- Ancash Region
Infobox Peru region
name = Ancash
imagesize = 100px
image_caption = Regional logo
president = Ricardo Narváez Soto
elevation = 3052
area = 35,914.41
pop = 1,039,415 (2005 census)
density = 28.9
provinces = 20 provinces and 166 districts
lowest = 0 m (sea level)
highest = 6768 m (
areacode = 43
poverty = 61.1%
GDPshare = 2.76%
website = [http://www.regionancash.gob.pe www.regionancash.gob.pe]
iso = ANC
ubigeo = 02
Ancash is a region in northern
Peru. It is bordered by the La Libertad regionon the north, the Huánuco and Pasco regions on the east, the Lima region on the south, and the Pacific Oceanon 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", which means " blue".
Ancash is a land of contrasts. It has two, great longitudinal
valleys, that combine the mountain characteristics of the Callejón de Huaylas (Alley of Huaylas) and the ones of the sylvan Alto Marañón. Miles of sandy beaches abut the blue waters of the Pacific. The territory of the coast, high plateaus and Andean "punas" of 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 thewestern side, it's the Cordillera Negra(the Black Mountain Range), which has peaks without glaciers, and on the eastern side, it's the Cordillera Blanca(the White Mountain Range), which has many peaks covered with snow and ice, like the Huascaránand the Alpamayo. Between these two mountain ranges, the Santa Riverflows through the so-called Callejón de Huaylas. This alley 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 summit 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 lagoons, such as Llanganuco and Paron.
Pan-American highwaynorth 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 lots 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. [ [http://www.dreancash.gob.pe/ugel_santa.php] Peru Ministry of Education, "Reseña histórica." Retrieved on August 7, 2007.]
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, the
fishing fleets plants are paralyzed, and floodingrivers cause serious damage to the lands and cities. The cycles of these two sea currents that affect Peru are hard to predict. [ [http://www.imn.ac.cr/publicaciones/estudios/Nino_rev_bibliog.pdf] Villalobos, Roberto Flores and Alberto, José Retana, "El Niño: Una Revisión Bibliográfica." Retrieved on August 7, 2007.]
Further north along the Pan-American highway, numerous
islandsand isletsdot 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)
Blanca Island(White Island)
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:
La Gramita Beach
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, riceand cotton.
From south to north, the main rivers of the Ancash coast are the following:
* Santa River
Of these rivers, the only one with water year-round is the Santa River; its sources are the Cordillera Blanca's glaciers and lagoons. The other rivers, as with most rivers of the Peruvian coast, are intermittent, depending on the highland rains or the advance of El Niño.
The historical village of
Pativilca(department of Lima), where Simón Bolívar planned his Peruvian liberty expedition, is 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 " huaycos" ( avalanches) and the rains. The same problem affects most Peruvian roads, especially the ones in the mountains and rainforest. 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 begins to go down toward the Callejón de Huaylas. The trip Lima-Huaraz of 408 kilometres (254 mi) can be made in six hours by car. Modern buses take eight hours in 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 riverbed. At Huaricangatown, 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 of Chasquitamboand Chaucayán, with many bends and serpentines.
The White Mountain Range
mountain rangeis 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 Huaylasto the east. It has a length of 180 km. It has 35 peaks that are higher than 6000 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 quartzand feldsparrocks. It has the highest summit in Peruand the second one in America after Aconcagua: Huascarán, whose south peak reaches 6768 msnm. Huascarán's north peak reaches 6655 m. Alpamayo, which height has been estimated in 6120 m, has been considered as < >. This statement was achieved by the distinguished Peruvian mountaineer César Morales Arnao, who sent the photo of Alpamayoto the world contest of scenic beauty made in 1966in Münich ( Germany). North Huandoyreaches 6395 m, Huantsánreaches 6410 m, Chopicalquireaches 6354 m, North Copa reaches 6173 m, Artesonrajureaches 6025 m, South Santa Cruz reaches 6259 m and Hualcánreaches 6126 m.
The beauty of the
Cordillera Blancais largely determined by the Cordillera Negra, because this mountain rangesoften 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 Negrahas 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.
Huascarán National Park
Huascarán National Parkis 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 Blancaand seven peaks of more than 6000 m height. They constitute one of the main international focuses for climbersand mountaineers. It was stated as a National Parkon July 1, 1975with a surface of 340,000 ha and a length of 158 km. This National Parkincludes parts of the following provinces: Recuay, Huaraz, Carhuaz, Yungay, Huaylas, Pomabamba, Mariscal Luzuriaga, Huari, Corongo, Sihuas and Bolognesi. This park has also been stated as a Biosphere reservationand as a World Heritage Siteby the UNESCO.
The park territory is very uneven. It has snowy summits, which altitudes vary between 5000 and 6768 msnm. 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 Tuco peak in the south up to Champaráin the north.
climate, there are two very well defined seasons:
dry season, from Aprilto September, becoming worse between the months of Juneand August; and
wet season, from Octoberto May, which highest rainfallis between Januaryand March. Its florais countless and beautiful, including important groups of Puya Raimondi. In its fauna, there are brown brockets, tarucas, spectacled bears, vicuñas, pumas, foxes, vizcachas, weasels, andean mountain cats, opossums, hog-nosed skunks, etc. There is also a great number of birds, predominating ducks, american coots and hummingbirds.
Extreme Sports in the Callejón de Huaylas and the Huascarán National Park
Mountaineering: The glaciers of the Cordillera Blancaconstitute one of the most important world scenarios for ice climbing. Mountaineeringcan be practiced the whole year but it is better to do it during the months of Mayand September.
Trekking: The prehispanic paths offer excellent opportunities for trekkingduring the whole year. On the way, it can be observed varied flora, fauna, impressive snowy mountains, gullies and deep canyons, archaeological sitesand 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 starsand some constellations like Capricornus, Crux, Centaurusand others. This sport can be practiced at any time of the year.
Canoeing: The Santa riverhas the technical characteristics and different difficulty grades for practicing river sports as canoeing, kayakand others. For example, there are some rapidsbetween Anta and Carazthat are good for those who are just beginning to practice this sport. The lagoons of Llanganuco and Querococha 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.
Rock climbing: The granitebelt that goes round the glaciersof the Cordillera Blanca(White Mountain range) 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: Pastoruri, Copa, Hualcán, Huascaránand Vallunaraju. 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 trouts can be practiced in rivers and lagoons of the Cordillera Blancaand Cordillera Negraat any time of the year.
The Black Mountain Range
Casma- Huarazis 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(Black mountain range), 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, barleyand other food products. It can also be seen livestockand a lot of human activity.
The gullies of the
Cordillera Negra-that goes, simultaneously, with the Cordillera Blancathroughout 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(5020 m), Rocarre(5187 m), Cerro Rico (5015 m), and Chonta(4810 m).
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. Telloput it, "Chavín was the mother of all the cultures that later bloomed in the old Peru."Fact|date=August 2007 The name "Chavín" comes from the Quechua word "Chaupin", which translates as "center" or "headquarters". Tello believed that people came from the Amazonas, scaled the Andes, and developed the Chavín culture.
Incaage, the population of the Santa valley was assimilated into the Inca empire by Pachacuti.Fact|date=April 2007
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
Jeronimo de Alvaradofounded 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 Bolívarduring his campaign to liberate Peru.Fact|date=April 2007
1970 Ancash earthquakedevastated 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.
Ancash's geographical center, 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, the highest peak in the Peruvian Andes, 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
lagoons and thermal fountains.
Ancash is sometimes referred to as the "
Switzerlandof 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.Fact|date=April 2007
Among archaeological sites of interest, Ancash has many vestiges of old cultures, including the "Guitarrero Cave" (10,000 BC), the
pre-Columbianruins of "Chavín de Huántar". "Hunsakay", "Willkawain", "Sechín", and " Pañamarca" are also well-known.
There are a few tours in the Ancash Region that will let us know the main turistic and historical places inside this Region. Among the principal ones are:
Huaraz- Recuay - Catac - Pachacoto ravineand Pastoruri.
* Yungay - Llanganuco - Vaquería - Huaripampa - Santa Cruz and
Huaraz- Pitec - Quillcay and Juanca.
Huaraz- Olleros - Yanashallash - Chavin de Huantar- Querococha and Catac.
* Catac and Carpa.
Huaraz- Wilkawain and Llaca ravine.
There are five main highways that cross the region:
* The North Pan-American highway, that crosses the coast of Ancash longitudinally.
* Three east-west highways that connect the coast with the region of the highlands, most importantly the Callejón de Huaylas:
** Pativilca - Huallanca
** Casma - Huaraz
** Chimbote - Huallanca.
* One highway that crosses the
Callejón de Conchucos(Conchucos Alley) longitudinally, to the east of the Cordillera Blanca.
In addition, the region has a network of local roads.
The region is divided into 20
provinces ("provincias", singular: "provincia"), which comprise 166 districts ("distritos", singular: "distrito"). Its capital is Huaraz.
The provinces and their capitals are:
* [http://www.regionancash.com Ancash Region, Travel]
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