History of Huancayo
The origin of Huancayo’s name is “wanka” (rock) and “yock” (someone who has something). It means “the place where the rock is”.
Capital of the Junín Department, the province of Huancayo is one of the richest of the Andes. In the past the city was inhabited by the wancas who, despite their reputation of warrior culture, were dedicated to agriculture. Before the city was subjoined by the incas in 1460, the city was settled by the huaris. Some colonial houses of the city are witnesses of the Spanish invasion in 1572. The church of La Merced has traces of the invasion and it’s the place where the Peruvian Constitution was signed in 1839.
There is a handmade fair celebrated every Sunday at the Huacanvelica Avenue.
- It’s located at 3260 meters above the sea level of altitude, in the Mantaro valley, inhabited by more than 340.000 people.
-Huancayo is known for its commercial activity. Sundays the market is the meeting point of the neighborhoods.
-Huancayo has a temperate and dry climate, with a maximum temperature of 73 °F (23 °C) and a minimum of 39 °F (4 °C) throughout the year.
-The rainy season goes from October to April. The dry season from May to September. The coldest season is from June to August.
How to get around Huancayo?
Inside the city you can take taxis, which are numerous and cost between 2 and 5 soles, as well as walk around. The local buses allow the locals to get to the adjacent towns. Ask the locals the information you need to know, they will kindly help you.
Risks and cautions of Huancayo
It’s always preferable not to run the risks to thefts that you can avoid easily just by being attentive and being careful, and not walking through desolate areas at night, try to get around with people and get information about the risk areas.
We recommend to bring warm clothes in winter, because the temperatures at night descent quite a lot, and can drop to 32 °F (0 °C). You may also bring sunglasses for the morning, since the sun is intense.
Given that it’s located in altitude it’s recommended to bring lemon sweets and coca leafs to avoid travel sickness, head-ache and malaise, typical of the altitude sickness.
Location: Plaza de la Constitución
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Price: free entrance
It’s the biggest church of Huancayo and it was built in the transition period (1799-1831) from colony to republic; the church has a baroque-neoclassical style. Inside there a paintings of the Cusco School.
La Merced church
Location: Calle Real, block 1
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and Sundays also during the mass at 8:00 a.m.
Price: Free entrance
This central church of simple architectural style is one of the few colonial constructions that is conserved. It’s a historical monument where the First Constituent Parliament Building of Peru was in 1839. The church was restored several times and for different reasons.
Location: Salesiano Santa Rosa School, 299, Pasaje Santa Rosa, El Tambo district
Hours: from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Price: Children and students 2 soles and general entrance 5 soles
It’s a museum very complete where you can appreciate a large variety of fauna from the central jungle: animal samples, art works, fossils, minerals, paintings and sculptures, among others. The museum preserves archaeological remains as mummies, pottery and textiles.
Parque de la Identidad Huanca
Location: 26, San Marcos
Hours: from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Price: free entrance
This park was built between 1992 and 1996 with the aim of recovering the culture, identity and folklore of Huancayo. It contains statues and miniature structures on stone that represent the culture of the region. “Huanca” in quechua means stone. There is also a castle with the crown shape of the Cocharcas Virgin and a reproduction of the typical hut of the area, called “chullpa”.
Formaciones de Torre Torre
Location: Plaza de la Constitución, Urb. Santa Isabel
Price: Free entrance
The wind and rain erosion has created diverse stones in tower shape. It’s located at 1 mi (2 kms) from the Cerro de la Libertad. From the towers you’ll have a great view. You can access in a short trekking from Huancayo.
It’s a snown peak located at 19 mi (30 kms) from Huancayo city. You can make a journey tour to visit it. It’s located at about 5000 above the sea level. Given that it’s a mystic place, in July and August there are spiritual leathers and priests who go to Huancayo on pilgrimage. You must be prepared with warm and mountain clothing. You will see animals of the area’s fauna as foxes, partridge birds and viscachas.
You can practice this sport on the river Mantaro. During the route, you go through beautiful and picturesque towns as Sicaya or Papiloma.
Close to Huancayo you have the chance of practicing this sport that consists of vertical descent with hasrness. It’s highly recommended to intrepids. There are several places where you can practice it; you can go from the Kimiri town to the Reyna waterfalls. During the tour you scale waterfalls, vines and climb rocks, all of it enjoying the landscape of the Peruvian jungle.
Archaeological and cultural tour
At this tour you will visit the main square of Chupaca, Ahuac (Ñahuinpuquio lake).
The archaeological site Arwaturo. You can appreciate ruins of constructions, but also a wonderful view over the valley.
The archaeological complex of Warivilca, corresponding to the Huanca culture. At this complex you can see the “manantial de la Fidelidad” (loyalty spring). The couples can drink this water as a promise of loyalty. If one of them breaks the promise, the legend tells that he will die. Would you drink?
Papa a la huancaína
It’s one of the most typical and famous plates of Huancayo, although today is eaten all over the country. It’s a dish based on potato, served with lettuce and boiled egg. The sauce is made of chilly pepper (but you take out some seeds so it’s not too spicy), salty biscuits and white cheese. If you haven’t tasted it yet, you will love it!
