ANCASH, HUARAZ AND CORDILLERA BLANCA
Ancash (Quechua: Anqash) (Spanish: Áncash Spanish pronunciation: [ˈaŋkaʃ]) is a region of northern Peru. It is bordered by La Libertad Region on the north, Huánuco and Pasco regions on the east, the Lima Region on the south, and the Pacific Ocean on the west. Its capital is the city of Huaraz, and its largest city and port is Chimbote. The name of the region originates from the Quechua word anqash (light, of little weight), from anqas (blue) or from anka (eagle).
Ancash is a land of contrasts: it features two great longitudinal valleys, which combine the mountain characteristics of the Callejón de Huaylas (Alley of Huaylas) with the sylvan ones of the Alto Marañón. Miles of sandy beaches and the blue waters of the Pacific. The territory of the coast, high plateaux and Andean punasof the Ancash Region are flat, while the rest of the territory, in the Andes, is very rough. In the west, slopes with strong declivity form narrow canyons with abrupt and deserted sides.
The rough territory of the region is crossed by two mountain ranges: on the western side, the Cordillera Negra (Spanish for “black mountain range”), which has peaks without glaciers, and on the eastern side, the Cordillera Blanca (“white mountain range”), which has many peaks covered with snow and ice, such as the Huascarán and the Alpamayo. Between these two mountain ranges, the Santa River flows through the so-called Callejón de Huaylas. This valley narrows to form the Cañón del Pato (“duck canyon”). Also along the Pacific slopes, the Santa River has shaped a wide valley in the punas which narrows into the Cordillera Negra, where the Cañón del Pato canyon was formed.
The snow-covered peak of Huascarán, highest peak of Peru and second of the Americas, reaches a height of 6,768 m (22,205 ft, 4.2 miles) and contrasts with the 6,263 m (20,548 ft) deep trough of Chimbote found in the ocean west of Ancash. Remnants of glaciers created many lakes such as Llanganuco Lakes and Lake Parón.
Following the Pan-American Highway north from Lima, the territory of the region of Ancash begins just beyond the Fortress of Paramonga, between wide fields of sugarcane, and across the Fortaleza River, 206 kilometres (128 mi) from Lima.
Along the coast of Ancash, from the Fortaleza River to the Santa River, the Pacific exerts great influence. The Peruvian current and the El Niño current exert considerable and sometimes tragic effect on local lives and regional economies.
Normally, the Peruvian current, also known as the Humboldt Current, brings cold water and large numbers of fish. With the development of the shoals of anchoveta, the Ancash ports and creeks became commercial fishing centers. During the 1950s, the bay of Chimbote was the top fishing port of the world.
However, when warmer waters from the north, such as the current of El Niño, bring catastrophic rains to the coast and sea, the shoals of anchoveta disappear, leaving the fishing fleets plants paralyzed, and flooding rivers cause serious damage to the lands and cities. The cycles of these two sea currents that affect Peru are hard to predict.
Further north along the Pan-American highway, numerous islands and islets dot the sea near the coast. Most are home only to guano seabirds. From south to north, the most important islands include Tortuga Island (Turtle Island), La Viuda Island (The Widow Island), Isla Blanca (White Island) and Santa Island (Holy Island).
The coastal region of Peru includes many peninsulas, creeks, warm bays and sand beaches, full of color. Because of the lack of roads and difficult terrain, many of these are inaccessible by land. The most important beaches include Grande Beach, La Gramita Beach and Las Salinas Beach.
Much of this coast is a monotonous stretch of huge sand deserts, a common denominator in all Peruvian coastal regions because of the influence of the Humboldt Current.
Along the rivers, there are green valleys, cultivated mainly with sugarcane, rice and cotton. From south to north, the main rivers of the Ancash coast are the following: Huarmey, Culebras, Casma, Sechín, Nepeña, Lacramarca and Santa.
Of these rivers, the only one with water year-round is the Santa River. Its sources are the glaciers and lakes of the Cordillera Blanca. The other rivers, as with most rivers of the Peruvian coast, are intermittent, depending on the highland rains or the advance of El Niño.
