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Peru: Huancayo

Updated on January 14, 2014

Visit Huancayo, Peru

For most people, Peru is synonymous with Machupicchu and Cuzco. But there is more to Peru. It is a country rich in geographical and climatic contrast, centuries of history and an eclectic gastronomy. Peru has a lot to offer to the keen traveller.


Huancayo is located in the Peruvian Andes, in the Mantaro Valley. It is the most important agricultural city in Peru. But for the traveller Huancayo is a paradise full of surprises.

My trip to Huancayo

I remember my first time there when I was 17, we went by car at a time when terrorism was at its most dangerous point. Still, my family, never coerced by anyone, decided to visit Tarma, a small town near Huancayo famous for its stunning flower carpets at Easter.

After packing clothes, food and hunting guns, we started the trip to the Andes. We were a convoy of several families and thank goodness despite our fears and the men going with their guns on their lap we never encountered either the police or the terrorists, at the time equally feared in the area.

The trip lasted a few hours. Not long we had left the dry sands of Lima when we appeared within a green lush jungle, warm and humid. Tall mountains, endless deep ravines, the bumpy road, the odd 'cholita' -woman from the Andes- climbing up a hill carrying on her back probably double her weight. Despite our initial fears, it was a fantastic journey.

Many years later I went back, this time to Huancayo city. Terrorism had declined, almost disappeared and again, despite the limitations we had a very good time there.

Huancayo: a tour

Tarma's flower carpets

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Flower carpets in Tarma
Flower carpets in Tarma
Flower carpets in Tarma

How to get to Huancayo

By Road

The most popular, but not easiest way to get to Huancayo is by road. It is 310 kms. From Lima, but due to the toughness of the road the trip can take about 5 hours if you are driving, or 8 hours if you take a bus.

By Train

The Ferrocarril Central Andino, the line joining Lima to Huancayo is the second highest railway in the world and the Highest in South America.

There is a daily service to Huancayo. The trip lasts11 hours, but the journey is breathtaking, to the point that you traverse the tunnel La Galera, the highest point in train at 4,780 metres (15681ft) above sea level. The tunnel built during 1870 and 1908 is an architectural achievement.

A return ticket cost as little as 70$ or 125$ in first class. The train leaves Lima at 7pm and arrives to Huancayo at 6pm.

Huancayo, Peru

A markerHuancayo -
Huancayo, Peru
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310 Km. from Lima you will find the beautiful city of Huancayo

What to see in Huancayo

  • La Capilla de la Merced, considered a National Historical monument dating back to the times of Spanish colonization. .

  • Cerrito de la libertad, at 1km. from Huancayo, from the top you will have and advantegeous view of the town and the whole Mantaro Valley. It is a good place to spend the day, it has a mini zoo and a heated pool. There, you can also taste some of the local cuisine.

Silver works
Silver works
Grutas de Guagapo
Grutas de Guagapo

Grutas de Guagapo, a 33kms de Tarma. Inside you can discover paintings from pre inca cultures. The grotto is about 2000 m. deep, the deepest in South America.

Places to visit around Huancayo:

  • Cochas Chico, at 8km. from Huancayo has one of the most beautiful scenarios. A small town famous for its ship hats.
  • Pilcomayo, at 2km. from Huancayo.
  • Hualhuas., at 12 km. from Huancayo, a good place to go if you are interested in buying knitted products made from alpaca and ship.
  • San Jeronimo de Tunan, at 16 km. from Huancayo, a place to go for its silver works. Also has a church considered national monument for keeping beautiful wood works on baroque style dating back to the XVII century.
  • Ingenio. There you will find a Trout farm.
  • The Geophysical observatory of Huayao. At 17 km. from Huancayo is the place encharged of registering the sismical movements on the region.
  • Santuario de Warivilca. A beautiful sanctuary belonging to the Wari culture.
  • Sapallanga, famous for its virgin the Cocharcas celebrations on September.
  • Pucara. Here you can visit the arms museum.
  • Convento Santa Rosa de Ocopa. 25 km. from Huancayo, this is the oldest and most complete Franciscan convent in Peru. Founded in 1725, it had a very important role in Christianization
  • Tarma, also known as the "pearl of the Andes" is 100 km. from Huancayo and about 200 km. from Lima. 3,080 metres above sea level. During the Spanish colonization Tarma was one of the main contributors to the crown. Here you will find the sanctuary of the SeƱor de Muruhay. Every year in May they celebrate their festivities. For Easter, following an ancient tradition, the streets are carpeted with flowers to receive the processions.


La Oroya, 125km. from Huancayo is the biggest mining centre in Peru. Here you will find the highest Golf course (9holes) in the world.

Traditional HUAYLARSH danse


Bailes tipicos:

  • El Huaylash: A dance which represents courting .

  • La Chonginada, mostly danced in May by couples dressed in multiple colours richly ornamented.

  • La Jija. A dance executed by men to thank the earth for the harvest.

  • Cortamonte, danced during carnival around an ornamented tree. It resembles some May pole dances.

Mate de coca.
Mate de coca.

Altitude Sickness - Soroche

There's no way to predetermine if you are vulnerable to coming down with it, it strikes randomly. When I've been there, I seem to be the only one getting it! Still, after a couple of cups of "mate de coca" it starts to feel better and I would not be deterred to go back again.

Soroche, as it is known in Peru can give you nausea, dizziness, fatigue and headaches. Sometimes all of them at the same time. Even if you do not get altitude sickness remember that the altitude will make you feel tired and breathless.

Tips to help with altitude sickness:

  • Drink coca tea, "mate de coca" as it is said to help with the symptoms of altitude sickness. It is perfectly legal and it will not make you high. It has a pleasant taste of a light green tea and is also supposed to aid in digestion.

  • Chew on coca leaves. They are available everywhere and a bag is about 1 sol (30 cents). They won't make you high either, but they are very bitter and not to every bodies taste.

  • Don't eat too heavily or drink (much) alcohol.

  • Drink lots of water.

  • There are also some specific pills - Diamox is a popular one- but that's only for extreme cases. Some hotels also have oxygen available if you request it.


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    • Just-N-illusion profile image

      Justin Gray 2 years ago from Seattle Wa USA

      I did thank you, it was a magical journey. If you have time, please check out my Hub and let me know what you think. It is my first try at writing anything. I have been...and will be, making some small changes/advancements for the Q'reo people. I was in the Cusco part of Peru and went deep into the mountains to bring light. Planning for trip 2 now.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 2 years ago from France

      Just-N-illusion: I really hope you enjoyed your trip, Peru is an amazing place to visit and, even more, amazing is the fact that every region has something different and special to offer to the visitor.

    • Just-N-illusion profile image

      Justin Gray 2 years ago from Seattle Wa USA

      Thanks for the insights. I was just there recently. Now i have more places to look for when i go back.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 4 years ago from France

      lemonkerdz: Enjoy your stay in Peru. Try to visit as many places as possible while you are there, there are so many beautiful places to see.

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 4 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      Hey there. I live in Peru, Cuzco at the moment. Since we moved here 12 years ago I have occasionaly heard about that train Journey. It sounds amazing and still something that I would like to do. Thanks for all the imfo. Great hub.

    • profile image

      Water 6 years ago

      Thanks a bunch for this video an information of Huancayo and the surrounding area. I was born in Huancayo, but adopted to the states as a baby and have yet to go back. This was a special treat :)

    • profile image

      Kunal 7 years ago

      Went to Huancayo last summer and lived there for one month. Truly an amazing place and its people. Love Peru and always will hold it dear to my heart. Want to go back so bad, especially with reading this Hub.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      inkanet: I would love to return there, it was a fantastic trip!

    • inkanet profile image

      inkanet 7 years ago

      Very nice hub about this city. I've been there and I would like to return and see valle de Tarma.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 7 years ago from France

      Kadmiels: you are welcome, I am glad you enjoyed it.

      eafblog: Peru is so beautiful, you would be amazed at the lovely places you can find and the friendliness of its people.

    • Kadmiels profile image

      Kadmiels 8 years ago from Florida

      great hub i like the way you have described and articulated your thought on peru well enjoyed reading it Thanks!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 8 years ago from France

      Douglas: Thanks for sharing your experience. Peru is a wonderful destination and the Pisco Sour unbeatable!

    • profile image

      Douglas 8 years ago

      Just returned from Peru on May 2. Started in Lima, then to Cusco, then Macchu-Picchu, then Huancayo and other towns. It was a wonderful trip. I spent 14 days and that is a good amount of time to see and do many things there. So anyone wanting to take a great adventure this is one of the best places I have been. But pack light, and be ready for a lot of traveling by bus at night. The bus transportation is not bad at all, maybe 20 dollars for a nice double decker with plenty of leg room. The people are friendly, and there is always adventure around every city big and small. By the way,,,,,,,"Crystal" beer and the "Pisco-Sour" are great!!!!!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      hubber-2009 : There are plenty of interesting places to go around Huancayo and the local food is really good too.

      RGraf: It is a wonderful place to visit. Just make sure you pack some "hard wear" clothes and shoes, that is all you will need to have a great time.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 9 years ago from Wisconsin

      This sounds like an exciting vacation to have. Maybe one day I'll be able to travel there. Thanks for the pictures and information.

    • hubber-2009 profile image

      hubber-2009 9 years ago from India

      Oh Huancayo is really nice! Make sure you visit surrounding towns like Ingenio where there is a trout farm, and Cochas (something like that) where they make these carved seed pods.

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      Violet: Thank you very much for taking the time to read my travel experiences and for commenting on them. Have a nice day :)

    • Violet's View profile image

      Violet's View 9 years ago from San Diego, CA

      Hi P.

      I love your travel hubs and want to complement you on the way you describe the area, the people etc. Your children are adorable. I will keep on reading the others hubs. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Tommy Sanchez 9 years ago

      Estoy buscando a un amigo que conoci en Ayacucho pero creo que vive en Huancayo,su nombre es Willy Savedra, creo que es abogado,si me pueden ayudar lo agradeceria bastanta,gracias

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

      Kosmo: Peru has plenty of historical and archeological sites, some of them are very easy to visit while others are more resticted to access, but they are all worth visiting. If you ever go, try to spend more time in the countryside, it is much more interesting and prettier than Lima.

    • Kosmo profile image

      Kelley 9 years ago from California

      I've always wanted to visit Peru, especially the archaeological sites. Very nice layout in this article, professional looking, in fact. Good job!

    • Princessa profile image

      Wendy Iturrizaga 10 years ago from France

      Highwaystar: thanks for the comment :-)

      Lissie: my travel addict friend!! don't tell me that you have already been in Peru... good your you!

      Compu-smart: what are you waiting for? pack your rucksack and start the adventure. I could give you same addresses of cheap hotels and/or friends to saty with ;-)

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 10 years ago from London UK

      Me too! what a great hub and place to go...


    • Lissie profile image

      Elisabeth Sowerbutts 10 years ago from New Zealand

      Stop that - you are making me want to go back to Peru!

    • profile image

      highwaystar 10 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the treasures, delights, rich diversity of Peru and really do pack an awesome hub full of relevant and useful information!