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Down the Cordillera Negra to Huaraz

The Cordillera Negra (Black Mountain Range) is the name of the mountains that lie between Huaraz and the desert on the Pacific coast. The mountains (some over 5000 meters) have no snow on them and are dry most of the year. There are great views over Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca behind.

There are many agents organizing great bike trips in Huaraz. If you want to try it yourself: at the Stadium close to bridge over the Rio Santa you will often find combis or trucks ready to take you up to Callan Punta (4225 m), the highest point on the road over the Cordillera Negra from Huaraz to coastal Casma.
You can either walk or bike down to Huaraz from there. There is old trail going down from the top that will take you down in about 4 hours on foot.

We decided to go only down by bike. We did not start at Callan Punta but took a truck up only until the kilometer post 15 for 5 sol (1.5 dollar) per person with bike (20 minutes).
The Cordillera Negra gets a lot less tourists than the Cordillera Blanca. Be aware of dogs that may follow you barking!

To make a good shot of Huaraz it is recommended to get up around 2 when the shade of the Cordillera Blanca is not over town yet.
You can make your trip as exciting as you wish by going down some steep trails or just follow the same winding unpaved road you came up.

Make sure your tires are in good shape as there are many pointed stones on the road. Also don't forget to put on some sun block as the sun is brutal at this altitude.
Bikes can be rented and tours organized in many places in Huaraz now. Just ask around near you. Prices depend on the quality and you should get a discount when renting it only half a day. (K.K.)

Images & text (c)2003 , Kris Kristinsson, All Rights Reserved
Huaraz from the Cordillera Negra. Our truck to go up. Drying adobe in the Cordillera Negra. Our truck to go up. Larissa going down the Cordillera Negra. Our bikes on a truck. Drying adobe in the Cordillera Negra. Larissa going down the Cordillera Negra. Larissa going down the Cordillera Negra. Holding on to the truck View Huaraz (about km 11) Casa with a view. Protected against the strong sun. Casa with a view. Cordillera Negra Casa with a view. Larissa overlooking Huaraz. Larissa overlooking Huaraz.