Between the years 400 and 600 BC, the first Peruvian civilization, known as Chavín, originated and flourished in this zone. The importance of this culture lies not only in its antiquity but in the history and culture it shares with other cultures along the Andean and Amazonian territories. As archaeologist Julio C. Tello put it, “Chavín was the mother of all the cultures that later bloomed in the old Peru.” The name Chavín comes from the Quechua word Chawpin, which translates as center or headquarters. Tello believed that people came from the Amazonas, scaled the Andes, and developed the Chavín culture.
During the Inca age, the population of the Santa valley was assimilated into the Inca empire by Pachacuti.
The first Spaniards came to Huaylas attracted by the fame of the silver veins of the region. In time, the Spanish destroyed the Inca cities. It was during this time that Jerónimo de Alvarado founded the city of Huaraz. Though in the Colonial Age this city held little importance and its artistic and cultural life did not have much relevance, it became the headquarters for Simón Bolívar during his campaign to liberate Peru.
The Ancash Region was created following the defeat of the Peru-Bolivia Confederation by the combined forces of the Peruvian restoration army and the Chilean army at the battle of Yungay in 1839.
The 1970 Ancash earthquake devastated the region, killing more than 50,000 people and damaging 186,000 houses in one of the deadliest natural disasters in Peru.
Today, most of the Ancash population is concentrated in the Callejón de Huaylas.
Beginning in 2011, the mining region has been the site of an ongoing anti-mining protest over allegations of water contamination and public versus private rights to the natural resources of the region. Clashes between protesters, mining company security, and the federal police have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries.
The geographical center of Ancash, the Callejón de Huaylas, is an area of intense interest to tourists. This is due to its large variety of natural attractions, its sport and recreational facilities, and the nearby archaeological remains of the ancient cultures that once flourished there. The Cordillera Blanca offers an interesting attraction for tourists visiting Peru. Visitors also come to see the natural beauty of the area’s glaciers and valleys and to enjoy the many lakes and thermal fountains.
Ancash is sometimes referred to as the “Switzerland of Peru”. There is the four mile high Huascarán, home to the Huascarán National Park. There is also the Alpamayo peak, considered one of the most beautiful in the world.
Among archaeological sites of interest, Ancash has many vestiges of old cultures, including the Guitarrero Cave (10,000 BC), the pre-Columbian ruins of Chavín de Huantar, Hunsakay, Willkawayin, Sechín, and Pañamarka are also well-known.
There are a few tours in the Ancash Region that will let us know the main touristic and historical places inside this Region. Among the principal ones are:
- Huaraz – Recuay – Catac – Pachaqutu ravine and Pastururi.
- Yungay – Llankanuku – Vaquería – Waripampa – Santa Cruz and Caraz
- Caraz, Cañon del Pato
- Huaraz – Pitiq – Quillqay and Juanca
- Caraz, Puya Raimondi at Mirador de Huinchus
- Huaraz – Olleros – Yanashallash – Chavín de Huantar – Qiruqucha and Catac
- Caraz, Parun Lake
- Catac and Carpa
- Huaraz – Willkawayin and Llaqa ravine
- Chacas – Perlilla
- Chacas – Huari
The historical village Pativilca (Lima Region), where Simón Bolívar planned his expedition for the liberation of Peru, lies 202 kilometres (126 mi) north of Lima on the Pan-American Highway. At this point begins the highway that leads to the Callejón de Huaylas. This road is completely paved, although it often has to be repaired because of the extreme damage caused by the wayqus (flash floods) and the rains. The same problem affects most Peruvian roads, especially the ones in the mountains (Quechua natural region and rainforest Rupa-Rupa natural region).
This highway is 287 kilometres (178 mi) long, with an extremely comfortable course, especially in the steep climbing stretches through the Cordillera Negra (Black Range) up to the summit of Conococha, 4,100 metres (13,451 ft) above sea level. From there, the road descends toward the Callejón de Huaylas.
The trip Lima-Huaraz-Caraz of 468 kilometres (254 mi) takes seven hours by car. Modern buses spend eight hours over the same stretch.
East of Pativilca, for about 20 kilometres (12 mi) the highway passes between wide fields planted with sugarcane in extensive fields, parallel to the Fortaleza River bed.
At the town Huaricanga the road enters the department of Ancash. At this point, the highway begins a slow ascent of the first spurs of the Cordillera Negra. This stretch continues for about 50 kilometres (31 mi). The climb gets suddenly steeper beyond the towns Chasquitambo and Chaucayán, with many bends and serpentines.
