Huaraz is the capital city of the Ancash Depertment. Huaraz is located in north central Peru, north of Lima, and sits at an altitude of
10,013 feet. It has the highest population in Callejón de Huaylas valley. The Callejón, roughly translated to mean large valley, is a north-south valley to the west of the Cordillera Blanca and east of the Cordillera Negra, both of which are part of Peru’s Andes Mountains.
The history of Huaraz includes Francisco Pizarro who in 1538 granted the right to collect taxes in the area within what is now known as Huaraz to his underling Sebastián de Torres. Right away the Spaniards began exploiting the mineral wealth of the region. It was discovered that the area of Huaraz was rich in deposits of metal ores such as silver, lead, and tin, among others.
When one first arrives in Huaraz, the first thing that is noticed is that it is not necessarily a beautiful town. One will discover that the majority of the buildings are made from concrete. History shows that a very powerful earthquake was responsible for wiping out over half of the population and literally flattening all but one street of buildings.
The city sits at the foot of Cordillera Blanca, providing a spectacular view of over 20 snow capped peaks of the mountain range. The most common reason tourists come to Huaraz, Peru is to go trekking, or hiking. Tour guides provide one with ample opportunity to see the two mountain ranges found on either side of Huaraz as well as short day trips to see other historic areas as well as many lakes and streams that twist through the area.
Because of the area's earthquake history, it is important to remember that the historic sites that have been preserved there are very important to the native people. Day tours are available to visit the sites as well as see the beautiful mountains. Longer trips are available to those wishing to climb the mountain ranges and get a better view of native plants and other features of the area. The majority of the tourism that comes through Huaraz, Peru is on three day, five day or seven day treks winding through the mountain ranges.
If flying to Huaraz, you will be arriving at Comandante FAP German Arias Graziani Airport which is located in the village of Anta and 14 miles north of Huaraz. Since the airport is a domestic airport, most likely you will be transferring form Lima’s Jorge Chavez International Airport.