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Pasco and Huancavélica: a voyage combining nature and tradition

On the roads that lead to Huancavelica and Pasco you'll see majestic landscapes along with a surprising degree of culture Stray off the beaten track and take in all that these two central Peruvian provinces have to offer!

Cerro de Pasco and the surrounding area

Cerro de Pasco is the capital of the Pasco province. It's an especially beautiful and unspoilt area of Peru. In fact few tourists venture there, because it's no lie that the roads are dreadful in places. Yet, once there, these are landscapes that won't leave you disappointed!

Not far from the town of Cerro de Pasco is Huayllay National Sanctuary, which is home to an immense forest of stones! Inside the sanctuary one also finds the thermal waters of Calera, that are reputed to have healing properties.

Paucartambo is a little corner completely lost in the middle of the province of Pasco. Near to the village, the site of the three crosses, or "tres cruces" is a magical place that must be visited at sunrise, at the exact moment that the jungle comes to life, offering a fantastic view of the Amazon basin.

Another village to include in your itinerary: Oxapampa, a remote little backwater of Peru where the European immigrants decided to set up home. Here you can see "Les Casonas", German and Austrian style houses and buildings. They're quite disturbing in this Peruvian setting! The church of Santa Rosa , which close to the Plaza de Armas, is worth a detour.

The forest of stones, Huayllay National Sanctuary

Huancavélica

Huancavélica is unfortunately one of the poorest areas in the country. However, there's a wealth of culture here. As soon as you get there, you quickly notice that old traditions are still very much alive at Huancavelica.

Throughout the year the region sways to the rhythm of its very colourful festivals. In December in particular the "danzas de las Tijeras", or scissor dances, are held: a dance performance that is quite honestly very impressive! The region has also been influenced by the Incas. Even today, one can see traces of them here. One of the most impressive has to be the gateway that was used as an astronomical observatory on the Incañan Uchkus,, the Inca Trail.

For those who enjoy alternative tourism, the small community of San Jose de Challaca has developed a community-based tourism project. This peaceful haven is tiny but has a great deal to offer. Amongst other things, the women will invite you to make cheese and yoghurt with them, the men to go to the fields with them and the children to go for a swim in the river or perhaps to ride a horse. You'll be spoilt for choice and enjoy a highly authentic experience.

The best time to discover this area of Peru is between April and December. After that the winter and the rain tend to get in the way of properly appreciating the region.   

Lastly, the charm of these two regions is boosted by the lack of tourists, so go on, dare to stray from the beaten path and visit Huancavelica and Pasco!

Emilie Couillard
117 contributions
Updated 28 September 2015
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