A Day Trip To The Pastoruri Glacier, and the Puya Raymondii Bromeliads

by Captain Bill

Our day trip to the Pastoruri Glacier, and the Puya Raymondii, largest bromeliads in the world, from Huaraz Peru, with Teo Tours.

Marmelita on the Pastorurui Glacier

Marmelita on the Pastoruri Glacier

We met Teo, of Teo Tours, at 8:30am outside the El Tumi hotel to start our final day trip from Huaraz. I wanted to see the Puya Raymondii Cactus in bloom, and Marmelita wanted to touch snow and ice. To accomplish our goals required a 70 kilometer car ride over horrible roads full of pot holes, hairpin turns, switchback after switchback, and suffering freezing cold.

A village scene at the start of our day trip up to Pastoruri Glacier

A village scene at the start of our day trip up to Pastoruri Glacier

At the beginning of our day trip we went through small villages with street scenes like the photo above.

Wheat drying in the sun along side of the road near the beginning of our day trip to Pastoruri Glacier

Wheat drying in the sun along side of the road near the beginning of our day trip to Pastoruri Glacier

When Teo tried to tell me the golden grain drying in the sun was “trego”, or wheat, I said no. I used to be a farmer. I know wheat and that is not wheat. The joke was on me. It was partially cooked wheat, drying in the sun, as one of the steps to make a special local delicacy, wheat soup, which I ate a bowl of and it tasted delicious.

A pastoral scene on the way to Pastoruri Glacier

A pastoral scene on the way to Pastoruri Glacier

Farther along and at a higher elevation we saw sheep grazing. At night the sheep are herded into the stone walled corral next to the shepard’s grass roofed huts.

Shepard's huts and a stone wall corral for the sheep at night.

Shepard's huts and a stone wall corral for the sheep at night.

This is the way people have lived here for hundreds of years. Each hut might have 20 cuy for meat, living loose in the hut with the shepard and his family.

Shepard's huts and stone wall corral on the road up to Pastoruri Glacier

Shepard's huts and stone wall corral on the road up to Pastoruri Glacier

On the way up we stopped at a naturally carbonated mineral spring.

Naturally carbonated mineral spring on the road to Pastoruri Glacier

Naturally carbonated mineral spring on the road to Pastoruri Glacier

My favorite part of the day was the hour we spent in a grove of Puya Raymondii, admiring the largest inflorescence of any plant in the world.

Bill and Marmelita in a grove of Puya Ramondii bromeliads, the largest inflorecense in the world

Bill and Marmelita in a grove of Puya Ramondii bromeliads, showing off the largest inflorecense in the world

The Puya Raymondii only blooms once in its life after several decades, and then, after pushing up a spike 12 meters high covered in thousands of blooms, producing millions of seeds, it dies.

A grove of Puya Raymondii on the way to Pastoruri Glacier

A grove of Puya Raymondii on the way to Pastoruri Glacier

We were lucky to see two species of hummingbirds feeding on Raymondii nector, and pollinating the blossoms.

A hummingbird sipping nector and pollinating the flowers of a Puya Raymondii bromeliad

A hummingbird sipping nector and pollinating the flowers of a Puya Raymondii bromeliad

At one point along side of the road we saw a sign that said we were 5,400 meters above sea level, but we went down to 5,240 meters to the glacier. That’s pretty high, I think it is the highest I have ever been on land.

Marmelita on horseback to the final accent of the Pastoruri Glacier

Marmelita on horseback to the final accent of the Pastoruri Glacier

When we arrived at the parking place to continue on foot or by horseback to the glacier, I saw it was going to be a difficult treck up to the glacier, so I sent Marmelita and Teo on and I took a nap in the car. Marmelita rode a horse most of the way. She said it was hard hiking in the high altitude on the last stretch to the glacier. She was happy to have played in the snow for the first time in her life.

It was hard to get there, but worth the $50 we paid Teo.

Our day trip to the Pastoruri Glacier, and the Puya Raymondii, largest bromeliads in the world, from Huaraz Peru, with Teo Tours.

Our good guide Teo, of Teo Tours putting in perspective how large the Puya Raymondii inflorecense is

Our good guide Teo, of Teo Tours putting in perspective how large the Puya Raymondii inflorecense is

If you are in Huaraz and plan a day trip or two, I recommend Teo Pineda Poma of Teo Tours. Cel.# 943916208 or 943080595. We liked him.

Bill Grimes is president of Dawn on the Amazon, studying tourism in Huaraz Peru.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ben Hall July 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

I am interstred in the Pastorui Glacier tour. Iam traveling alone and only have Sunday the 10 of July to attend. I am currently in Huaraz. do you offer tour with English speaking guide. Please foward me pricing , avalibility and tour outline.

Ben

2 Captain Bill July 10, 2011 at 9:49 am

Hello Ben, Thanks for reading most of my article. My expertise is only for the upper Amazon River and Rainforest around Iquitos. We traveled to Huaraz like you, as a tourist. We had a good experience with Teo Tours which is why I recommend Teo Pineda Poma of Teo Tours. Cel.# 943916208 or 943080595. We liked him. I hope this is valuable information for you.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: