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Due to terrorist disruption in the Central Highlands during the 1980´s and early 1990´s, large parts of the Central Andes are only just opening up to tourism once again. People in these parts are relieved to see tourists return to their towns and cities, and treat travelers with great friendship and hospitality.
Comprised of the Departments of Apurimac, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Junin, Pasco and Huánuco, you will find that the Central Andes of Peru consists of vast, stunning scenery dotted with typical villages. For those who appreciate traditional, good quality crafts, or who enjoy a lively festival, this part of Peru is not to be missed. The mountains thrive with traditional Andean culture and the rural way of life ... and where else would you experience the thrill of riding on the Highest Train in the World?
Many travelers make a "quick trip" of the Central Highlands, leaving Lima, traversing the Andes, and arriving in Cuzco in just 7 - 10 days. As always, however, the greater the time you allow, the greater appreciation you will gain of the beautiful Mantaro Valley and the vibrant city of Huancayo.
May - Oct is dry and moderate with sunny, blue skies and very cold nights.
Nov - April is the rainy season with mostly cloudy days.
INTERESTING TOWNS OF THE CENTRAL HIGHLANDS
- CHOSICA - the real starting place of the mountains, 40km from Lima. It is a popular winter resort because it is above the cloudbank that covers Lima in winter.
- MARCAHUASI - a table mountain 3km x 3km, and located 80km from Lima.
- LA OROYA - the main smelting center for the region's mining industry.
- JAUJA - Peru’s provisional capital before the founding of Lima is a friendly, unspoiled town, in the middle of a good area for walking.
- HUANCAVELICA- capital of its Department and surrounded by huge rocky mountains. This town was founded in the 16th century by the Spanish to exploit rich deposits of mercury and silver.
- AYACUCHO - capital of its Department. Peace has returned to this beautiful colonial Andean city since the terrorism of the "Shining Path" in the 1980´s and early 1990´s.
- TARMA - a nice little flat-roofed town, founded in 1545. It has plenty of trees and is now growing with modern buildings.
- CERRO DE PASCO - long established mining center, and famous as the site of one of the battles of the War of Independence.
- YANAHUANCA AND ITS SURROUNDING VALLEY - located 65km NW of Cerro de Pasco, from here you can reach one of the longest surviving stretches of INCA road.
- HUALLAGA VALLEY- Peru’s main coca-growing area, with both drug trafficking and guerilla activity. The surrounding towns of Huanuco, Tingo Maria and Pucallpa are safer to visit.
- TANTAMAYO & LA UNION- are linked by a road that passes the "Crown of the Inca," a rock formation also known as Lacsahuarina, and meaning "Two Princesses" in Quechua. Tantamayo is a farming village surrounded by pre-Columbian ruins from the Yarowillca culture. La Union is a friendly town that contains Inca ruins of a great temple-fortress with residential quarters