Monday, 8 December 2014

Take a Break from the City

Peruvian Pelicans
Lima (Pantanos de Villa)
(including extracts from my diary for the day - 10 June 2014) Trip organised and guided by Gunnar of Kolibri Expeditions

Just after 7am we headed off from the backpackers I was staying at in Miraflores area, to Pantanos de Villa, stopping along the way at a spot along the malacon where the most obvious birds were the pelicans and gulls. The Peruvian Pelicans were very clearly not bothered about the proximity of humans, not that the gulls and terns were! Very excitedly Gunnar points out a Peruvian Seaside Cinclodes, and then move over to get a better look at the different age Belcher’s and Grey Gulls. I went on high alert when an Inca Tern was pointed out, a bird I’ve been gagging to see for a very long time now. Trying to get a shot of one flying, Gunnar points one out perched a few metres away from us. This is just such a stunning looking bird! Luckily it was obliging and I managed to get some good shots.
Inca Tern
**Pantanos de Villa
Off we went again to Pantanos de Villa, a 263 hectare protected area with wetlands and along the beach in the district of Churrillos - south out of  main Lima. A brief stop on the way at a service station got me some food - my first empanada and a large baguette-like roll with cold meats and cheese. Seriously delicious, or maybe just starving too, I was now ready for some serious birding!
Horses exercising on the beach at Pantanos de Villa
(not a disturbance generally when birding)
The next few hours was a flurry of birds, all bar one or two, brand new species for me! On the water /dams and in adjacent reeds were Grey, Franklin’s, Grey-hooded, and Belcher’s Gulls, a couple of Puno Ibis, Neotropic Cormorants, Little Blue Heron, Great White Heron, Moorhens (Common Gallinule) and Cinnamon Teals. A couple of Pied-billed Grebes were around with some Snowy Egret around the edges.

The beach-side had a lot of American Oystercatchers, Black Skimmers (100+) and the odd Elegant Tern. Flying over and along the huge shore-break, were Peruvian Boobies, Peruvian Pelicans, Kelp Gulls with guest appearances by Red-legged and Guanay Cormorants

Part of the Black Skimmer flock

Wandering back past the reeds and toward the more open grassy areas and wader territory, we got Black-crowned Night Herons, Plumbeous Rail (looks like a Black Crake in Africa) and then also Wren-like Rushbird (after me asking what the warbler in the reeds was!) and a Grassland Yellow Finch. The large distinct outline of a raptor turned out to be a Turkey Vulture also making it’s way up and down the “avenues” between the reeds hunting. 

Black-necked Stilts
The wader area was great with a lot of Black-necked Stilts, Western Cattle Egrets, Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs, Whimbrel and quite a few Killdeer. The star of this area, Wilson’s Phalarope, was spotted by Angelina. We spent some good time here looking what we could find and started making our way back to the road whilst getting great views of Chestnut-throated Seedeater, Striated Heron and a Vermillion Flycatcher. Close to the road I spotted a little owl on some piles of sand; turns out to be a Burrowing Owl - I was well chuffed with my little contribution to the day’s birding! 
Burrowing Owl sighting
Vermillion Flycatcher

We stopped briefly at the reserve ‘office’ to pay our entry, the very reasonable price of S/-8 per person. Driving back we stopped next tot the road to check out some more waterfowl and found Andean Coot, Great & White-tufted Grebes, Andean Duck and White-cheeked Pintail
A good day’s birding with the majority being new species for me - I was loving being on a new continent again!

**evening in Miraflores

After buying  some roasted chicken and empinada at the nearby supermarket, I worked through my photos of the day but was soon nodding off. So I relented and ended my great day out of the city and went to sleep.


Beach with a Twitch

Stretch of beach south of the point
(Punta Negra)
South of Lima, Peru you’ll find some holiday communities spread out along miles and miles of lovely beaches, interspersed only with large rock outcrops and points. Although some beaches are a higher risk for swimmers, it’s extremely tranquil albeit if out of season. I visited this area during mid-October 2014, in particular the beaches of Punta Negra. During this visit I got the opportunity to see this area  from San Bartolo (further south - some gardens here where we found Amazilia Hummingbird) to Punta Negra from the air during a flight with an ultra-light. This gave me an even better view of how expansive the beaches really are, over and above finding where 100’s of Peruvian Pelicans and Grey Gulls roost - at times probably well over a 1,000 birds.
Day roost: Peruvian Pelicans in the foreground &
Grey Gulls further back.

Without much difficulty it’s possible to pick up around 25-30 species of birds in a day including the town “locals” like Long-tailed Mockingbird, West Peruvian Dove, House Sparrow (the default sparrow here) and then the ever present Scrub Blackbirds. Not overly common here, the Vermillion Flycatcher also showed itself a couple of times. The beaches teem with birdlife though; seeing Grey Gulls relaxing on a remote part of beach in their 100’s is not uncommon.
Gulls and terns at the southern beach of Punta Negra.
They are usually joined by Belcher’s Gulls and the odd tern like Royal and/or Elegant Terns.  Whilst there are many Inca Terns, (probably one of the most beautiful terns!), the more uncommon Peruvian Tern also graced us with its presence for a few minutes the one day, just enough to get a record shot to confirm for ID. 
Elegant Terns in flight over beach; some Grey Gulls in the background.
Photogranic Grey Gulls
The beaches north of Punta Negra town stretch out far and this where early morning I found some large groups of waders dominated by Black-bellied Plovers and Ruddy Turnstones. Between them there might be some Sanderlings on occasion with the lonely Whimbrel passing by. One morning though there were about 6 Whimbrel on this stretch. Along here is where the Red-legged  and Neotropical Cormorants seem to prefer fishing with Peruvian Boobies and Pelicans flying and in the water further offshore. One day we had a massive continuous flock of Guaynay Cormorants flying south very low above the water - at times it was almost like clouds of birds as they came around the point north of Punta Negra.
Blackish Oystercatcher

The large point at Punta Negra is where the Peruvian Boobies, Neotropical and Red-legged Cormorants have their roost. My friend showed me that contrary to what some sources may say about Red-legged Cormorants being solitary, here it’s possible to find them roosting in groups of 10 or more. The American Oystercatchers are very common here with fair numbers of Blackish Oystercatchers at times but don’t seem to reach the numbers of the American species. Keep a lookout for the Peruvian Surf Cinclodes which will very likely be hopping around on some beachside rocks.

American Oystercatcher

All in all some good birding to be had along the beach and in the area plus then if you prefer, some relaxing time along deserted beaches and catching some sun if you’re so inclined. Sunset is a must along this beach with breath-taking colours as the birds settle in for their roost.

For more photos from Punta Negra, view my album on Flickr here.

Sunset over the rocks at Punta Negra


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How far does your Dollar go?

One of the cool 'Moto' taxis in Huaraz
Travelling around Peru can be a big expense due to long distances as well bus and taxi prices. Short trips will generally be more expensive than the longer (sometimes even much longer and further) journeys. I always keep track of what I’m paying for my transport and then also, note when I depart and arrive. Those of you who’ve met me will know I am always carrying a little notebook with me where these things get noted.

Keep in mind these prices are from June to October 2014 and only for the bus companies and taxis I travelled with; where I got various quotes I’ll give them as well. Very important to remember is that on and around public holidays all the bus ticket prices go up, as much as $2.00 per ticket on the budget companies. 

As for exchange rate for the purposes of this post, I’m working on the average during the June - October 2014 period which was Soles (S/) 2.80 for USD ($) 1.00. 
Early morning on the road between Huaraz and Yungay. Peru's highest mountain "Huascaran" on the the right.

Starting with Lima: arrival/departure point; 
Airport (Lima) > Miraflores (Lima) (June 2014) S/ 50 with taxi.  (1- 11/2  hours)
  > Booked online through Hitchhikers Hostel Lima in Miraflores where I was staying.

Lima > Huaraz (June 2014) S/ 50 with Oltursa.
  > Oltursa is one of the top bus companies with Cruz del Sur, and consequently more expensive.
Punta Negra and one its beaches - south of Lima

Huaraz > Lima (Oct 2014) S/ 40 - 45 with Movil Tours  (7 hours)
  > Booked two days prior in Huaraz and paid only S/ 40 instead of the normal S/ 45. No idea if this ‘discount’ is normal for early bookings.
  > From the central market paid S/ 4 for a taxi to take me to the Movil Tours depot (15 min)

Punta Negra (south of Lima) > Lima S/ 5 with Transani bus  (30 minutes)
  > hop on along the Pan-American Highway

Lima > Tacna (Oct 2014) S/ 100 with CIVA  (quote only)

Lima > Piura (Oct 2014) S/ 60 with CIVA  (quote only)
  > Note: this Not the company Cifa which I tried to avoid using due to many bad reviews especially relating to the lack of security and people’s belongings being stolen (things stolen from All passengers)
"Collectivo" minivan and "moto" taxi - Huaraz

Piura > Mancora (Oct 2014) S/ 35 with CIVA (quote only)

Lima > Mancora (Oct 2014) S/ 60 with CIVA  (quote only)
  > Perfect example of how going further on a continuous journey is cheaper; Tumbes is 21/2 hours further and the ticket is the same price as this (see next).

Lima > Tumbes (Oct 2014) S/ 60 with CIVA  (22 hours)  Departs Lima at 1pm.

Tumbes > Trujillo (July 2014) S/ 40 with El Sol bus  (22 hours)  

Tumbes > Guayagil (Ecuador) (Oct 2014) S/ 50 with CIVA  (… hours)  
  > Departs Tumbes at 1am although having said that, the bus only pulled in at the Tumbes depot at 2:30am. I was sleeping at the depot - security guard lets you in when you show the ticket.

Chimbote: arrival/departure point;
Chimbote > Huaraz (July 2014) S/ 30 with Yungay Express  (3-4 hours)  
  > This ticket was S/ 5 more than usual due to National Holiday

Chimbote < > Huaraz (Aug 2014) S/ 25 with Yungay Express  (3-4 hours) 
  > S/ 25 with Alas Peruanas (quote only)

Santa Rosa > Chimbote (Aug 2014) S/ 35 with collectivo car  (2-3 hours)
  -  Collectivo zone/area > Chimbote Terminal Terrestre S/ 8 with yellow taxis (20 min)

Cabana > Chimbote (July 2014) S/ 25 with Alas Peruanas  (7 hours)  
One of the buses between Cabana & Chimbote

Trujillo > Chimbote (July 2014) S/ 10 with America Express  (2 hours)
  > from the El Sol bus depot to that of America Express I paid S/ 6 for a moto taxi (10min).

Huaraz: arrival/departure point;
Huaraz > Huaraz minibus/taxi terminal (July 2014)     S/ 1.50 with moto  (15 min) 

Huaraz > Caraz (July 2014) S/ 6 with minibus collectivo  See my post on this trip Here
  > charged extra S/ 6 on top of normal price for my large backpack as the vehicle had no roofrack. (…hours)
  - Caraz minibus/taxi terminal > Caraz collectivos   (July 2014)   S/ 2 with moto (10min) 
  - Caraz > Huallanca (July 2014) S/ 7 with collectivo through Cañon de Pato (90 min) 
  - Huallanca > Yuracmarca (July 2014) S/ 5 with minibus collectivo after a very long wait in Huallanca (20 min)
  - Yuracmarca > Huarochiri (July 2014) S/ 7 with minibus collectivo  (30 min)
      > This is a small roadside shop and stalls only although they had no problem with me camping behind the building. I met some truckers here so wasn’t really totally alone, some vigilance overnight might be in order although probably better to avoid having to stop here very late afternoon as there will be no transport till the next morning.
Yuracmarca - this is pretty much most of the village.
(very friendly people!)
  - Huarochiri > Chuquicara (July 2014) S/ 5 with local bus company  (55 min)
  > Here I just took the next bus that went to Chuquicara first thing in the morning.
  - Chuquicara > Cabana (July 2014) S/ 20 with Alas Peruanas bus  (2 hours)
  > This was quite expensive as a roadside pickup as the bus from Chimbote to Cabana is S/ 25!

Huaraz > Macashca village (Sept 2014)     S/ 2.50 with minibus collectivo  (15 min)
> Route to Rajucolta lake in Huascaran National Park

> On the way back, I got a ride with a collectivo car into Huaraz and paid S/5  - this was from further up the route to Rajucolta.

Feel free to add some more prices in comments and I'll add them to a next post. 
Cabana to Chimbote:  Rock slides can delay your trip - usually the bus company organises another bus on the other side...
subject to mobile phone connection and where you are; otherwise just get a taxi on the other side.
(this all assuming you could get around it by foot as we could in this case)
Only advice more I have is the usual, be wary and pay attention what's happening around you and you'll generally be fine. When it comes to directions, taxi and bus drivers are usually good but there are the odd exceptions when they'll say they don't know - until you tell them to take you there, then they know exactly where it is!!

Safe travels!!


Sunday, 28 September 2014

High Altitude meanders

The name of this trek is probably one of the two you’ll hear the most around Huaraz, the other being the 8-9 day Huayhuash trek through the Cordillera Huayhuash.  The Santa Cruz is very popular especially among the  travellers who don’t have much time when visiting Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca as it’s a 51km 4-day trek that can also be done in 3 days.

Be warned though, don’t try and do this within 24 hours of arriving in Huaraz, the altitude will hurt you with giving yourself time to acclimatise. Do yourself a favour and go on a short-ish one day trek followed by the very popular and well-known Laguna 69 trek (also one day). The latter is a good test of how your body will deal with a good deal of trekking up to higher altitudes. It’s not an easy trek (we don’t do them because they’re easy, do we?) and starts at 3,900m altitude and peaks at 4,625m at the azure blue waters of Laguna 69 . (see post on Laguna 69 trek)

The general recommendation for this trek between Cashapampa (near the town of Caraz) and Vaqueria (on the eastern slopes of the Cordillera Blanca) is to start from Cashapampa which is at 2,970m and offers longer time to acclimatise into the trek and higher altitudes. The highest point at Punta Union pass is 4,760m that you’ll pass through on day 3 from Cashapampa. On the return trip after the trek from Vaqueria, the vehicle will go over/through the Portochuelo Pass which is at 4,775m. This is also the reason why the start from this end would only be recommended if everybody in the group is well acclimatised - you don’t want to end up ill with altitude illness (or at best, headaches and nausea) before you’ve even taken your first step.
The road leading up to Portochuelo Pass out of the Llanganuco Sector, Huascaran National Park

The views along this trek are just gorgeous and some just more jaw-dropping than others. Ranging from spectacular views at high altitudes to long distance views of valleys and gorges between virtually vertical walls on both sides. Thus, make sure your camera is in an easy-to-reach place as you’ll find yourself wanting to take shots with every breather and longer rest you take.
And I'm ready to hit the trail from the village of Vaqueria
This is a brief description of the trek I did which was from Vaqueria to Cashapampa that the group wanted to do in 3 days. In a further post I will detail the itinerary for the more “normal” 4 day trek from Cashapampa to Vaqueria.

Camping near Taulliraju mountains (1st night)
Day 1 (August 2014)
We  left Huaraz around 3:30am so the bus trip was fairly quiet for a long time till we started going through the switchbacks up to Portochuelo Pass at 4,750m in Huascaran National Park. After enjoying jaw-dropping (and freezing cold) views, we then started to drop down via more switchbacks and a variety of lakes to the little village of Vaqueria. It was time for a light breakfast and some tea and coffee, pack the donkeys and head down into the valley.
Huascaran National Park office at Huaripampa
This is quite a long drop before the gradual ascent to Huaripampa area where the entrance to Huascaran National Park is again. A long almost level area followed and we passed Paria campsite to start the ascent to see how far we get for camping on of the small pampas. This was at 4,300m with great views of Taulliraju mountain and the valley we’d just come from.
Final ascent to Punta Union pass (4,760m)

Day 2
Breakfast was at 6:30 and we headed off around 8am (bit late) to make our way to the pass at Punta Union at 4.760m. This was going to be a pretty big day’s walking (about 18km) as we had to get as far as we could so the 3rd day was not a major trek to get to Cashapampa and the transport back to Huaraz.
On top of the world! Punta Union Pass
The views from Punta Union were so worth it!! Seeing the valley toward Cashapampa on the one side and a large part of the route we’d covered that morning on the other. The snow-covered peaks of Taulliraju seemed to be at eye-level with a stunning blue Taullicocha lake at the bottom.
The rest of the day was spent descending, rapidly at first, then more gradual and level as we passed Jatuncocha lake and on to the camping are at Ichic Cocha, the site of an ancient lake. Along the way, we were treated to great views of the better known Alpamayo peaks, albeit from a different angle than most photos are taken from.

Descending to Cashapampa
Day 3
Once again up early and heading off around 7:30am this time, we passed Llamacorral campsite within an hour - good going for 3,7km! Some people slowed down from here as there was still another 9km till we reached Cashapampa. But nonetheless, another day with great walks along the river and views back to all the snow-covered peaks.
Llamacorral to Cashapampa (looking back - east)
At the ‘bottom’, there’s another control point for Huascaran National Park before the final 10min walk into the village of Cashapampa. As some people had been so quick and passed the planned lunch spot, we had lunch in the village before heading off for the 3 hour drive to Huaraz via the town of Caraz.

