On weekends. volunteers have time to relax and visiting tourist destinations. Huancayo has beautiful mountains, landscapes, lakes, ruins, and glaciers. Older surrounding villages are usually visited by volunteers. It’s possible to see artesans creating blankets, rugs, and other items from alpaca. There is also a wealth of beautiful silver and gold jewelry available in surrounding villages.
This is a snowy mountain trek that is right outside the city. The climb is approximately 4-6 hours and requires a high level of physical fitness, as you will climb up to about 5500 meters. Local tour groups offer tours every day of the week (tours can be purchased in the center of the city). This trek boasts fantastic mountain views and crystal clear lagoons.
The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve offers visitors the possibility of walking through landscapes surrounded by nature, rivers, waterfalls (Hualhuas) and being at the foot of the Western Cordillera peaks. There are day tours to Huancaya from Huancayo that can be purchased in the center of the city.
This quaint park is a common location for local wedding photos. Made completely of stones, the park was designed to promote Huancaino culture and identity. Throughout the park, you’ll see representations of Huancaino crafts and statues of famous Andean folkloric artists. You can reach this park by taking any combi headed to Palian and getting off at Jr. Santa Felicita, around 10 minutes from the city center. Note: this area can be dangerous in the evenings.
The Sunday fair dominates 10 full city blocks in the city center, from the 2nd to the 12th block of Av. Huancavelica. Hundreds of vendors travel to the city from the surrounding towns to display and sell their crafts, such as carved gourds, jewelry and textiles. You can also take this opportunity to try different kinds of food typical to the area.
In the outskirts of the city, you’ll find a series of gigantic geological formations up to 100 feet tall. These structures of red clay were formed into natural towers and castles over many years of erosion. From these heights, you also get a fabulous view of the city. It’s best if you trek up to Torre Torre with a tour because there are often pickpockets along the route. Additionally, many dogs frequent the area, making this a dangerous spot if you are alone.
Arwaturo and Ñahuinpuquio
To get to the ruins of Arwaturo in Chupaca (around 10 miles outside of Huancayo), you need to hike uphill for around 20 minutes. These ruins date back to the Huancas who inhabited the Mantaro Valley and were subdued by the Incas during their conquest. The ruins consist of 17 stone buildings that were once used as storage warehouses for the Huancas and Incas. After hiking back down, visit the majestic Ñahuinpuquio Lake where you can take a romantic boat ride or eat at one of the shoreside restaurants.
The town of La Merced offers many forms of entertainment for jungle lovers. La Merced is located in the province of Chanchamayo, in the middle of the selva central (Junín, Peru). If you go to La Merced, make sure to check out the waterfalls of Bayoz and El velo de la novia. You can also combine the relaxing experience of waterfalls with a day trip to communities Pampa Michi and San Miguel de Marankiari. The climate is a bit warmer here, making this a lovely weekend getaway.