Looking for a quick escape from the hot Lima summer? Just a few hours away from Lima by bus, Huancayo is the perfect escape for those looking to experience the central Andes. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your Andean escape.
1. Get out of the city
Sure, the guide book recommends the rock formations of Torre-Torre and the view over the city from the Cerro de la Libertad. When you first arrive in the brown brick city, that feeling you may grapple with at first is known as “underwhelmed.”
But if you take the time to get out into the villages in the mountains, you’ll be rewarded with beautiful scenery, fresh air, and all sorts of adventures.
While most accommodation is located in the city, you can stay in the village of Cochas at Kuskalla, a retreat centered around peace and nature. Or, you can organize expeditions to different places with the help of Lucho Hurtado, the proprietor of the tour company Incas del Peru. He will give you a hand-drawn map and say “Now you have your homework.”
2. Shop for handicrafts
Out in the villages, you can have a chance to visit local artisans and shop for items like mates burilados, which are carved dried gourds. You can also find woven tapestries, handmade musical instruments, and silver jewelry.
3. Visit the market
The central market in Huancayo is an interesting place to have a look around or shop for local produce. Just don’t get lost in the maze of stalls!
4. Take a cooking class
Huancayo is also known for its cuisine, such as the delicious papa a la huancaina. Cooking classes can be arranged in the main tourism office, either as a one-off or as a series of classes. What you prepare will depend on what’s in season and what looks good in the market.
5. Go for a hike
A wander in the mountains might be just the ticket if you’re looking to escape the city. For example, you can visit the archaeological site at Lago Nauquinpuquio, hike to the Huaytapallana glacier (hire a guide for this one), or visit Laguna de Paca.
How to Get There:
Buses depart regularly from Lima (about 7 hours)
Where to Stay:
We recommend the Casa de la Abuela hostel, located not far from the city center and but far enough away so you won’t have to hear traffic all night long. If you want to stay in a more rural environment, then you can check out Kuskalla, a retreat and cultural center located in the village of Cochas Grande.