Would I recommend trekking in this area? You bet I would!! This is just great (and big) panoramas all day and everyday! If you don’t do any other long trek in this region, at least do the Santa Cruz Trek!

(My trip organised through Akilpo Backpackers (their Facebook page) and Landtrek Andino who also provided the guide and looked after the logistics.)


Saturday, 6 September 2014

How Blue is Blue?!

The azure blue waters of Laguna 69 at 4,625m
Describing a colour is often just an exercise in relativity as each individual’s definition/perception of a specific colour varies quite a bit. In Peru though, I’ve come across a colour where most people agree on it being the best, and most beautiful, example of blue. A lake that goes by the name of “Laguna 69” is the subject - ’69’ get’s most peoples attention for reasons probably not specifically related to trekking in mountains at high altitude but a view of this lake will have you speechless, temporarily anyway!

Your trip will start with an early
View of Huascaran (right) and Huandoy (left)
en-route from Huaraz to Yungay
(c.5:30-6am) departure from Huaraz to the Llanganuco Sector of Huascaran National Park. The route will take you through some picturesque villages and eventually leaving the tar road in Yungay, turning east towards the national park. During this drive, if you’re not sleeping still on the bus like most, you’ll be enjoying gorgeous views of the snow-covered peaks of Huascaran and Huandoy mountains. The south peak of Huascaran is the highest in Peru at 6,768m - on the right as you ‘face’ the mountain on this road trip.

After a short breakfast stop near the park entrance, the bus will head into the park and follow the winding road up to an altitude of 3,850m where you’ll get the first big colour treat of the day, the emerald waters of Lake Chinancocha.
Emerald waters of Chinancocha
Right above the lake as you’re taking photos, will be the north face of Huascaran mountain. This is just a taster so don’t hang around too long here, there’s another 15min drive to Cebollapampa where the trek to Laguna 69 starts off. Along the way the bus will pass another lake; Lake Orconcocha. 
View of Lake Orconcocha from Cebollapampa

The names of these two lakes are Quechua and “cocha” means ‘lake’. “orcon” is ‘man/male’ and “chinan” is a ‘woman/female’. These names originate from a story relating to the daughter of the Inca chief Huascar after whom Huascaran mountain is named.

Heading north on Cebollapampa.
Peaks of Chacraraju visible.
Cebollapampa is located at 3,900m and this is where you’ll start your c.7km trek to the famous Laguna 69 whilst also ascending 725m. The name of this area, also used as base camp for the Santa Cruz trek and Pisco trek/climbs comes from plants growing on the plains that look like onions (cebolla = onion). Enjoy the views from here of Chacraraju and later Yanapaccha mountains high above you. 

This first section is about 3km long and ascends 200m, a reasonably easy walk but also where you could taste the first affects of high altitude trekking. Enjoy this section though along the river where you will encounter some cattle, donkeys and horse - all part of trekking in a biosphere. This isn’t distracting from the beauty of the area at all so include them in your photos. Culminating at waterfalls, the walk would’ve taken you around 45-55min depending on how your body is dealing with the altitude and exercise. Don’t forget to look back now and then to get some photos of the imposing beauty of Huascaran mountain.

(Remember, if you get headaches, nausea and/or dizziness anywhere during this trek - stop! At higher altitude this will only get worse and could become life threatening. The only proper remedy is to return to a lower altitude!)

Walking along the zig-zag ascent of the 2nd section.
The following section is a short 2km but certainly more strenuous as it zig-zags up the mountain and crosses to the nearby saddle north of the waterfalls you just passed. Once again stop now and then and enjoy the views over Cebollapampa that you’ve just ascended from; there’s some stunning photos to be had. Above you on this section, the peaks of Yanapaccha tower. Into the saddle is the last little bit of a climb, for now, and you’ll get to a little lake unofficially referred to as “Laguna 68”.
"Lake 68" at the end of the 2nd section with
views of the imposing peaks of Chacrarju.
Good time for a 5min break but the wind might be chilling you to the bone so move around to the far end of the lake where you’ll be a bit more sheltered from the icy wind. In front you will be the massive shape and peaks of Chacraraju mountain. 5km completed now and you’re at an altitude of 4,400m. 