The Cordillera Blanca
This mountain range is composed by gigantic summits covered with snow, which are among the most beautiful of the world. The White mountain range is considered the highest tropical mountain range in the world. It borders the Callejón de Huaylas to the east. It has a length of 180 km.
It has 35 peaks that are higher than 6,000 m and many other smaller ones, a real symphony of summits with different grades of difficulty in climbing.
This mountain range was called White, not only for its eternal snow but also for the chemical constitution of its quartz and feldspar rocks. It has the highest summit in Peru and the fifth one in America after Aconcagua, Ojos del Salado, Bonete and Mercedario: Huascarán, whose south peak reaches 6768 msnm. Huascarán’s north peak reaches 6655 m.
Allpamayu whose height has been estimated in 5,947 m, has been considered as “the most beautiful snow mountain of the world”. This statement was achieved by the distinguished Peruvian mountaineer César Morales Arnao who sent the photo of Alpamayo to the world contest of scenic beauty made in 1966 in Munich, Germany.
Huandoy N reaches 6,395 m, Wantsan reaches 6410 m, Chopicalqui reaches 6354 m, Qupa N reaches 6173 m, Artesonraju reaches 6025 m, Pukarahu S reaches 6,259 m and Wallqan reaches 6,126 m.
The beauty of the Cordillera Blanca is largely determined by the Cordillera Negra because this mountain range softens the winds that come from the Pacific Ocean. The Cordillera Negra, acting as a shield, avoids the thaw of the big glaciers from the Cordillera Blanca.
The Cordillera Negra has rocky peaks with very little winter snowfall, reaching a maximum height of 5500 m. Its name comes from the comparison with the white snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.
Huascaran National Park
The Huascarán National Park is one of the most outstanding conservation parks in Peru, due to its landscapes that are full of peaks, lakes, canyons, torrents and waterfalls. Inside its borders, it can be observed the whole Cordillera Blanca and seven peaks of more than 6000 m height. They constitute one of the main international focuses for climbers and mountaineers. It was stated as a National Park on July 1, 1975 with a surface of 340,000 ha and a length of 158 km. This National Park includes parts of the following provinces: Recuay, Huaraz, Carhuaz, Yungay, Huaylas, Pomabamba, Mariscal Luzuriaga, Huari, Corongo, Sihuas and Bolognesi. This park has also been listed as a biosphere reservation and as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The park territory is very uneven. It has snowy summits, which altitudes vary between 5000 and 6768 MSL. It also has gullies, that are deeply encased because of the fluvioglacial erosion, and a great number of lagoons. Inside the borders of the park, there are 663 glaciers that are distributed throughout 180 km, from the Tuku in the south up to the Champara in the north.
Regarding its climate, there are two very well defined seasons: The dry season from April to September becoming worse between the months of June and August and the wet season from October to May whose highest rainfall is between January and March.
Its flora is countless and beautiful, including important groups of Puya Raimondi. In its fauna, there are tarucas, spectacled bears, vicuñas, pumas, foxes, vizcachas, weasels, Andean mountain cats, opossums, hog-nosed skunks, etc.
The route Casma-Huaraz is not a very highly travelled road. The highway begins with a paved path that arrives up to Yaután. Then it quickly begins to ascend through an unpaved path by the sides of the Cordillera Negra, following the course of the Casma River. This route becomes more steep once it arrives to Pariacoto. Along the road, there are not important towns at all, except for Pira that offers some traveler’s services.
This route, extremely steep and narrow, goes between big abysses and gullies. It can be seen small rural districts with chacras (smallholdings) that have been sown with potatoes, wheat, barley and other food products. It can also be seen livestock and a lot of human activity.
The gullies of the Cordillera Negra -that goes, simultaneously, with the Cordillera Blanca throughout 150 km- are gloomy and dark. Most of them are dry or their flow is scarce. From north to south, there are some hills like Rumicruz (5,020 m), Rocarre (5,187 m), Cerro Rico (5,015 m), and Chunta (4,810 m).
The beauty of the Cordillera Blanca is largely determined by the Cordillera Negra because this mountain range soften the winds that come from the Pacific Ocean. The Cordillera Negra acts like a shield and avoids the thaw of the big glaciers that are located in the Cordillera Blanca.