The name of the plate is the way of cooking it, with a pot on the ground. It comes with several meats: cow, pork, guinea pig and rabbit. And a spice of huacatay plant leafs. All is served with potatoes, sweet potato, field beans and ground corn. After it you won’t be hungry!
Its a very nourishing soup with ingredients as peeling wheat, peas, cow meet, “charqui” (dried meat), pork skin and field beans. It’s very typical in Huancayo and surroundings.
Yuyo or shita
The leafs of the mustard plant are collected and boiled. Then a seasoning is made with onion, garlic and sliced potatoes; To the seasoning it’s added the boiled leafs and it’s all servec with “cancha” (a kind of toasted corn).
Restaurants in Huancayo
Location: 222, Mariscal Castilla street
Hours: Monday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
We recommend you to taste the regional specialties: “pachamanca, papa a la huancaína, ceviche de trucha (trout ceviche) or carnero al palo” (mutton). They have live music, guitars, while people taste the traditional dishes.
Location: 716, Huánuco, on the cross with Libertad street
Price: around 20 soles per person
In this restaurant they are specialized in vegetable soups of several kinds and other Andean specialties as “mondongo” (animal insides); even specialties from the coast as “tacu tacu” (boiled rice with food of the previous day, all in an omelette).
Location: 189, Avda. Giraldez
Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Price: around 25 soles
It’s a place where you should taste meats cooked in a traditional way at a good price. The chef seasons very tasty the dishes and they prepare a delightful chicken.
Hostal el Rancho
Location: 700, Prolongación Cajatambo
Price: from 49 soles and up the double room
At this modest and low-cost hostal all the rooms have a private bathroom and cable TV. The hostal has car park and wi-fi for free.
Hotel Villa Rica
Location: 1291, Real street
Price: Double with or without bathroom 30-40 soles
The rooms are acceptable for the price but they are also noisy.
Location: 999, Jr. Retamas
Price: Double room from 72 soles, The breakfast is not included, being 13 soles
The rooms are perfect and have a private bathroom, hot water and cable TV. Some of them have hydromassage. The best quality-price ratio of Huancayo.
Location: 206, Jr. Alfonso Ugarte, Barrio Salcedo, San Carlos
Price: from 99 soles the double room, breakfast included
The rooms have TV, private bathroom or shower, car park and wi-fi for free. They accept pets.
Location: 246, Avda. Giraldez
Price: from 215 soles the double room, breakfast included
The hotel is located at the historical center of Huancayo, close to the Plaza de la Constitución. There is a bar, a restaurant and tourist information counter. Some rooms have minibar and nice view over the city. The staff is very attentive and the rooms are clean.
Location: 1106, Real street
Price: from 172 soles the double room, breakfast included
It’s very close to the Plaza de la Constitución. There is a spa and a gym. The rooms are very clean and the have a private bathroom and TV. The customers have a free car park during the day. There have laundry service at the reception 24 hours.
Fiesta Patronal Santísima Trinidad o Tayta Padre
(end of May)
This day there are parades to the church in honour of the Holy Trinity and during the route there are formen and captaincy dances. Additionally it’s celebrated with a popular open-air dance and there are fireworks. The black people practise the “sacudida”, a fight dance with whips, which are a key piece at this festival, because the agricultural production of the Mantaro Valley depends on their fight.
Fiestas de San Pedro y San Pablo
(June the 28th and 29th)
The saints Pedro and Pablo are very celebrated with masses at the Huancayo CAthedral. There is also the day of the Pope and the official closing ceremony of the priest year, and that is why to the ceremony the archbishopric comes to Huancayo.
(January, the 1st to the 3rd)
It’s a ritual dance where the “huacones” are the old men council, whose masks inspire respect and fear and have a very big nose, symbol of the condor beak; in front of them the young men dance with joyful and coloured clothing, whose masks are sardonic and transmit terror and sadness. At the “huaconada” there are mixed Andean and Spanish elements.
Have a drink
Location: 296, Jr. Puno
Hours: breakfast, lunch and dinner
At this caffe you can have a nice breakfast with your family. They have an asorted menu. They have a good service and it’s not expensive. We recommend to buy “alfajorcitos” (a little sweet dessert) to bring home, but they prepare them upon request.
Location: In front of Real Plaza
Hours: everyday from 5:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m.
Price: reasonable for tourists
It’s an ideal place for beer lovers. They have a large variety of worldwide beers and handmade beers at an affordable price for turists.
Location: 599, Jr. Puno
Hours: from 8:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.
It’s a live show place, with varied music, local groups who play every night from 9:00 p.m. It’s a nice place to enjoy in good company, having drinks and appetizers. They serve also menu dishes.
Go out in Huancayo
Rock and Pop Discotek
Location: 190, Jr. Puno
Hours: from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
It’s a nightclub of young atmosphere, in a safe place, where you can have a drink a dance sometime. It’s located close to the main square.
From Lima it takes about 9 hours. The landscapes are beautiful. The companies that cover this route Lima - Huancayo are Oltursa and Turismo Raraz on a schedule from 12:00 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. at 29 to 80 soles, depending on the service chosen.
You should pay attention to the terminals; there are 2 in Lima, the North and Center, so just be sure before taking your taxi, to be on time.