The Cordillera Negra (also known as the ‘Black Mountains’ or ‘Black Range’) is a chain of rocky mountains located west of the Cordillera Blanca in the Ancash Region, Peru. Its summits are less than 5200m and lack glaciers, as there is very little winter snowfall. The name of the range comes from the comparison with the white snowy peaks of the Cordillera Blanca.
The Cordillera Negra’s highest summit is the mountain Coñocranra (5181m).
The second highest point of the Cordillera Negra is the Qarwapunta (or Carhuacocha) at 5070m.
The next highest peaks are The Rocarre (5187m), Cancahua (5102m), Rumicruz (5020m), Cerro Rico (5014m), and Huancapetí (4968m).
Cordillera Blanca (also known as the ‘White Range’) is one of the main tourist attractions in Peru; it appeals especially to those with interest in the practice of mountaineering and andinism. It is surprising that Cordillera Negra is not visited as much as Cordillera Blanca, as it also offers challenges to mountaineers, and the mountains are relatively close together. Perhaps this is because of the mountains lack of snow and poor tourist information.
Cordillera Negra has an important role to play in the area’s ecology as it blocks warm Pacific winds from hitting the Blanca’s glaciers and contributing to their thaw. It is also an important agricultural and mining spot for the local population.
In the Cordillera Negra, along with the mountains, they are other tourist attractions such as lagoons - such as Antacocha or Willcacocha. The first of these is about 3745 meters above sea level. Its name comes from two Quechua voices that give the Spanish translation of ‘grandson’s lagoon’. This lagoon or lake is important as it is one of the few water reservoirs in the Cordillera Negra, which preserves an important and beautiful variety of flora and fauna. This lagoon is also a beautiful natural viewpoint, from which you can take spectacular photographs of the Cordillera Blanca.
Some of the significant districts that are part of the Cordillera Negra are: Recuay, Huanchay, Coris, Aija, Pira, Shupluy, Cascapara, Yaután, Quillo, Pueblo Libre, Villa Sucre, Huaylas, Santo Toribio, Huata, Pamparomás and Jimbe.
Today, Cordillera Negra is sparsely inhabited by a mainly indigenous population growing wheat, maize and oats at an elevation of well above 4000m. The villages over here do not see a lot of tourists, and you will be interacting with indigenous people who, in many cases, live an untouched, traditional lifestyle. The Cordillera is rich in mineral resources like gold, silver and copper.
Climate: the best time is from May to September, where the sky is clear for most of the day, and the rainy season is from December to March.
From Lima you can take a bus to Huaraz or Caraz. Local transport is available in form of mini-buses (combi) or taxi.
Currently LCP operates flights from Lima to Huaraz. For details follow link in section below.