History of Abancay
The territory of Abancay was settled long time before the inca’s expansion. The city was founded as a Spanish colony in 1574 by Ruiz de Estrada, under the name of Amancay (or Villa de Santiago de los Reyes). The origin of the name comes from the adaptation of Amankay, a native flower of the region. In the colonial period it was an important commercial exchange center due to its location between the mountains and the coast. It was also the scene of the uprising of Micaela Bastidas and her husband Tupac Amaru II in 1781, who looked for releasing Peru from the Spanish oppression without success; however, they made history as predecessors of the American Independence. For long time Abancay was part of the Cusco department until the creation of the Apurimac department in 1873. During the republican period Abancay achieved the category of city. Due to the attendance of foreign families and families from other territories in Peru, the city had a urban, social and cultural configuration, rich in diversity, what made of Abancay a modern metropolis in constant development. Nowadays Abancay is one of the most settled cities of the Apurimac department.
-The climate in Abancay is temperate and warm depending on the season. The dry season is from April to November.
-The temperature is between 73.4 °F (23 °C) and 51.8 °F (11 °C), with intense rains from December to March (you should bring raincoats and umbrella for those dates).
-It’s located at 2398 meters above the sea level. Prepare for the altitude sickness with Sorojchi Pills, alcohol and mineral water.
-The best date to visit Abancay is in the carnival period (in April).
-Lots of travellers take advantage to get to know Abancay on their way to Cusco (from Lima, Huancavelica or Ayacucho), since it’s located at 124 mi (200 km) and 4 hours from the imperial city.
How to get around in Abancay?
In Abancay you can get around by foot for the short stretches, by “colectivo” (combis or taxi for the long stretches, and tours by bus to the tourist attractions on the surroundings of the city). You will find all you need for your travel nearby, since distances are quite short.
Risks and cautions
Abancay is, due to its geographic location in a wild territory and climate surrounding, a city that presents natural risks as landslide, droughts and floods, among others. We recommend not to explore the highest hills during the rainy seasons.
Getting to Abancay
Plaza de Armas de Abancay
Location: between the Jr. Lima and the Jr. Cusco, in the downtown
Hours: all day
Price: s/ 00
The main square of Abancay is one of the most little of the region, although it’s one of the warmest and welcoming, with nice places for the interaction of the inhabitants as well as seats on the palm trees shadows, free wifi, green areas and a central plaza where you will have a moment to admire the Quisapata hill.
Cathedral of Abancay
Location: Jr. Lima - Plaza de Armas
Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Price: free entrance
It’s one of the oldest Catholic temples, built during the first years of the colonial period. It has a bell tower of simple architecture, but majestic. It was known for a long time as Parroquia del Rosario, since it’s the church where the image of the patron saint of the city is venerated, the Virgen del Rosario.
Location: at 9.3 mi (15 km) from Abancay
Hours: all day
Price: s/ 00
The name means “bridge over the world”. Its colonial architecture still preserved rests over the river with the same name. It’s a bridge with a lot of tradition and history, since through it passed distinguished historic personalities and even there was a civil war between the Spanish colonists. It was also inspiration to the writer Jose Maria Arquedas, who mention it in the short story “Los ríos profundos”.
Archaeologic complex of Saywite
Location: in the north of the city, at 28 mi (45 km) from the highway that connects Abancay and Cusco
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Price: s/ 3 (children) - s/ 11 (adults)
In this complex is located the mythical stone of Saywite, which is believed was the mockup of the Tahuantinsuyo construction. On the round sculpting stone you can see the representation of men, flora and fauna of the natural regions. In all the ensemble you can appreciate monoliths, stairways, fountains and enclosures of the inca period.
Thermal waters of Konocc
Location: at 56 mi (90 km) to the east of the city
Hours: all day
Price: s/ 2 (adults) - s/ 1 (children)
At this place you will relax from the quotidian with the volcanic waters that have healing properties attributed (due to the frequent use) in rheumatism, arthritis, among others.
National Sanctuary of Ampay
Location: at 3 mi (5 km) to the north of the city
Hours: all day
Price: free entrance
At this natural sanctuary of large biodiversity (flora and fauna) the forest of Intimpa is protected, an endangered sort of tree. It’s formed by the Nevado de Ampay, its crystalline lagoons and sites where there are cave paintings. At those places you can see foxes, deers, pumas and owls among other animal species, also endangered.
Viewpoint of Taraccasa (or Ecological Parc of Taraccasa)
Location: at 5.5 mi (9 km) from the city, on the highway from Abancay to Cusco
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Price: s/ 1 the entrance (s/ 10 the going taxi)
At this beautiful and calm park - viewpoint you will have a privileged view over the valley where is settled the city of Abancay. You will also see the most representative animal species of the area as spectacled bear, fox, lynx, puma, condor, owl, eagle, vicuna and llama, since there is a mini zoo as well.
Rafting in the Pachachaca river
If your adventure spirit wants to get wet, you can do it in the Pachachaca river waters. Don’t you think about it 2 times, go on board of a boat, take the rowing and don’t you miss the guide instructions, since moveing forward through the river is a challenge. Between January and May you will find the best current and the adequate climate for practicing this sport.
Paragliding in Abancay
One of the most extreme experiences of Abancay is overflying the city and seeing it at bird’s eye view. To practice paragliding in Abancay you climb to the Quisapata hill, where the strong wind curents will make you raise from the floor until being close to the andean clouds. Landing in general is difficult because of the winds, but you must take the risk to fly as a condor over Abancay.
Cycling in Abancay
If you are among the people who enjoy more being on the ground but with speed then cycling is for you. In Abancay there are competitions during the Semana Turistica de Apurimac, there you will find routes available that go across the main archaeological areas.