The final section of 2km has two parts; the first is a 15-20min flat walk to bottom of what will be the final ascent to Laguna 69. The walk across this little pampas is a good time to make up some time. At the start of the ascent there are some large rocks where you can take a final 5min break before the last push up to 200m higher. By now you’ll have seen another mountain to the left of Chacraraju, those are the peaks of Pisco - yes, named after the famous Peruvian drink. 

Ascending now will go even slower, for many anyway, the air is getting much thinner. Get yourself a steady pace with some short stops - as they say in East Africa, “Pole Pole” …slowly slowly! This is not all slogging as the views are drop-dead stunning all around you. Another mountain to the left of Huascaran will come into view, this is the beautiful mountain Chopicalqui - the famous logo of Paramount Pictures. In the direction you’ve come from you’ll see another couple of lakes, Lagos de Brogi which are also glacial lakes of Chacraraju. 
On the final ascent to Laguna 69

This breath-taking (pun intended) final section can take you anything from 30-60min depending on how much/little your body’s liking it.
The final ridge with stunning views of the Pisco peaks.
Once you get over the last little ridge, there’s a 2min flat walk before you get your first view of the bluest blue of lakes; these are the azure waters of Laguna 69. Down at the shoreline, relax and have a drink and bite to eat. Your options for photos are multitude here; over and above the standard selfies, there are some higher areas for the more energetic to get more panoramic shots from. 

The waterfall might have some pieces of ice coming down now and then, or like we saw the other day, a ‘small’ avalanche from one of the peaks of Chacraraju. Try not to stay later than 2pm at the most as there’s usually some weather moving in later in the afternoon plus a later walk means longer sections on the return trek in the shade, a considerably cooler experience. 
The final minute to the shores of Laguna 69.

All along the trek you’ll encounter a variety of flowers and plants and hopefully at least get a glimpse of the shy but quick Northern Viscacha, a relative of the chincilla family resembling a large rabbit. There is no shortage of birds around for the avid birder with a good supply of humming birds and sierra-finches plus the seemingly omni-present blue-grey Tit-like Dacnis. Keep an eye on the sky too as there is of course a small chance of a condor but more likely some vultures. (Keep an eye out for further posts on the fauna & flora of Llanganuco Sector)

The crystal clear azure waters of Laguna 69.
Feeling brave? Have a refreshing (very) dip - if you have dry clothes and towel with you!

The trek back to Cebollapampa takes an average of 2 hours.  Take care though so you don’t end up sliding down too much on the loose rocks on the trail. Once back in Huaraz, or probably on the bus already, you’ll be having a good sleep after the 14km trek to find out how blue is blue! 
Back at Cebollapampa
Please note that times mentioned are an average only and is dependant on your personal physical condition and ability to adapt to the high altitudes.

(my trip was organised through Akilpo Backpackers {their Facebook page} in Huaraz)


Friday, 8 August 2014

Accidental Encounters with History

Abandoned village of Cocabal.
My trip off the beaten track up central Peru from Huaraz not only introduced me to some of the friendliest people around in Cabana, and a huge festival (see "Mountains alive with music & dance", but also had me feeling I stepped back in history. When the bus goes the wrong way”) I also photographed an abandoned town and coal mine. 
Eastern end of Cocabal.
The village of Tauca with its c.300 year old and colonial style buildings, which I also found in Cabana, was quite an experience. Along the route there (see “
Coal mine seen from the west.

A Peruvian friend (thanks a lot Elmer) on Facebook identified this as the old town of Cocabal which housed the people working on the nearby (literally down the street) coal mine. This had all been abandoned when the railroad was severely damaged (60% of it) during the 1970 earthquake and subsequently went into disuse. Finding reference to Cocabal online is limited to mere mention of the name in the area, although another the name of another place (assuming nearby) La Galgada pops up as well. I did manage to find the spot on Google Earth, albeit sans name.

The railway line served to transport amongst other things, coal to Chimbote where much of it was supplied to SiderPeru (steel company) for their furnaces. The project for railway lines to the interior from Chimbote was approved 1871 in agreement with Henry Meiggs to supervise the construction. The particular section to Galgada, and it appears Cocabal, was inaugurated in 1921 without Meiggs seeing it - he passed away in 1877 in Lima, Peru.
Coal mine viewed from the east.

The dark triangle in the left of the picture is the abandoned coal mine with the village
strung out from the centre to the right of the picture. (Google Earth)

Zoom into abandoned village of Cocabal (Google Earth)


(1)  Brief Historical Summary of the Railroads in Peru     By Elio Galessio 
   -E-mail address: