Easygoing Monterrey is seven kilometers km north of Huaraz. Reputed for its hot springs and saunas, the town also has a few worthwhile hotels and restaurants. The hot springs (7 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, US$1) include two large pools, of varying temperatures, along with a number of private bathing rooms. Don’t be put off by the water, which is simply stained brown by minerals.
Slightly past Monterrey, La Reserva (Km 8 Huaraz–Caraz Highway, tel. 043/42-4865, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Tues.–Sun.) offers Turkish baths, as well as steam and dry saunas. The facilities are clean and well-kept.
There are no good budget options in Monterrey, and prices rise during high season. The best lodging choice is the peaceful El Patio de Monterrey (Km 206 Huaraz–Caraz Highway, tel. 043/42-4965, www.elpatio.com.pe, US$59 s, US$69 d with breakfast). The colonial-style hotel, with tile roofs, a stone terrace, and water fountain, has rooms with nice furniture and all the modern amenities, minus cable TV. Many of the rooms look out over gardens, and meals are served in a dining area with fireplace.
Right next to the hot baths is the former state-owned Real Hotel Baños Termales Monterrey (Upper Av. Monterrey s/n, tel. 043/42-7690, US$22 s, US$30 d). This rather austere hotel has rooms with hot showers, temperamental service, a handful of more expensive bungalows, and free access to the hot baths.
There are several small recreos, or country restaurants, near Monterrey. The best is El Ollón de Barro (Km 7 Huaraz–Caraz Highway, tel. 043/42-3364, US$3–8), which serves up huge portions of chicharrón, huge red rocoto peppers stuffed with spiced meat, local trout, and grilled meats. Tables are spread around a grassy lawn, and there is a playground for kids. Owners Patrick and Adela also run Creperie Patrick (Luzuriaga 422, tel. 043/42-6037, 5:30–10:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) in Huaraz.
Another good option is El Cortijo (Huaraz-Caraz Highway s/n, tel. 043/42-3813, 8 a.m.7 p.m. daily, US$5–12), where tables spill out onto a grassy, bougainvillea-lined garden, and lunch is often a pisco sour, papa a la huancaina, pachamanca, and humitas.
Getting to Monterrey
From the south end of Huaraz, at the corner of Luzuriaga and 28 de Julio, catch the green-and-white buses to Monterrey (US$0.30, 30 minutes). Or from the north end, hop on any valley-bound combi or colectivo. Ask at your hotel or the Iperú office (Luzuriaga 734, 2nd Fl., Psj. Atusparía, tel. 043/42-8812, iperuhuaraz [at] promperu [dot] gob [dot] pe., www.peru.info/iperu, 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun.) for the combi stop. A taxi costs US$2 from Huaraz to Carhuaz.
On the Huaraz–Caraz Highway in Monterrey, you can catch a combi back to Huaraz or on to the remaining towns in the Callejón de Huaylas.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition