Location: the city of Huancavelica is 320 miles (520 km) from Lima in the southern central mountains; the city of Huancayo is 90 miles (150 km) away.
Weather: dry and temperate, with two distinct seasons: dry from April to November, with temperatures of around 22°C (72°F); and rainy from December to March (Be warned: the rain can get heavy in an "El Niño" year.). Huancavelica itself is sheltered from the cold but in nearby areas at higher altitude temperatures can get pretty low more or less year-round.
Getting there: Huancavelica does not have an airport. On the up side, though, it is one of the few Peruvian cities with a train service. The famous "macho" train runs between Huancayo and Huancavelica every morning. The train journey is definitely worthwhile but don’t expect first-class comfort or a bump-free ride. A number of bus companies cover the Huancayo-Huancavelica route daily.
Accommodation: Huancavelica has several hotels ranging from one to three stars. The former Hotel de Turistas on the Plaza de Armas is probably the best. Pensiones (guesthouses) and restaurants abound and you can eat well without straining your budget.
Things to do: apart from city’s churches and districts with their traditional Andean flavour, the main attractions of Huancavelica are in the surrounding countryside. The area boasts hot springs, a stone forest, and impressive Puya Raimondi plants that grow along the road to Huancayo. The lakes, as mentioned, are especially attractive to photographers. The Pampas de Lachoq are a perfect setting for observing the lifestyle and unique traditions of local llama (and other camelid) herders.
Dos and don’ts: always travel by day if you can, preferably in a four-wheel drive vehicle (especially if you visit in the summer). While theft is not a big problem in the city, avoid leaving your car with things in it unattended in the street. The people of Huancavelica are well known for their hospitality so try not to abuse their trusting nature. Oh, and you might find that some people aren’t too keen on having their picture taken.
Volume /Issue 15, Page 46
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