The Cordillera Negra has rocky peaks with very little winter snow, reaching a maximum height of 5,500 m. Its name comes from the comparison with the white snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.
Extreme sports in the Callejón de Huaylas and the Huascarán National Park:
- Mountaineering: The glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca constitute one of the most important world scenarios for ice climbing. Mountaineering can be practiced the whole year but the weather is best between the months of May and September.
- Trekking: The prehispanic paths offer excellent opportunities for trekking during the whole year. On the way, it can be observed varied flora, fauna, impressive snowy mountains, gullies and deep canyons, archaeological sites and several typical villages. There are several routes that last from one day to three weeks.
- Camping: It is a pleasant and a relaxing experience to spend the night under the moonlight, having as a unique companion: the stars and some constellations like Capricornus, Crux, Centaurus and others. This sport can be practiced at any time of the year.
- Canoeing: The Santa River has the technical characteristics and different difficulty grades for practicing river sports as canoeing, kayak and others. For example, there are some rapids between Anta and Caraz that are good for those who are just beginning to practice this sport. The lakes Llankanuku and Qiruqucha also offer some special characteristic for a boat ride.
- Cycling: The cyclists that ride on the highways and roads enjoy the practice of this sport by traveling inside and outside the Huascarán National Park. This sport can be practiced at any time of the year. The north area, near Caraz, offers the best rides, single tracks and down hill tracks.
- Rock climbing: The granite belt that goes round the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca constitutes the suitable place for practicing this sport. There are walls from 100 m to 1000 m of height that have many kinds of technical difficulties to get through. There is an odd scenario for this sport called Rocódromo de Monterrey.
- Alpine skiing: It consists on slipping from the glaciers. The most favorable ones for practicing this sport are: Pastururi, Copa, Wallqan, Huascarán, Wallunarahu and Perlilla, the latter being recently discovered and promoted by the local government of the Asunción Province, with 6 km of moderate and steep slopes where competitions were held soon snowboarding and alpine skiing. These snowcapped mountains are ideal for practicing the slide on snow (also known as siquiesqui) and for making snowmen.
- Paragliding – Hang gliding: Along the Callejón de Huaylas there are several places that are favourable for the practice of these flight sports. They can be practiced at any time of the year.
- Horse riding: It is a sport of big emotions. It is practiced on bridle paths with Peruvian horsess that were raised in the Callejón de Huaylas.
- Fishing: The rod fishing of trout can be practiced in rivers and lagoons of the Cordillera Blanca and Cordillera Negra at any time of the year.
Santa River and the Cañón del Pato
From Chimbote to Huallanca, there are approximately 140 km. This unpaved and very little travelled highway is a provisional line over the embankment of the old railroad. This railway and several tunnels were destroyed by the catastrophe of 1970.
The highway, outside Chimbote, goes through the wide flat and fertile embankments of the Santa valley and it continuous its course up to Huallanca.
From Chuquicara, the highway becomes narrower. The Chuquicara River is a major right-hand tributary of the Santa River. Its waters are black because they contain abundant coal sediments proceeding from the heights of Pallasca.
From Huallanca, it is possible to travel through the Cañón del Pato. This canyon is one of the many canyons that are along the 370 km of the Santa River. The Santa River has its source in the lake Conococha. This river is the most important river in the coast, because its annual water mass is 6100 million m3. As centuries went by, it has formed a narrow pass of 2000 m of altitude in the Cordillera Negra.
In this place, the waters turn into whirlpools and rapids before going out from a narrow gorge of 500 m that is called Cañón del Pato (Duck Canyon). This waterfall constitutes the source of hydroelectric energy in the power station of the Cañón del Pato, in Huallanca.
From Huallanca, it is possible to enter to the Callejón de Huaylas by the highway that takes to Caraz. It is also a way to enter to the Callejón de Conchucos (Conchucos valley).
Callejón de Conchucos
The Callejón de Conchucos is a beautiful succession of valleys located to the east of the Cordillera Blanca. It is connected by a highway from Catac to Huallanca.
