea and has a little white church, the plaza is surrounded by old colored houses with balconies.

In Pallasca

After leaving Mollebamba, a couple hours later we stopped in Pallasca. It has a tidy plaza, gardens and church beside. I had not been able to get to an ATM machine since Huamachuco because there aren't any in these places and I was very low on money. I asked around to see if anyone wanted to buy my cellphone and was lucky to find a buyer, so I now had enough money until Caraz.

The Road to Chuquicara

The next 4hrs on the road to Chuquicara was extremely rough, weaving and winding roads of rubble high up in the mountains on the edge of extreme drops. At around 4pm I
Peru Photo - Scenery and terrain near Caraz.
Scenery and terrain near Caraz.
arrived in Chuquicara. There's nothing here apart from a police station, a restaurant and ladies selling oranges, but buses pass through to and from various destinations like Chimbote on the coast and Caraz in the mountains.

Sleep at the Police Station

Unfortunately it was too late in the day to get a bus to Caraz and there are no hotels in Chuquicara and I only had enough money to get to Caraz. The policemen at the station in Chuquicara were quite friendly, my girlfriend who speaks fluent Spanish was chatting a lot to them. They were good guys, they offered to let us sleep in a room at the police station for the night, which we gladly accepted. Next morning after saying thankyou and goodbye, a bus to Caraz came through.

Chuquicara to Caraz

This 4hr journey would be the last leg in 2 days of hard
Peru Photo - Waterfall within an hour down the road from Caraz.
Waterfall within an hour down the road from Caraz.
travel. The trip to Caraz is on a road cut into the most roughest and jagged of terrains and follows a river surrounded by black and grey rocks and hills. We came to a small town called Huallanca, one of the first places with greenery I had seen on this day. A lovely little town that is dwarfed by the mountains that surround it. For the last hour from Huallanca to Caraz as we climbed higher into the mountains the scenery got more and more spectacular on the lefthand side with the sight of waterfalls beside the road and glimpses of snow-capped mountains in the distance. We passed through many tunnels as we climbed higher and higher to Caraz where I spent the next couple of nights.

     

View all photos in the Huamachuco to Caraz Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from about halfway from Huamachuco to Caraz (Peru) to:


Map location: Huamachuco to Caraz, Peru. The best way to describe the journey from Huamachuco to Caraz in the highlands is 'pure hell', in total it took around 20hrs in crappy buses on the most roughest of unsealed roads that weaved around cliffs with sheer drops of 100 meters or more!
 A : Chimbote - Peru 114 kms 114 kms straight distance | 3hrs 6mins 3hrs 6mins by car (158 kms) | 3hrs 43mins 3hrs 43mins by bus (158 kms) (158 kms)
 B : Huamachuco - Peru 48 kms 48 kms straight distance | 3hrs 4mins 3hrs 4mins by car (159 kms) | 3hrs 40mins 3hrs 40mins by bus (159 kms) (159 kms)
 C : Yungay & Caraz - Peru 94 kms 94 kms straight distance | 4hrs 5mins 4hrs 5mins by car (191 kms) | 4hrs 54mins 4hrs 54mins by bus (191 kms) (191 kms)
 D : Cajabamba - Peru 70 kms 70 kms straight distance | 4hrs 39mins 4hrs 39mins by car (198 kms) | 5hrs 34mins 5hrs 34mins by bus (198 kms) (198 kms)
 E : Huanchaco / Trujillo - Peru 116 kms 116 kms straight distance | 4hrs 12mins 4hrs 12mins by car (216 kms) | 5hrs 2mins 5hrs 2mins by bus (216 kms) (216 kms)
 F : Huaraz - Peru 148 kms 148 kms straight distance | 5hrs 25mins 5hrs 25mins by car (252 kms) | 6hrs 30mins 6hrs 30mins by bus (252 kms) (252 kms)
 G : Cajamarca - Peru 135 kms 135 kms straight distance | 7hrs 30mins 7hrs 30mins by car (321 kms) | 9hrs 9hrs by bus (321 kms) (321 kms)
 H : Leymebamba to Celendin - Peru 156 kms 156 kms straight distance | 9hrs 58mins 9hrs 58mins by car (432 kms) | 11hrs 57mins 11hrs 57mins by bus (432 kms) (432 kms)
 I : Huanuco - Peru 255 kms 255 kms straight distance | 11hrs 38mins 11hrs 38mins by car (511 kms) | 13hrs 57mins 13hrs 57mins by bus (511 kms) (511 kms)
 J : Tingo Maria - Peru 245 kms 245 kms straight distance | 11hrs 51mins 11hrs 51mins by car (587 kms) | 14hrs 13mins 14hrs 13mins by bus (587 kms) (587 kms)
 K : Chachapoyas - Peru 226 kms 226 kms straight distance | 13hrs 19mins 13hrs 19mins by car (593 kms) | 15hrs 58mins 15hrs 58mins by bus (593 kms) (593 kms)
 L : San Ignacio to Chachapoyas - Peru 303 kms 303 kms straight distance | 12hrs 35mins 12hrs 35mins by car (742 kms) | 15hrs 6mins 15hrs 6mins by bus (742 kms) (742 kms)
 M : Tarapoto & Lamas - Peru 263 kms 263 kms straight distance | 15hrs 16mins 15hrs 16mins by car (770 kms) | 18hrs 19mins 18hrs 19mins by bus (770 kms) (770 kms)
 N : Pucallpa to Tingo Maria - Peru 298 kms 298 kms straight distance
 O : Tingo Maria to Tarapoto - Peru 119 kms 119 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Huamachuco to Caraz, Peru:

The Police Station, Chuquicara, Peru - Large Photo
The Police Station, Chuquicara, Peru (August 2011 - 1 night) - The police in Chuquicara were very good to my girlfriend and I when they invited us to stay the night in a spare room at the station when there were no more buses going anywhere that day. Best of all, it was free!

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Huamachuco to Caraz, Peru - 20hrs By Bus Glad To Be Alive. The best way to describe the journey from Huamachuco to Caraz in the highlands is 'pure hell', in total it took around 20hrs in crappy buses on the most roughest of unsealed roads that weaved around cliffs with sheer drops of 100 meters or more!

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