Tucked away in a quiet neighborhood in Huaraz, Peru is Olaza’s Bed and Breakfast, a comfortable guest house that offers spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, luscious warm breakfasts and friendly proprietors who understand what trekkers and travelers need. Guest rooms are spacious, showers are hot and a rooftop deck offers plenty of fresh air. The town’s central plaza is a short walk away, but far enough that peaceful nights allow for sound sleep.
Located in a residential neighborhood called Soledad Barrio, the front of the inn is nondescript with one vertical street sign announcing the name. After entering through a narrow hallway, it opens up to an attractive courtyard with bright, colorful murals and potted plants. The guest rooms are spare but spotlessly clean, with a bed, table and chair. Each room has a private bath and towels are provided. Plentiful hot shower water chases the chill away. Beautiful, thick alpaca blankets keep guests warm at night.
The focal point of Olaza’s is the top floor where guests gather for breakfast, usually on the spacious, sunny deck if the weather is nice. Adjacent to the deck is a large, open living area with a wall of tall windows that lets in plenty of light. Several seating areas provide space for guests to spread out to read, watch TV, work on the computer or play cards. The staff uses the kitchen in the morning to prepare breakfast, but it is available for guests to use at other times of the day, to store food or even prepare meals.
Breakfast varies but always includes a thermos of coffee or hot water for tea, a basket of the locally made bread, butter, jam and sliced fruit. The main course might be scrambled eggs, a crepe or pancakes. Round tables are scattered around the deck, each with a large umbrella that provides shade from the bright sun or protection from stray sprinkles.
Most tourists arrive in Huaraz, located in the Cordillera Blanca, by bus from Lima or other locations. The bus ride from Lima is about eight hours and since many arrivals occur after dark the free pick-up service offered by Olaza with advance reservations is a major perk.
The proprietor, Tito Olaza, has a long history leading trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking and mountaineering tours and can provide many suggestions for activities. Travelers to Huaraz are often drawn to the natural beauty of the area and are looking for adventure. Countless activities are available for day trips and a short, inexpensive shuttle drive, provided by staff at Olaza’s, can have tourists on a trail within an hour. The staff speaks Quechua and Spanish but only a limited amount of English. However, most of their descriptive materials are written in English, including price lists for transportation to common destinations and an extensive binder with write-ups of day hikes, so tourist sign language, pointing and a smattering of shared words goes a long way toward mutual understanding.
Huaraz is located at 10,000 feet, which is high enough to cause some guests to feel the effects of altitude sickness. Taking a day to acclimate is a good idea before embarking on strenuous activity such as a backpacking or climbing trip.
For travelers looking for a mid-range guesthouse with private rooms and ensuite bathrooms, Olaza’s Bed and Breakfast offers comfortable accommodations, hearty breakfasts and plentiful advice on local attractions.
See related articles: Planning an independent backpacking trip on the Santa Cruz Trail, Peru: Part 1 and Planning an independent backpacking trip on the Santa Cruz Trail, Peru: Part 2
Olaza’s Bed and Breakfast (also known as Olaza’s Guest House)
Phone: (51) 43-422529
Address: Julio Arguedas 1242
Soledad Barrio (neighborhood)
Rates: 80-100 (US $25-31) soles for double, depending on time of year
Visa and American Express accepted