There are eight provinces of the Ancash Region that cover the Callejón de Conchucos. They are Huari, Asunción, Antonio Raymondi, Mariscal Luzuriaga, Pomabamba, Sihuas, Corongo and Pallasca. This Callejón is located to the east of the Cordillera Blanca, that is to say, to the other side of the Callejón de Huaylas, before the Marañón River.
The topography of the soil presents high summits, deep valleys and inhospitable punas, making it a rough zone, such as most of the highland in Peru.
The northern provinces of Pallasca Province and Corongo Province have their own direct access towards Chimbote and the Callejón de Huaylas. The other provinces have a longitudinal highway of double entry, one from Huari Province and the other one from Huallanca District and Sihuas Province, joining Pomabamba Province, Mariscal Luzuriaga Province and Antonio Raymondi Province.
Huaraz (Spanish pronunciation: [waˈɾaθ] or [waˈɾas]) founded as San Sebastian de Huaraz, is a city in Peru. It is the capital of the Ancash Region (State of Ancash) and the seat of government of Huaraz Province. The urban agglomeration’s population is distributed over the districts of Huaraz and Independencia. The city is located in the central part of the Callejon de Huaylas Valley and on the right side of the river Santa, in addition the city has an elevation of approximately 3050 metres. The agglomeration has an extension of 8 km2 and a population of 120,000 inhabitants, making it the second largest city in the central Peruvian Andes after the city of Huancayo, and the 22nd largest city in Peru. Huaraz is the headquarters of the province’s Roman Catholic Bishop and the site of his official cathedral.
Huaraz is the main financial and commerce center of the Callejón de Huaylas and the main tourist center of Ancash region, moreover, is one of the important cities in the Peruvian Andes. Huaraz is the main place of winter sports and adventure. Many visitors from around the world arrived to the city for practicing sports as climbing, hiking, mountain biking, snowboarding and also to visit the glaciers and mountains of the Cordillera Blanca, mainly the Huascarán snow peak, that is considered the highest mountain in tropics, all of them located in Huascarán National Park that is a nature world heritage site by UNESCO.
The origins of the city came before the Inca Empire with the development of some human settlements surrounding the valley 8of the Santa River and Qillqay. Its Spanish occupation occurred in 1574 as a Hispanic-indigenous reduction. During the Independence of Peru, the whole city supported the Liberty Army with food and guns, gaining the city the motto of “Noble and Generous City” named in that way by Simón Bolívar. In 1970, 95% of the city was destroyed by an earthquake that damaged a great part of Ancash Region. 25,000 people died. The city was supported with great international help by many countries. For this reason the city was named as a capital of International Friendship.
The main economic activities in the city are agriculture and tourism, because Huaraz has tourist infrastructure supporting the Ancash Highlands, the city is the main point of arrival for practicers of adventure sports and mountaineering. Along with the snow peaks of the Cordillera Blanca, one can visit archaeological sites as Chavín de Huantar and the eastern highlands of Ancash, known as Conchucos.
The name of the city comes from the Quechua word “Waraq”, that means “sunrise”. Because the prehispanic people who lived in the zone, had as a god the “Waraq coyllur” that means “Star of sunrise” or Venus planet, because it is the star that can be seen better from the city at sunrise.
Huaraz is in north-central Peru, about 420 km north of Lima, and at an altitude of 3,052 metres (10,013 ft). It is the largest population center in the agriculturally important Callejón de Huaylas valley. The Callejón (in Spanish roughly meaning large valley or corridor) is a north-south valley bounded on the east by the Cordillera Blanca (permanent white snowcaps and glaciers) and on the west by the Cordillera Negra (no permanent snowcapped peaks or glaciers, hence black). The Cordillera Blanca includes Huascarán, the highest mountain in Peru at 6,768 metres (22,205 ft) and the third highest in the Western Hemisphere. Huascarán and the adjacent peak Huandoy in fair weather are clearly visible from Huaraz.
The Santa River flows north through Huaraz. It is not commercially navigable but has always furnished the city with good water. The river is a rocky-bottom narrow stream of glacier-fed cold water that flows generally west of center in the Callejón, running north to the valley’s north end. There it rushes downward through the narrow Cañón del Pato (duck canyon), turns westward at the town of Huallanca, and continues to the coast where it enters the Pacific Ocean south of the city of Chimbote. The Santa River is the traditional west boundary of Huaraz, although part of the city’s population has lived on the west bank there for as long as two centuries.
