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Yungay & Caraz, Peru - Destroyed By The Great Peruvian Earthquake 1970

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - August 2011   » View Photoset (47 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!

Caraz - Known For Cakes

I had spent the previous 2 and a half days traveling over some very rugged terrains from Huamachuco in the north to get to Caraz. I was tired and ready
Peru Photo - Remains of the cathedral at Campo Santo, Yungay.
Remains of the cathedral at Campo Santo, Yungay.
to spend a couple of days taking it easy. I found a nice little hotel just half a block from the Plaza de Armas, it's a beautiful plaza and park with a fountain, gardens and tall trees. The cathedral Catedral de Piedra San Idelfonso stands on one side. Caraz is famous for its cakes, there are many bakeries around town selling all kinds of yummy cakes with cream and fruit, mmmmm. Caraz has a nice feel about it, it's not too big and the locals are friendly and helpful. The central market is close to the plaza, 2 blocks up Calle Sucre, turn right and walk 2 blocks along Calle La Mar. A few blocks west of the plaza I found a park with a monument to General Jose de San Martin (1778-1850) - the 1st President of Peru, the park has some nice views of the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Blanca.

Caraz and Around

Caraz itself is at an altitude of 2256m, it is in my opinion the nicest town between Caraz,
Peru Photo - View of the snowy mountains between Carhuaz and Marcara near Huaraz.
View of the snowy mountains between Carhuaz and Marcara near Huaraz.
Yungay and Huaraz. 32kms from Caraz is Laguna Paron at 4185m with its turquoise waters. 22kms from the city are the rock formations of Canyon del Pato. 1km from the city are the pre-Inca ruins of Tumshukayko. The forest of Puya Raimondi, a place with large flowers and hummingbirds is 48kms from Caraz. Between Caraz and Yungay there is a lookout point called Catucancha, you can see amazing views of the sun reflecting rainbow colors onto the snow at sunset. It only takes 15mins in a shared combi-van to get from Caraz to Yungay, which is where I headed to next.

Yungay and Campo Santo

The transport terminal in Yungay is
Peru Photo - Farmland and houses between Yungay and Huaraz.
Farmland and houses between Yungay and Huaraz.
located on the street down from the towns busy markets. After arriving I walked up the hill through this area to the top of the plaza, turned right and found a comfortable budget hotel for the night. It was around midday, time for a walk around town and to find something to eat. Walking through the plaza - it's nice but not as pretty as in Caraz, the church is nothing special either. I found a small restaurant and had a couple of bowls of soup for just a few dollars. There was still some activity going on in the markets but the busiest part of the day was over.

The Earthquake of 1970

Yungay is well-known as the town that got destroyed on May 31, 1970 in the Ancash earthquake, most of its 25,000 residents were wiped out. Old Yungay is known of as Campo Santo and has been left unexcavated as a huge cemetery, it is 1.5kms up the road from the new town of Yungay. I took a mototaxi from Yungay to the entrance of Campo
Peru Photo - View of the huge cemetery of Campo Santo in Yungay.
View of the huge cemetery of Campo Santo in Yungay.
Santo, it's 2 Soles (70 cents) for entry. This is a very peaceful and special place, the grass pathways leading around beautiful flower gardens, tall trees scattered amongst boulders, shrines and debris. The remains of the cathedral lay next to the Plaza de Armas, a replica of the cathedral stands at the end of a grass pathway, it is just 1 face and is door and window-less. On the other side of the plaza is the destroyed remains of a bus - the Omnibus Expreso Ancash. Between the plaza and the hill is a huge cup which is painted with traditional designs and figures, it's called Kero Tradicional. From all around Campo Santo you can see the big white Jesus statue and cemetery. I climbed the stairs to the top. I turned around and faced the old city
Peru Photo - Yungay plaza looking up towards the dome-shaped church.
Yungay plaza looking up towards the dome-shaped church.
and mountains, I tried to imagine how it might have once looked before the mountains behind came tumbling down. That was a special moment, it is hard to fathom how a city can be there one minute and gone the next. That was an enjoyable morning spent at Campo Santo.

Combi-Van to Huaraz

After getting a ride back to the new town and some lunch, it was time to travel on to Huaraz. It's a quick 1hr ride in a combi-van to Huaraz from Yungay and costs 5 Soles ($1.75USD). Along the way I saw a few interesting things in some of the small towns like in Ranrahirca, which has a beautiful plaza with dozens of tall thin palms and a nice church on one side. Other places I passed through before arriving in Huaraz were Tingua, Carhuaz, Marcara, Yungar and Tarica.

     

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Distances & times (if available) from Yungay & Caraz (Peru) to:


Map location: Yungay & Caraz, Peru. 2 beautiful places! Yungay is well-known as the town that got destroyed on May 31, 1970 in the Ancash earthquake! Old Yungay is known of as Campo Santo and has been left unexcavated as a huge cemetery, it is 1.5kms up the road from the new town of Yungay, go visit!
 A : Huaraz - Peru 55 kms 55 kms straight distance | 1hr 44mins 1hr 44mins by car (71 kms) | 2hrs 4mins 2hrs 4mins by bus (71 kms) (71 kms)
 B : Huamachuco to Caraz - Peru 94 kms 94 kms straight distance | 4hrs 2mins 4hrs 2mins by car (191 kms) | 4hrs 50mins 4hrs 50mins by bus (191 kms) (191 kms)
 C : Chimbote - Peru 88 kms 88 kms straight distance | 3hrs 48mins 3hrs 48mins by car (196 kms) | 4hrs 33mins 4hrs 33mins by bus (196 kms) (196 kms)
 D : Huanchaco / Trujillo - Peru 174 kms 174 kms straight distance | 4hrs 54mins 4hrs 54mins by car (255 kms) | 5hrs 52mins 5hrs 52mins by bus (255 kms) (255 kms)
 E : Huanuco - Peru 182 kms 182 kms straight distance | 7hrs 58mins 7hrs 58mins by car (330 kms) | 9hrs 33mins 9hrs 33mins by bus (330 kms) (330 kms)
 F : Huamachuco - Peru 142 kms 142 kms straight distance | 7hrs 4mins 7hrs 4mins by car (349 kms) | 8hrs 28mins 8hrs 28mins by bus (349 kms) (349 kms)
 G : Cajabamba - Peru 164 kms 164 kms straight distance | 8hrs 40mins 8hrs 40mins by car (388 kms) | 10hrs 24mins 10hrs 24mins by bus (388 kms) (388 kms)
 H : Tingo Maria - Peru 196 kms 196 kms straight distance | 11hrs 13mins 11hrs 13mins by car (458 kms) | 13hrs 27mins 13hrs 27mins by bus (458 kms) (458 kms)
 I : Lima - Peru 340 kms 340 kms straight distance | 8hrs 4mins 8hrs 4mins by car (472 kms) | 9hrs 40mins 9hrs 40mins by bus (472 kms) (472 kms)
 J : Cajamarca - Peru 228 kms 228 kms straight distance | 9hrs 28mins 9hrs 28mins by car (508 kms) | 11hrs 21mins 11hrs 21mins by bus (508 kms) (508 kms)
 K : Leymebamba to Celendin - Peru 249 kms 249 kms straight distance | 12hrs 52mins 12hrs 52mins by car (658 kms) | 15hrs 26mins 15hrs 26mins by bus (658 kms) (658 kms)
 L : Tarapoto & Lamas - Peru 326 kms 326 kms straight distance | 14hrs 31mins 14hrs 31mins by car (705 kms) | 17hrs 25mins 17hrs 25mins by bus (705 kms) (705 kms)
 M : Chachapoyas - Peru 318 kms 318 kms straight distance | 15hrs 12mins 15hrs 12mins by car (891 kms) | 18hrs 14mins 18hrs 14mins by bus (891 kms) (891 kms)
 N : Pucallpa to Tingo Maria - Peru 271 kms 271 kms straight distance
 O : Tingo Maria to Tarapoto - Peru 149 kms 149 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Yungay & Caraz, Peru:

Hostal Sol de Oro, Yungay, Peru - Large Photo
Hostal Sol de Oro, Yungay, Peru (August 2011 - 1 night) - Comfortable room with private bathroom and tv. Located up the road from the plaza. Great for a night or 2. Recommended.
Hotel San Marco, Caraz, Peru - Large Photo
Hotel San Marco, Caraz, Peru (August 2011 - 2 nights) - A nice little room with a courtyard area outside. The shared bathrooms were clean and quite nice. Located just half a block down from the main plaza. The staff were friendly and the place is secure. Recommended.

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Yungay & Caraz, Peru - Destroyed By The Great Peruvian Earthquake 1970. 2 beautiful places! Yungay is well-known as the town that got destroyed on May 31, 1970 in the Ancash earthquake! Old Yungay is known of as Campo Santo and has been left unexcavated as a huge cemetery, it is 1.5kms up the road from the new town of Yungay, go visit!

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