Callejón de Huaylas

The Santa Valley (Quechua Sancta) is an inter-andean valley in the Ancash Region in the north-central highlands of Peru. Due to its location between two mountain ranges, it is known as Callejón de Huaylas, the Alley of Huaylas, whereas «Huaylas» refers to the territorial division’s name during the Viceroyalty of Peru.

Going north from Lima, the road climbs to an altitude of 3,945 m, where the lake Conococha marks the head of the valley. This lake is the main source of Santa River. From here the road descends into the Callejón de Huaylas, demarcated by the Cordillera Blanca («white range») to the east and the Cordillera Negra («black range») to the west. To the south rise the summits of the Huayhuash mountain range.

Huaraz, the capital of Ancash, is the largest city in the Callejón, located at 3,000 m above sea level. In the valley north of Huaraz there are the towns Carhuaz, Yungay (the site of a major earthquake and landslide in 1970 that buried the town and killed over 20,000 people) and Caraz which is considered the last city in the valley.

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