The nominal north boundary of Huaraz is along a westward flowing creek that empties into the Santa River. The creek, whose watershed is the westward facing nearby foothills and slopes of the Cordillera Blanca, has twice since 1940 been the channel of two devastating earthquake-precipitated floods (see below).
The most recent devastating flood and avalanche along this creek bed was a result of the 1970 earthquake. The avalanche of 1941 had filled the creek valley with debris, covering the new suburb on the city’s north edge. The 1970 avalanche and floodwaters down this creek valley destroyed the city’s north-side subdivision, which had been partially rebuilt by the late 1960s. The 1970 avalanche debris also created a temporary natural dam across the Santa River, which barrier caused flooding throughout much of the city. The quake had wrecked almost all the city’s major buildings. Over the next few days the city was devastated by flooding from both the creek and the river and by water-borne earthquake debris.
Huaraz has a warm moderated weather of tropical mountain. It is sunny and dry during the morning and cold past the evening, with temperatures between 11-17 °C and maximum temperatures that could overpass 21 °C. During the rainy season, from December to March, rainfall can be between 500 mm and 1000 mm. The dry season, spanning from April to November, is also known as “Andean summer”.
There is a little knowledge about the history of Huaraz, before the arriving of Spaniards. In 1533, the Spanish Army arrived in this area under the command of Hernando Pizarro. They did the first description of the qualities of the area, and they described that was a green fertile soil, with many livestock in the highlands, and prosperous villages.
Despite that, there is human presence since 10.000 B.C, during that time people were dedicated to be gathers and hunters. A proof of that, is the Guitarreros cave across from the town of Mancos. Since that age Huaraz had to pass, by different changes with the development of farming in the zone of Vicuas and Villaqui.
During the ancient age, the Chavín culture developed the urban growing, So, the village of Waras were created, with its ceremonial center located at Pumacayan hill. In the middle age, can be located the Recuay culture. After that, the area of Huaraz was conquered by the Wari culture, this empire built the archaeological rests of Wilcahuain and Waullac. Finally, the area was annexed to the Inca Empire.
Francisco Pizarro, known as the Spanish conquistador of Peru, in 1538 granted the right to collect taxes in the area within what is now the Province of Huaraz to his subordinate Sebastián de Torres. Alonso de Santoyo founded on 20 January 1574 a Hispanic Indigenous reduction (Reducción Hispano Indígena) with the name of Pampa Huarás de San Sebastián, with 14 quarters. Later its political creation, dated on 12 February 1821, while General José de San Martín was staying in Huaura (city north from Lima) founded 4 Departments, including Huaylas as one of them, with its capital, the city of Caraz. Finally on 1857, it was split in two, giving birth to the new young Province of Huaraz with its capital, the nowadays, City of Huaraz.
From the beginning the Spaniards began exploiting the mineral wealth of the region. Several deposits of metal ores were discovered: silver, lead, and tin, among others. Availability of these metals for mining and smelting locally was the primary attraction of the Callejón area to Spain. Hundreds of the native Quechua-speakers by the 1570s were laboring in the mines.
As in other areas of Spanish settlement in the Andean countries most agricultural works such as native irrigation canals and terraces were appropriated or destroyed by the colonial administrators. The Spaniards did not call their tactics slavery, though in fact the effects were the same. Disappearances and unexplained deaths were common for resistors. The entire population of some villages was forcibly marched long distances and resettled. To identify those who tried to return to their prior homes, the native peoples were required to wear distinctive clothing identifiable by areas or provinces. The Spanish patron or hacendado often chose for those people under his control a costume copied from his home region in Spain. These costumes are now a source of regional and national pride among many Andeans who identify with their native ancestry.
Much of the north side and a large part of the center of the city was destroyed in 1941 by floodwaters and avalanche debris because of a burst reservoir that was the city’s municipal water supply. The reservoir dam was about 6 km (3.7 mi) east of the town and more than 200 meters elevation above it. The dam failed because of sudden overflow pressure from an avalanche of glacier ice probably caused by a localized tremor (earthquake). Within a few minutes the stream bed was filled with an avalanche of water, mud, boulders, and associated debris whose crest by the time it reached the city may have exceeded 15 meters height above the stream bed. In as few as four minutes after the dam burst the avalanche obliterated and covered the city’s most modern suburb and destroyed most of the north half of the city.
