I stood across from Novaplaza, waiting for the the Candioti family to pick me up. New Year’s Day streets in Huaraz were a scattering of humans either just waking up or heading home from what I can only imagine as a wild night out. My New Year’s Eve was relatively low key, and I was in bed not long after midnight - falling asleep to the lullabye of the symphonic fireworks.
The Candioti Family were heading out to Chancos for the day and Marbel, a friend of mine, had invited me out. Chancos is in the Marcará District, which is between Huaraz and Carhuaz. It’s about a 45 minute drive by car, and the views of the mountains were nothing short of breathtaking. Not that Huaraz is a big city, but there’s a different kind of freedom when you head out to the open road.
We were driving to the Baños Termales in Chancos, where there are public saunas, thermal pools as well as private, natural cave saunas. Marbel, her sister Magaly and I opted for the private sauna. Even though the sauna was set in a small cave, it was good to see a simple, modern-style changing room. As I was getting changed, I realised that I had forgotten my jandals! Luckily the cave floor wasn’t affected by the hot steam and I could easily walk in and out without burning my feet.
As hot air rises, the sauna effect was mostly around my head and down towards my chest. After ten minutes, I did begin to feel the effects of the hot steam. It acted like a natural exfoliant, and soon “dirt and grime” built-up on my fingers, which as gross as it sounds (and felt at the time!) made my skin feel amazing afterwards.
After our saunas, we headed to a nice spot by the river, about 15 minutes from the Baños Termales. There was a small restaurant, football pitch and tables and chairs. It turned out that we were having lunch with the family of Marbel’s brother’s girlfriend (quite a mouthful that one!) - and what a place to have lunch too, surrounded by the mountains and a glacial-fed river. It turned out that you can also just hire the table and chairs, which looked like a popular option since another family came over as soon as the plates were cleared.
We were served half a cuy (guinea pig) and about four potatoes each, gosh it felt like more! There were about 20 of use seated at the table and each of us had a plate each! I have to say this was much better than my first cuy experience. The potatoes were pretty tasty too.
The rest of the afternoon was spent walking along the river and watching a friendly game of football. We made our way back to Huaraz around 3pm and I ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and evening just slothing on the couch.
Ronna Grace Funtelar is a thirtyish storyteller, creative, writer and slam poet currently travelling in Peru. She is a hobby hiker, photography and sunrise enthusiast with a passion for mindfully helping others live beyond their comfort zone.
Basically, a shorty who knows her life purpose.