this part of the Andes is one of the most spectacular of all the Peru Cordillera Blanca. The stunning scenery with the highest Peruvian mountains and glaciers with turquoise Lagoons, it is a .Paradise for trekkers and Mountain lovers.
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.
A 200km. long valley lyin g between the Cordillera Negra and Blanca, the area has been nickname the PERUVIAN SWITZERLAND for its glacial lakes and snow-capped peaks that tower over 6000 meters(including Huascaran, at 6768m, Peru’s highest mountain).The region delights mountain climbers from the world.
City Altitude (Huaraz): 3080 above sea level.
City Climate (Huaraz): Sunny and dry. Cold at night and rainy from December to April.
127,047 people living in the area
Huaras and the Valley of Callejon de Huaylas is one of the best places in South America to enjoy superb mountain scenery and plenty of outdoor activities such as trekking, mountain climbing, mountain biking, skiing and rafting. It's also great places for the less adventurous who enjoy going for day walks and exploring the villages and their lively markets.
The 40 km wide valley runs north-south for nearly 200 km between the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Blanca (White Mountains) to the east and the Cordillera Negra (Black Mountains) to the west.
The main destination for visitors to the Callejon de Huaylas is the city of Huaraz, about 8 hours by bus from Lima. The setting of the city, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca, is spectacular. You can see over 20 snow-capped peaks over 5000 meters, of which the most notable is Huascaran (6,768m), the highest mountain in Peru.
Huaraz can provide all the facilities and infrastructure required by tourism. There are numerous hotels and hostals of varying kinds. Some are very basic, while some of the more expensive ones offer a luxurious mountain retreat.
Climbing in the Cordillera Blanca
The Cordillera Blanca is truly a climber’s paradise. Many people come to Peru just to visit this region and can sometimes reach several summits over 6,000m in a two week stay. Climbing is best done during the dry season (June to September) with optimum conditions usually in July. Acclimatization is essential so allow between 4 days and 1 week before starting the ascent depending on the height and difficultly of the mountain.
The peaks of Ishinca (5,534m) and Pisco (5,752m) are suitable for inexperienced climbers. Alpamayo (5,957m), generally regarded as Peru's most beautiful mountain, is suitable for intermediate climbers, while Huascaran (6,768m) can prove quite a challenge.
The Santa River valley, on which HUARAZ lies, has long been a major Andean thorough-fare and the Incas, main Andean road passed through here. However, little remains of the valley’s archaeological heritage because a series of devastating natural disasters has repeatedly destroyed the towns of the Callejon de Huaylas.
The major cause of these natural disasters has been the built up of water levels in high mountain lakes, causing them to breach and water to cascade down to the valley below. The high lakes are often held back by a relatively thin wall of glacial debris which can burst when the lake levels rise. This can occur suddenly, as when an avalanche falls from high above the lake, or more slowly with rain and snow melt. Earthquakes can also cause the lakes to breach. When this happens, a huge wall of water, often mixed with snow, ice, mud, rocks and other matter, flows down from the lakes, wiping out everything in its path. Such a mixture of avalanche, waterfall and landslide is referred to as an alluvion.
Since these disasters, a government agency has been formed to control the lake levels by building draim and tunnels, thus minimizing the chance of similar catastrophes. The agency concerned is the Instituto Geologico Minero y Metalurgico, known by the acronym INGEMMET.
Most of Huaraz has been rebuilt and it is now a modern and especially attractive city capital of the Department of Ancash. Its renown as the centre for visiting the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash has led to the development of a thriving tourist industry, with a multitude of hotels and other facilities.