After the 1941 disaster the old reservoir dam was repaired but not replaced. Doubts about the safety of the dam were largely responsible for abandonment of that area for redevelopment. The creek valley upstream from the city in the mid-1960s exhibited scarred inner banks several meters higher than the normal water level. The scarring caused by the avalanche was increasingly higher above the stream bed on the creek valley walls nearer the reservoir. The scoured appearance of the creek valley indicated the mass and power of the avalanche gaining momentum as it crashed down the narrow valley, accumulating debris as it descended.
By 1965 fewer than a half dozen buildings had been rebuilt in the creek valley adjacent north of the city. The valley was still filled by as many as three meters of soil and debris deposited by the 1941 avalanche. Giant boulders lay about, some protruding as many as four meters above the 1965 creek bed level. Many boulders from the 1941 avalanche were strewn down to the confluence of the creek with the Santa River. Huaraz area residents who remembered the disaster of 1941 said in 1965 that the river itself was diverted by avalanche debris for some days until eroded away and carried downstream (northward), and there were boulders on the west bank that had come with the avalanche.
On 31 May 1970 the same reservoir dam burst during the Ancash earthquake, which had a moment magnitude of 7.9 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe). Down the creek valley, again came an avalanche, eerily similar to that of 1941. In the prior four years or so, the suburb had begun to again be redeveloped: numerous residences were built atop the 1941 avalanche deposit within the at-risk creek valley. Within its duration of 45 seconds, virtually every structure of consequence in the city’s center was destroyed. A few minutes later, the north half of the city, particularly in the creek valley, was obliterated by an avalanche of icy mud carrying boulders and other debris.
As many as 20,000 people were killed within the city; there were reported only 91 survivors within the city itself. The historic structures along the narrow streets, particularly the big adobe casonas (large houses) roofed with ceramic tiles, were reduced to rubble. The main square was evident by the dearth of rubble; the city was rebuilt around it. Where once stood the old casonas and their high-walled compounds now there are smaller buildings. The narrow streets had been deathtraps during the quake; the post-1970 city design has wider, more modern streets
Presently, mining is the main economic activity. Since the foundation of Pierina gold mine in 1996, for the Canadian company Barrick Gold Corporation. Industry is composed of medium and small companies dedicated to food industry, as the elaboration of soft drinks, beer, cheeses and milk derivates, and this activity occupies a 13% of the economically active population. Also exist companies dedicated to the building and housing industry. Those kind of companies are spread by different parts of the metropolitan area and Callejón de Huaylas basin.
Fifty percent of economical active population is dedicated to commerce and is service-oriented. Since the 1990s, have been increasing the number of small and medium companies, as a result, of the economical crisis and in order to survive the index of unemployment. Is important to notice that the laboral force of the small managements which impulse other activities as tourism and handicrafts industry. Moreover, Huaraz have ever been the center of business, commerce, and finances in the Callejón de Huaylas and the Andean part of Ancash, as if the city is the main supplier industry of farming products in the Region.
Despite tourism always was the main economic activity, for that reason Huaraz is one of the main tourist destinations of Peru, receiving every year 200,000 visitors between Peruvian and foreigners. Huaraz as main city of the region, has the majority of tourist services like good-quality hotels, restaurants, pubs. Visitors are expected to visit the Huascarán National Park, also known as the biggest glacier in the tropics, and other historical sites as Chavín de Huantar.
Sports and Rereation
Soccer is one of the most practiced sports in the city. However its practice has generated more expectives since the club Sport Áncash was the only soccer team in participate at Peruvian Soccer League. inside the city there many soccer courts located in the different neighbourhoods in order to practice this kind of sport. Other sports that are practiced like the basketball and the volleyball, especially in the female people. Moreover, tennis has so much acceptance in the city.
Adventure sports have become very popular in the city with the tourism boom, especially among young people. Popular adventure sports include paragliding, hang gliding, trekking, llama trek, climbing, rafting, canoeing, mountain biking, motocross, abseiling, and puenting. Puenting is practiced from the highest bridge crossing the Santa river. Winter sports are also very popular, including mountaineering, snowboarding, skiing. Peaks surrounding the city in the Huascaran National Park such as Pastururi are popular for climbing. Treks to local peaks Ratakinwa and Pukaventana are also very popular.
As in all of Peru, soccer is the most popular sport in Huaraz. The Rosas Pampa Stadium is the main site for soccer tournaments like the Peruvian Soccer League. This stadium has a capacity of 20,000. The most representative soccer team in the city is Sport Ancash, the only Huaraz team in participate in Peruvian soccer league.
Other sports are practiced, such as basketball, volleyball and tennis. There are other sport courts like the Coliseum of Huaraz, and many fields dispersed in the city. Adventure Sports is also requeired by lots of Internationals around this area, high qulity organization can be taken with Peru Bergsport in Huaraz.
In the city, prairies, forests and snow peaks can be seen from the urban center. But inside Huaraz, there are some tourist sites to visit. At La Soledad, there is the Lord of Soledad Chapel, which contains crucified Christ, that was founded during colony times. Also there are pre-Hispanic ruins, 3 miles from the city in Wilcahuain, where there are stone palaces of Wari culture. Other ruins are located 1 mile from Huaraz in Waullac, surrounded by big prairies with views of snow peaks and mountains.
At downtown across from the Plaza de Armas (main Square) is located the Museum of Ancash, which contains a lot of value pieces of the Recuay culture, and in this museum there is the Monolithic Park, which is considered one of the largest in America.
There is plenty of volunteering opportunities in Huaraz especially with the organisation ‘Teach Huaraz’. This program is set up by a local teacher, allowing international volunteers to teach English and Computing, where full accommodation and food is provided. Check out https://www.facebook.com/TeachHuarazPeru/ for more information. 8 miles north from Huaraz, the Monterrey Baths are located, which contain hot springs with medical properties, and also is a so ecological place surrounded by forests, where there are lodges and some upscales hotels.
Huaraz is the touristic operation center of the region, drawing thousands of visitors that practice adventure and winter sports. Also, Huascarán National Park, which is considered a biosphere reserve, is a popular destination for tourists.
The peaks of the region have for many decades been the testing grounds for mountain climbers anticipating future expeditions into the Himalayas. Huaraz is a popular base for expeditions into the Cordillera Blanca and the Waywash mountain range south of the Callejón del Huaylas.
In the streets surrounding the farmers’ market, the paraditas (street markets) of local sellers offer handicraft products such as ponchos, alpaca textiles (carpets, sweaters, etc.); jewelry made of locally mined tin, copper, and silver; cuarteados (a typical dessert from the nearby town of Caraz made by mixing manjarblanco and fruit cake); boxes of manjarblanco, butter, cheese, honey, smoked and salty hams, jerky (Quechua charqui), etc.
Huaraz is known as the ‘Switzerland of the South’ because of its beautiful peaks that are visible from the city centre.
Museum and the arts
Huaraz is home to some museums. Across from Main Square is located the Archaeological Museum of Ancash. This museum presents three levels divided in four rooms, and in each one, there is an exhibition of cultural manifestations made by the different human groups have inhabited the Ancash Region. At this museum there is the Monolithic Park, that is considered the biggest stone park in South America.
Huaraz also is home of the Cultural Center of Huaraz that became a new arts hub. It opened in 2012 and it is considered one of the biggest theaters of Peru.
The cuisine of Huaraz is considered to be one of the most recognized in the Peruvian Andes. Among the most popular dishes are Picante de Cuy (a roasted guinea pig in a sauce of red spices, served with bold potatoes), Llunca de gallina (a chicken soup prepared with bold wheat and yellow spices), Charqui de Chancho and res (roasted pork and beef salted and dried), Pachamanca (a dish prepared on the ground with hot stones, made of different kind of meats as beef, chicken, pork with baked corn and potatoes), Pataska (a hot soup, made with boiled corn and pork or beef skin), Ceviche and Chocho (raw fish marinated in lemon juice served with chocho, a typical cereal), the Jamón Huaracino (salty and dried ham). There are some desserts like Api de Calabaza (sweet cream made of mashed pumpkin) and beverages, such as Chicha de Jora (sour yellow corn).
- Av. La Cultura N° 1318 Wanchaq, Cusco.
- +51 84 233451 (Cusco)
- +51 1 2241816 (Lima)
Our hours are in Peruvian time (GTM -5)