Climbing in the Nevado de Ampay
If you are more like a mountain adventurous (and you tolerate cold), the Nevado de Ampay and its challenging height (5235 meters above the sea level) are waiting for you. The starting point for the ascent is the city of Abancay, going through Arcopunco and the reservoir of Sahuanay. When you get to the National Sanctuary of Ampay is when it really starts the challenge of the ascent.
Typical dishes of Abancay
Qapchi de chuño
This delicious sauce has ingredients of varied flavors as the “quesillo”, chilly pepper, milk and freezed-dried potato. It’s served as a side dish to the dishes of Abancay.
This new version of the typical guinea pig is prepared with a tender guinea pig with ground garlic, chilly pepper, onions, huacatay, mint, salt, pepper cumin and butter. Once the guinea pig is seasoned, it’s filled up with those ingredients, to be fried until being crunchy.
Tallarin de casa
Those handmade noodles (“tallarin”) by the settlers of Abancay have their origin on the foreign immigration to Abancay long time ago. The noodles are used in a large variety of dishes, with different dressings.
Chicharron de chancho
This is another of the typical dishes. In its preparation the pork meat is boiled and later fried until it’s gold-colored and very crunchy.
It’s a plate similar to the pachamanca in its preparation, that you put the ingredients above stones on fire, seasoned with aromatic herb. The main ingredients of this plate are boiled potatoes and the meat.
Restaurants in Abancay
Restaurante Matias Restobar
Location: Av. Arenas 146
Price: an average of s/ 45
Good service in the best environment with life shows. The plates combine the typical tradition and the modern flavor with an unbeatable drinks menu. It’s quite expensive, but it worths it if you look for something special and different.
Location: Av. Nuñez 113
Hours: 5:45 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.
Price: between s/ 15 and s/ 35
The restaurant has a bilingual menu for the visitors who are not fluent in Spanish. They have a large variety of pizzas, prepared with the most select ingredients and their fine wine selection will make an exquisite cooking experience, not very typical, but with traditional flavor.
Peña Show Restaurant Cotarmino
Location: Av. Arenas 170
Las Brasas Pollos y Parrilladas
Location: Av. Núñez 426
La Pasta Nostra
Location: Jirón Huancavelica, 100
Location: Av. Nuñez 705
Price: from s/ 61 to s/ 91 (breakfast included)
At the hotel pets are accepted, the hotel has wifi, garage and a bar. The rooms have room service, TV, safe box and are well furnished (the most expensive have a minibar and woderful views over the city).
El Peregrino Apart Hotel
Location: Av. Andres Avelino Caceres 390
Price: s/ 101 (breakfast is included)
At the Peregrino you will find comfort a good service, with large rooms as mini-apartments, with kitchen and a little living room. The rooms are pleasant and the staff very nice. The staff will help you in anything you need. It’s a hotel that lots of guests appreciate, except for the breakfast that should be better.
Location: Av. Diaz Barcenas 517
Price: from 84 to s/ 201
This 2 star hotel has won the award to the best hotel of this category. The rooms are modern and very comfortable and the infrastructure of the hotel is adequate, just perfect to stay some calm and relaxing days, very close to the Plaza de Armas de Abancay. The hotel has wifi, continental breakfast, coffee shop, laundry, safety box and a garage for cars.
Location: Av. Arenas 161
Price: an average of s/ 100
On the front of the building the hotel is easily unseen, but inside it’s modern and beautiful. You will feel at ease for the personalized service, the comfort of the rooms (hot water, wifi) and the succulent breakfast, complete to start right foot the morning.
Día Patronal del Señor de la Caída
(January the 13th)
It’s a day celebrated during the eve of the launch of fireworks and the burning of pyrotechnic castles. On the central day there is a mass and the procession of the Señor de la Caida, when the emblem image is taken through the streets, accompanied by a music band and fervent followers. The route finishes with gastronomy fairs, exhibition of typical dances and an open-air dance.
Carnival of Abancay
As in other cities in Peru, Abancay celebrates the carnival with typical colorful dances and troupes that go across the city. During this carnival you can participate of the “yunsa”, a tradition consisting of dancing around a tree and the people hit the tree with an axe until it falls down.
Fiesta de la Virgen del Rosario
(October the 7th)
It’s one of the most important religious festivals of Abancay, celebrated with processions in all the streets of the city, fireworks and masses in the honor of the Virgen del Rosario. The “mayordomos” (people who organize those festivals) cover the costs of the food and the main services of the festival, as music bands and fireworks.
Anniversary of Abancay
(November the 3rd)
In this day the celebration is due to the ascent of Villa de Abancay to the category of city. In all the department is celebrated this anniversary, full of fairs, dances exhibition, cultural activities and taste of the most delicious dishes of the Abancay gastronomy.
The most bohemian and nightlife is assembled in the Av. Arenas, where you will find a lot of bars and nightclubs that Abancay has for you. You have the possibility of starting the evening in a bar and ending the night in a disco.
Location: Av. Arenas
Hours: from 7:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
Location: Av. Elias 115
Hours: from 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.
At this bar there is a large variety of artisan beers (Golden Ale, Irish Red Ale, Porter Ale) in a nice and pleasant atmosphere, where you will have the option of putting the music you prefer on the jukebox.
Araujo´s Bar Rock
Location: Av. Arenas 172
-Travelling from Lima you can get there in 16 hours.
-The transportation companies that cover this route are Oltursa, Excluciva, Tepsa, Civa and Wari Palomino.
-The terminals are located in the North, South and Center of Lima.
-You can usually find bus tickets from s/ 90 to s/ 170 (the rates are lower with offers, depending on the season).