The Cordillera Blanca, or white range, so called because of its perennial ice-capped peaks, has the greatest number of summits over 19,700 ft (6,000m) outside the Himalayas. These include Peru's bigbest mountain, Huascaran (22,205 ft/6,768 m), and Alpamayo (19,511 ft/5947 m), and mountains in the world,thanks to its near-perfect pyramid of ice.
This 112 -mile (180-km) range in the heart of the tropical Andes is a breathtaking area of dramatic views,towering peaks, precipitous gorges, sparkling lakes, and abundant wildlife.The range runs parallel to the cordillera negra,forming the callejon de Huaylas, a lush agricultural valley dotted with small villages, known for their arts and crafts, where ancient andean ways of life persist. Villages such as chacas are renowned for their woodcarving and carpentry. The valley is also home to relaxing natural thermal baths in Monterrey and chancos, and a number of fascinating inca and pre-inca ruins, including the 3,000 years-old archaeological site at chavin de Huantar, a major ceremonial center of the chavin people.
Huaraz, capital of the Ancash region, is one of the most important trekking and climbing centers in Peru. Led by local guides,mulesupported treks into the Huascaran National park are some of the most spectacular that the continent has to offer, with high-altitude camping over vertiginous passes and fantastic views of the surrounding snowy peaks. The dazzing turquoise lakes, such as patron and Llanganuco,are the region. The glacial silt collected in these lakes creates a vibrant color that glows in the bright Andean sun.
The region is home to the some unusual flora, such as puya raimondii, a gigantic bromeliad, which takes up to a century to reach its full height, and forets of polylepsis trees, a member of the rose family that flourishes at this altitude. While trekking through the range, visitors may also spot the Andean condor, and the camelid vicuña.