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The Central Highlands Travel Guide

  • Photo: Christian Vinces / Shutterstock

Plan Your Central Highlands Vacation

The central highlands are where the massive Andes crash into the impenetrable South American rain forests, and winding, cloud-covered mountain roads dip down into stark desert terrain. Defying the land's complexity, its people continue to eke out a hardscrabble life that time has left unchanged.

Top Reasons To Go

  1. Handicrafts Ayacucho has retablos—three-dimensional scenes of religious and historical events. Quinua has ceramic workshops. The Mantaro Valley has Mates Burilados, silver filigree, and alpaca textiles.
  2. Highland Cuisine Enjoy the sublime delights of freshly caught trout, pachamanca (herb-roasted meats, potatoes, and vegetables cooked in an earthen oven), and papa a la huancaína (potatoes covered in a spicy cheese sauce).
  3. Market Day Villagers trek in with their goods ready to hawk and trade. Head to the Mantaro Valley and there's a market every day.
  4. World's Second-Highest Train It's no longer number one, but you can still chug your way from Lima to 4,782 meters (15,685 feet) before dropping down to the valleys surrounding Huancayo.
  5. Jungle Heat Drop down to Chanchamayo, near Tarma, to escape the dry highland air and enjoy the soothing warmth of the high jungle.

When To Go

When To Go

This region's best weather falls in the dry season—May through October—when the skies are clear and daytime temperatures are moderate (nights ...

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