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January 18th, 2013 


Huancayo, Peru


 Nestled in the Mantaro Valley of the Andes in Peru lies a culture rich city. Huancayo, Peru is the capital of the area in the central highlands of Peru, known as the Junin Region. With a population of around four hundred thousand people, it is not considered to be a large city, but it is certainly a sight to see. It is also one of the most important cultural and commercial cities in the area. A view of the mountains is all around, and the people are friendly and colorful with their festivals and weekly markets.

 The area now known as Huancayo was originally inhabited by a tribe known as the Wankas until they were conquered by the Inca in 1460. In 1572, Huancayo was officially founded after the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire.

 Huancayo is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Lima, which makes this city more easily accessible than most in this area. At just 236 miles (380 kilometers) away, it can be reached from Lima by plane, bus, or train, all of which just take about seven hours. Traveling by bus is rather inexpensive, and some of the better bus services have very decent accommodations while traveling. Bathrooms on board and movies to enjoy during the ride are just a couple of the comforts provided during the trip.

 The climate in Huancayo is rather mellow. The rainy season, from November to April, is followed by a short winter, from May to July. After winter is a very sunny, dry summer. A number of festivals are possible due to the climate in this region. Even during the rainy season and winter there are festivals and different happenings. February hosts a variety of different festivals, and the Semana Santa festivals are held during March and April. In May, La Fiesta de las Cruces, or Festival of the crosses is held. During these festivals, towns all through the valley gather in colorful costumes and perform special dances.

 Trade and agriculture are the main source of income in this region. Huancayo is a relatively poor city, but that doesn't mean that there is nothing to do there. Restaurants and small eateries can be found on just about every corner. Anything that you may need, you can find in this city - banks, groceries, or hotels. Although the accommodations and stores may not be luxurious, they are reasonably priced and really quite charming.


 One spectacle that should not be missed when visiting this city is the weekly, outdoor Sunday market. Blocked off streets for a mile or more are jam packed with people buying, selling, and trading crafts and goods. Since this area is known for its silver filigree, there is more than a good chance one could pick up an exquisite piece of jewelry for a very reasonable price.

 Huancayo is truly a city of festivals and should not be overlooked during a visit to the area. A mixture of the friendly people, amazing markets, beautiful weather, and breathtaking scenery make this city a true, little known treasure.

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