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Altitude: 2250m (7,382 ft) Population: 13,300 Phone Code: 43

Located in the foothills of the San Juan range in Ancash, the city of Caraz is also known as Caraz Dulzura, or Sweet Caraz. This is perhaps due to the popularity of the local crop sugar cane, as well as the community’s love of ice cream and pastries (most notably the milk-and-sugar confection, manjar blanco) manifested in its many pastry shops.

Unlike the other cities in the Ancash region, Caraz suffered little structural damage during the 8.0, 1970 earthquake that devastated so much of Peru. Thus it offers more neocolonial and 19th century architecture than Carhuaz does, and is free of the prevalent eyesore of the exposed skeletal construction of buildings abandoned in mid-repair that you find in Huaraz. Historically, Caraz served as the last outpost for Simón Bolívar and his regimen in the decisive battles at Ayacucho and Junín that saw the end of Spanish rule in South America.

With its year-round temperate climate, Caraz is a rich source of agricultural produce. Besides the aforementioned sugar, the area also produces rice, cotton, potatoes and corn. Additionally, Caraz raises cattle, llamas, alpaca, vicuñas and sheep; the latter three provide the wool used in the many colorful and folkloric ponchos, scarves and hats sold in the area.

Caraz’s main festival, the celebration of the Virgin of Chiquinquirá, takes place in January and features processions, costumes, dancing and even bull fighting, and, of course, a lot of drinking. Apart from the modest cultural charms of the city itself, the main attraction is the access it provides to breathtaking scenery and adventure.

From Caraz, tour guides will take you to the nearly 6,000 meters (19,685 ft) high Alpamayo, which has been referred to as the “most beautiful mountain in the world". Other natural wonders include the sparkling Laguna Parón and the Cañon del Pato (Duck Canyon), which is popular with mountain bikers. The nearby Río Santa attracts many eager kayakers, canoeing and rafting enthusiasts.


Other places nearby Caraz: Carhuaz, Chiquián, Yungay and Huaraz.

By Ricardo Segreda
Growing up in New York, Rick Segreda used to cut out of high school in order to hang out at the Museum of Modern Art and catch foreign-language...
15 May 2012

Things to do in Caraz

Laguna Parón

Laguna Parón sparkles deep with turquoise waters. The surrounding snow-capped peaks are reflected in the depths of the lagoon, making them feel even taller and more magnificent. At the end of the ...
Climbing, Hiking
Caraz, Peru


Approximately two kilometers (1.24 mi) north of Caraz are the Chavín ruins of Tumshukaiko. There is no fee or sign, and the ruins are only partially excavated. It takes the shape of a pyramid with ...
Caraz, Peru

Cañon Del Pato

Though the Cañon del Pato (literally the \"duck canyon\") doesn\'t actually feature any ducks, it does however offer a popular day trip for cyclists looking for thrills. North of Caraz, the ...
Caraz, Peru
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