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Relatively closed to outsiders for decades by political unrest, Peru's central Andes are a little-visited region now open in part for exploration by travelers who don't mind taking risks. Here one can still discover unspoiled highland villages, as well as markets selling delicately made artisan crafts, and well-preserved cultural treasures such as Santa Rosa de Ocopa convent outside Concepción and the silver-plated altars of Huancavelica's colonial churches. The highlights of this mountainous region are its colorful festivals, most famously Semana Santa ("Holy Week") festivities held in Ayacucho. That vibrant colonial city also has ...

Relatively closed to outsiders for decades by political unrest, Peru's central Andes are a little-visited region now open in part for exploration by travelers who don't mind taking risks. Here one can still discover unspoiled highland villages, as well as markets selling delicately made artisan crafts, and well-preserved cultural treasures such as Santa Rosa de Ocopa convent outside Concepción and the silver-plated altars of Huancavelica's colonial churches. The highlights of this mountainous region are its colorful festivals, most famously Semana Santa ("Holy Week") festivities held in Ayacucho. That vibrant colonial city also has other sights worth lingering to see year-round, including many museums and historic mansions and churches. As you travel around the highlands, there are more natural attractions to take in along the way, including the spectacular Gruta de Guagapo limestone cave and birding at Lago de Junín. Most tourists fly into Peru's central highlands, but a more exhilarating way to get there is via the railway from Lima to Huancayo, which passes through one of the world's highest railway stations, and then onward to Huancavelica.

Sara Benson
About the Expert

Sara Benson was the coordinating author for Lonely Planet's Peru and wrote the Peru chapter for South America on a Shoestring.

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Sara Benson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: you will find that the Central Andes of Peru consists of vast, stunning scenery dotted with typical villages.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Nuevo Sol
  • Research: Junin Province
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May through September; also the Easter holiday season