Huaraz Ancash Centre Travel Tourist Information
LOCATION, EXTENSION AND POPULATION
The department of Ancash is located in the northwestern part of the country. It has the privilege to harbor every landscape of the world in its territory. On one side, Ancash is bathed by the waters of the Pacific Ocean and, on the other, it is surrounded by the Andes in the Sierra.
It has an extension of 36,308 km² (14,000 sq ml) and a population of over 980,000 people.
The capital is Huaraz, located at 3,100 m.a.s.l. (10,000 ft). The city of Chimbote, on the Coast, is considered among the largest fishing ports in the world, and the biggest iron and steel industrial center in Perú. Due to the diversity of its geography, the weather in Ancash also differs, that is, it is warm in the Coast and cold in the Sierra. Nevertheless, mornings are mild and fresh all year round.
BRIEF HISTORIC OUTLINE
The beginnings of civilization in this region were around the years 400 to 600 AD. Chavín was the native culture, a civilization that practiced intensely the worship of its gods, and was outstanding for its ceramics and sculptures in stone. The Chavín people offered a strong resistance when the Incas decided to enlarge their domains.
When the Spanish arrived to what today is known as Huaraz in search of gold and silver, they caused great destruction because the local people rebelled against submission.
In spite of the pressure that Francisco Pizarro imposed upon them to obtain the dominion of the national wealth of the region at any price, the Waylas and Conchucos would not subdue, thus, causing a massacre. This is one of the reasons why the real date of the founding of the city is unknown, in spite of some unreliable versions that think otherwise.
During Colonial times, Huaraz was not as important as other cities in the country, that is why there are very few remnants of Colonial mansions there. Yet, what was significant was the ill-treatment of the natives by the Corregidores (Spanish magistrates), which led to a systematic confrontation between the authorities and the clergy, who strove for better treatment of the locals.
The people of Ancash committed vehemently with the struggle for independence. Many among the most important figures in Ancash incorporated to the forces led by Bolívar. Likewise, during The War of The Pacific (with Chile), the Ancashinos showed great endurance against the invaders. General Andrés Avelino Cáceres organized the resistance in the Battle of de la Breña by moving the troops from Huaraz to Yungay without being defeated.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE CALLEJON DE HUAYLAS
The CALLEJÓN DE HUAYLAS is a circuit including the towns of Recuay, Aija, Marcará, Carhuaz, Mancos, Yungay and Caraz, which are different and comprehensive. So, even if Huaraz is the starting point of the circuit, after visiting its traditional sites, such as, the Plaza de Armas or Main Square, the Cathedral, doing the Callejón de Huaylas circuit, which is not very far, is a necessity and a great opportunity to be in contact with nature, people and their folklore.
Along the route, the footprints of a wonderful cultural past in sculpture and architecture can still be appreciated, such as, the chulpas or graves of Willcahuín and Honcopampa; a tomb at Janku; and sites like Huallac, Kekamarca, Marcún and Keyash.
Huascarán National Park. Created in 1975 with the objective of preserving the flora and fauna, geological lands, archeological sites, and the beauty of the Cordillera Blanca, the park comprises not only the famous Huascarán, but all the area that surpasses 3,300 km² (1,300 sq ml).
Yungay. The province that was buried together with its 50,000 people during the 1970 earthquake and stands today in the same place. At 25 km (15 ml) from this site, the Yanganuco Lagoon, a beautiful natural wonder of blue waters and Edenic scenery, is located.
Laguna de Conococha. Located over 4,100 m.a.s.l. (13,400 ft), this lagoon is where the Callejón de Huaylas and the Santa river start.
Cañon del Pato. This canyon is famous for its hydroelectric plant and for being at the northern end of the Callejón de Huaylas.
Monterrey Thermal Baths. They are located at only 7 km (4 ml) from Huaraz, with waters that reach up to 49°C (120° F).
Chancos Thermal Springs. At a distance of 30 km (18 ml) from the capital, with temperatures ranging from 68° to 72° C (155° to 160° F).
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ANCASH
Archeological Complex Chavín de Huantar. Located in the Callejón de Conchucos, Chavín de Huantar was once one of the main religious and cultural centers in the western hemisphere. An example of its outstanding architecture in stone is the castillo or castle and its labyrinth, a mysterious construction of narrow paths and a multitude of enigmatic figures in carved stone, such as, the Cabezas Clavas, sculptures with ferocious faces.
Paramonga Fortress. This fortress is located in the Coast, within the limits between the departments of Lima and Ancash. In spite the fact that some archeologists believe this imposing construction was a religious ceremonial site, the majority coincide in that it was used as the last bastion of the Chimús, before submitting to the forces of Inca Pachacutec in the middle of the fifteenth century.
Nepeña. At 35 km (22 ml) from Casma in the Coast, this valley is near the huaca (tomb) of Pañamarca, built from adobe and which still shows vestiges of a Mochica past, with paintings unique in their style.
Huarmey. Coastal province with several fish mill industries and beautiful beaches along its coast, specially Tortugas.
Casma.It´s 2 main attractiveness: Sechín. This was the first cultural site in the Peruvian Coast. It houses an archeological complex by the same name with an antiquity of over 3,000 years. It is impressive on account of its architecture and stone ornaments, uncommon to the cultures of the Coast. It is located at 5 km (3 ml) from Casma. Tortugas´s Beach. It´s leaving the city, in the route to Chimbote.
Chimbote. Once considered the most important fishing port in the world. The city is located in the broad bay of El Ferrol, one of the most sheltered and safe in the world.
TYPICAL DISHES AND BEVERAGES
Due to the variety of its climate and geography (Coast and Sierra), Ancash has dishes to please the most demanding tastes. Beside the cebiche and other dishes based on fish and seafood that may be tasted on the Coast, well-known in the Sierra are, Huaracino style guinea-pig picante, jaca-chasqui (a variation of the former dish, but as a soup), papa-chasqui (soup based on potato, milk and cottage cheese), yuca-shupe (an low fat soup served in the morning after a night of amusement), pecán-caldo (lamb head broth), huallpa-chasqui (chicken broth with ground nuts and almonds), and humitas de chococa.
It is recommended to drink any of the different fruit punches, according to the season.