Huancayo

Huancayo is the capital of the department of Junin in Southern Sierra region of Peru.

Understand

The population is about 500,000, altitude 3300 m. Huancayo lies on the lower end of the broad Mantaro Valley. The surrounding mountains reach up to ca. 3,600 m. En route from Lima, the road ascends as high as ca. 4818 m.

In Peru, there is not only Cusco, Arequipa and Puno to visit, but also charming, smaller towns such as the ones encountered in the region of Junin. These towns represent another aspect of the Peruvian culture and its traditions, giving tourists another angle from which to experience this diverse country. In Huancayo and its surroundings, there are many activities on offer and many not so touristy cultural sites to visit. When Pizzaro settled the first capital of Peru in Jauja, his first impression of the region was that it looked like Switzerland. The everlasting valley of Mantaro is very green in the wetter parts of the year, but dries out quite a bit at other times. Its agriculture is flourishing and is full of wandering cows, pigs, donkeys and lambs. The region is full of pre-Inca ruins, from the Wanka civilization. You should go and visit Tunanmarca, a wanka ruin that has more than 3000 houses! or go trekking on the Huaytapallana glacier for a day. It is a pleasant and relatively safe place for visitors to practice their Spanish, meet down-to-earth Peruvians, and try delicious local food at reasonable prices. Ruins, museums, trekking and fishing are on the menu.

Tunanmarca

Get in

By bus

Many bus companies offer services from and to Lima. Cruz del Sur is a good one. The trip takes about 8 hours in dry season, depending on traffic. Buses from Huancavelica, a five hour trip, are also available.

By train

The Ferrocarril Central Andino the train line joining Lima to Huancayo, is the second highest railway in the world and the highest in South America. The journey on board the Train of the Andes through the heart of Peru is simply breathtaking. It is an 11-hour experience where the train reaches an altitude of 4781 m. (15,681 ft.), goes through 69 tunnels and 58 bridges and makes 6 zigzags. In 1999, the company was privatized, in 2005, Ferrocarril Central Andino renovated their passenger wagons. Unfortunately for time-limited travellers, it only runs once every two months.

Ferrocarril Central Andino

By air

LC Perú offer two flights per day to and from Jauja, flying from "Jorge Chavez" airport in Lima to the "Francisco Carlé" airport in Jauja (20 minutes from Huancayo). To be safe, LC Perú will take you to their main agency in Huancayo.

Other

During the day, there are always colectivos to and from Jauja. Colectivos to and from Lima are also available for under $15. In Lima, have a taxi driver take you to the Yerbadero. In Huancayo, ask your taxi driver to take you to colectivos to Lima. These will be found a bit out of the city center on Real Street. Lonely Planet also talks about a company called Comite 12 that has a station right around the Municipalidad.

Get around

Taxis - transport in the city is around 3 soles (~US$1.10). Trips to more distant parts of the city can range up to 6 soles.

Nicolás Carhuaz Chipana, Nicolás Taxi, in the city of Huancayo, is a very friendly, patient, knowledgeable and helpful taxi driver (however, he doesn't speak much English) who will take you on self-designed excursions to the Mantaro Valley, and isn't afraid to drive off the beaten path! Telephone: +51-(0)964736038. E-mail: Nico_20_75@hotmail.com

Buses - buses and colectivos within the city generally cost less than 1 sol. Routes generally follow the main streets, but can be variable, so ask around for specifics.

See

Do

Buy

- Silver jewelry in San Jeronimo

- Weavings in Hualhuas

- Carved gourds in Cochas Chicas/Cochas Grandes

(crafts are also available at the Feria Dominical (Sundays on Av. Huancavelica) or Casa Artesanal (in front of the central plaza) or Mercado Artesanal (behind Plaza Huanmamarca).)

Eat

It is a pity that this region is unknown to tourists, everything is great and especially its local food. By not visiting the region of Junin, people miss a lot of Peru's culture and tradition. If you are a culinary addict, you have to jump on the Ferrocarril Central (it would give you a good first glance of the good local food)and run to a restaurant in Conception or Jauja!

Everyone who visits the region of Junin has to go and eat a trout in the village of Ingenio, home to farms where these fish are raised. Every restaurant has its own recipes and ways of preparing this local product. You have to try the cebiche de trucha or trucha a la huancaina!

For the bravest (some would say cold-hearted if one saw the live animals cowering in the Sunday market) the most noteworthy dish that could end your starvation is the picante de cuy or cuy chactado (guinea pig). It is found in every restaurant and every tourist simply has to try it before they leave the region, it is an experience!

Another typical local dish would be the papa a la Huancaina (potatoes in a delicious and a touch spicy yellow sauce) with a plate of Pachamanca (a way of cooking the food over heated stones, similar to roasting, served with different meats and vegetables); they are delicious.

For vegetarians, there are several restaurants in the 7th and 8th blocks of Jr. Arequipa, most of which have very cheap 'menus' (from 3.50 to 5 soles, which includes a soup, a main, usually a drink - most often tea - and sometimes even a small desert). Particularly good is "El Pobre", which also has a breakfast menu and very friendly owners. It is also popular with locals: always a good sign.

"La Cabaña" has VERY slow and disorganized service and overly loud Peruvian folkloric music.

Drink

Club & discoteques

Bar

Sleep

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.