About Ancash region

Ancash is a department of Peru situated in the north central section of the country.  At its west border lies the Pacific Ocean, the north the department of La Libertad, the east with Huánuco and the south with Lima. Ancash has a total surface area of 36 mil km² that has coast as well as Andean communities   The population of Ancash is approximately 1 million people and its capital, Huaraz, has around 125,000 habitants..


The history of Ancash is linked to ancient cultures of old Peru, from the traditions of the archaic to the Caral-Supe, Chavin and Huari.  Culturally, there are diverse traditions here, especially in the folklore, food and town parties.  The predominant economic activities in Ancash are agriculture, fishing mining and tourism.  In 2008, Ancash received 1.8 million visitors.  Ancash is made up of twenty provinces; the capital is Huaraz and Chimbote is its most populous city.


Founding of Ancash:  The department was created on the 12 of February in 1821, with Huaylas as its original name.  On February 28, 1839, its name was changed to Ancash.


Political Division:  20 Provinces and 161 districts

Capital: Huaraz

Important cities: Recuay, Chimbote, Yungay, Caraz


The climate of Ancash varies between the coast and mountains.  The coast is humid, with rains that increase with the altitude.  These rains are increased with the el Nino Phenomenon, which occurs every five to ten years.  In the Andes, the temperature and rain is also dependent on the altitude.  Generally, it is warm and  dry in the western part of the Andes, cold and dry in the center, and more warm and humid on the eastern side.  All parts of the mountains experience a rainy season, which stretches from January to March.  The temperature variations between day and night and sun and shade increase with altitude.  The closer to the coast you get, the hotter it will be.  Conversely, the higher in the mountains you are, the colder it will become.  Rain falls until 4,000 meters, and then takes form as snow or ice.

Andes Camping Expeditions huascaran-mountain-26
Andes Camping Expeditions Lake-69-Pisco-base-camp-trek-trekking-29


In a region of natural treasures there is unfortunately also problems with pollution and contamination of rivers and the soil, which endangers the livelihood of the local population and the ecosystems.

In the region of Huaylas, many rivers have been polluted due to the mines that are situated high in the mountains.  Similarly, in the coast, the oceans have been pollute by mines and factories.


The land of Ancash is very hilly as you leave the coast, and the mountains are made up of high plateaus, valleys and plateaus of the mountains.  The abrupt and dramatic slopes of the mountains have created steep canyons and inclines.  The Santa River has created the principal valley of Ancash, Huaylas, which is constantly getting wider du to the movement of the river.  This Callejon de Huyalas””  is situated between the Black and White mountain ranges, and is where most of the people in the region live.  The other principal inhabited valleys in Ancash are named Conchucos, Puscha (Huari, Raimondi y Bolognesi), Yanamayo (Asunción, Fitzcarrald, Pomabamba and Luzuriaga) and Rúpac (Sihuas y Corongo).

Andes Camping Expeditions Llanganuco-Santa-Cruz-trekking-48
Andes Camping Expeditions urus-mountain-expeditions-40


This is the most tropical and beautiful mountain range in the world.  Its extends for more than 180 kilometres between Conococha lake and the northern town of Huallanca.  Ancash has glaciers, which cover a total of 720 km2, and 27 mountains that are higher than 6,000 meters.  The biggest of these is Huascaran, which is 6768 meters high.  More than 100 mountains in this region are taller than 5000 meters, with Alpamayo at 5947, being the tallest and most beautiful.  Alpamayo was voted the most beautiful mountain in the world by the mountaineering society in Germany in 1996.  The north summit of Huascaran was first climbed by a group of Austrians and Germans in 1932, (Kinzl, Bernard, Borchers, Hein, Hoerlin y Schnaider)  The southern summit, which is higher, was reached on August 4th, 1953 by the Apolonio, Pedro y Guido Yanac, Fortunato y Felipe Mautino y Macario Ángeles brothers.  Huascaran is prone to avalanches and landslides, and has periodically destroyed the towns of Yungay and Ranrahirca.


Just to the west of the white mountain range and the Santa river lies the black mountain range.  It is named this because of its lack of snow and the volcanic rocks that make up its composition.  Its principal peaks are the following: Rocarre (5 187 m), Cancahua (5 102 m), Rumicruz (5 020 m), Cerro Rico (5 014 m) y Huancapeti (4 968 m).  The black mountain range has many summits below 5000 meters that are devoid of glacier and snow.  From the black mountain range, there are panomramic views of the white mountain range, whose most impressive peaks are: Huascaran (6 768 m), Huascaran Sur (6 655 m), Huandoy (6 395 m), Chopilcalqui (6 354 m) Siulá Grande (6 344 m), Santa Cruz (6 259 m), Sarapo (6 127 m), Hualcán (6 122 m), Chacraraju (6 112 m), Jirishanca (6 094 m), Pucahirca (6 046 m), Alpamayo (5 957 m) and Pastoruri (5 240 m).

Andes Camping Expeditions cordillera-negra
Andes Camping Expeditions huayhuash-trekking-393


To the south of Huaraz, straddling the departments of Ancash, Huanuco and Lima, lays the spectacular Huayhuash mountain range.  Although it only extends for 30 kilometres, some of the most beautiful peaks, such as, Yerupajá, Jirishanca, Siulá, Carnicero y Trapecio, and dozens of lakes like Carhuacocha, Jahuacocha y Mitucocha, are contained within this range.  Huayhuash is more like the Himalayas than the mountains around Huaraz, with six peaks that are higher than 6,000 meters.  Huayhuash is accessed by Chiqiuian, a city located two hours by paved road to the south of Huaraz.  This is the best place to trek, climb and see mountains.


This canyon is an impressive geographic accident produced by the running waters of the Santa river as it flows to the coast.  A road to the coast has been carved through this canyon, and is an impressive construction feat best appreciated by bike or bus.  There are more than 35 tunnels in a short stretch from Caraz to the coast of Ancash.  In addition, this part of the Santa provides hydro electrical power to a large part of the population.

Andes Camping Expeditions cañon-del-pato
Andes Camping Expeditions huayhuash-trekking-367


The most important valleys of the mountains of Ancash are those formed by the rivers of Santa and the Marañón, which respectively flow into the Atlantic and Pacific ocean.  Santa starts in the Conococha lake, and is the longest river in the coast.  Its most important tributary is the Tablachaca. The rivers Huarmey, Casma, Fortaleza, Culebras and Nepeña irrigate valleys that share the name with the rivers.  The Marañón forms the eastern border with the department of La Libertad, and its tributaries are the Mosna and Jaramayo.


In and around the white mountain range, there are more than 600 glacier lakes.  Of these 600, 192 flow into the rivers Santa and Maranon.  Few of these lakes are easily accessible by car, and all are very important for the surrounding communities.
Paron is located 100 kilometres to the north of Huaraz, and 32 kilometres north of Caraz.  This beautiful lake is situated at 4,2000 meters, and is actually being slowly drained by the surrounding communities due to the fact that it poses a risk during earthquakes.  Paron used to be the largest lake of the White Mountain Range, but is still impressive and offers views of  Pirámide de Garcilaso, Huandoy North, and Pisco, Chacraraju y Paria. Currently, access to this lake is restricted, but permission is sometime granted to climbers and tourists.

Andes Camping Expeditions LAGUNA-PARON
Andes Camping Expeditions Llanganuco-Santa-Cruz-trekking-59


In and around the white mountain range, there are more than 600 glacier lakes.  Of these 600, 192 flow into the rivers Santa and Maranon.  Few of these lakes are easily accessible by car, and all are very important for the surrounding communities.
At 82 kilometres outside of Huaraz, you can arrive to Llanganuco by a road that goes up from Yungay.  Llanganuco, which sits at 3,860 meters, is actually comprised of two lakes, named Chinacocha and Orcococha, which respectively mean female and male lakes in Quechua.  On the banks of the river, there are forest of the native quenal tree, which is characterized by it flaky bark.  There are also spectacular views of the peaks Chopicalqui, Huascaran, Huandoy, Pisco, Chacraraju y Yanapaccha.


In and around the white mountain range, there are more than 600 glacier lakes.  Of these 600, 192 flow into the rivers Santa and Maranon.  Few of these lakes are easily accessible by car, and all are very important for the surrounding communities.
Only 27 kilometres from Huaraz, there is easy road access right up to the beautiful lake.  On the trip up, a stop can be made to see the ruins of Wilcahuain, which belong to the Huari culture.  From Llaca, there are great views of Ocshapalca and Ranrapalca.

Andes Camping Expeditions laguna-llaca
Andes Camping Expeditions chimbote


The coast of Ancash is made up of the provinces of Santa, Casma y Huarmey, and has a total are of 10 174,44 km2 with altitudes of up to 1000 meters.   IN the province of Santa, you will find the port city of Chimbote, the biggest in the country, where the most important fishing industry of the country is in Chimbote, there are also big factories of oil, flour, and fish products.  The coastal provinces of Ancash share environmental and cultural characteristics; and most people can live off the land and what they produce.  The rivers of Santa, Lacramarca and Nepeña, crisscross the region and form their own valleys. The soil is arable, with 3 514 cultivable acres in Casma, 14 089 in Huarmey and 28 165 in Santa. Currently, there is a large irrigation project titled, “Proyecto de Irrigación Chimbote-Nepeña-Casma (Chinecas),” which has a  goal of incorporating more than 23,000 acres of desert land in an irrigation system.  On the coast, there are a number of islands, such as Blanca, Santa A, Santa B, Islote Santa, La Viuda, Ferrol, Tortuga, Isla A, Isla B, Peñas Blancas, Cornejo, Patillos, Grita Lobos, Erizo, Manache and Corcovado.