The Central Highlands: Places to Explore


  • Ayacucho

    Tucked into the folds of the Andes, 2,740 meters (8,987 feet) up on the slopes, Ayacucho is a colorful, colonial-style town. Though its looks are Spanish—all glowing white-alabaster mansions with elegant... Read more

  • Concepción

  • Huancavelica

    Spread out high in the Andes, colonial Huancavelica was founded by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, and they promptly discovered rich veins of silver and mercury threaded through the rocky hillsides... Read more

  • Huancayo

    It's not hard to see how the modern city of Huancayo, which has close to 260,000 residents, was once the capital of pre-Inca Huanca (Wanka) culture. In the midst of the Andes and straddling the verdant... Read more

  • Huánuco

    At first glance, Huánuco looks like any other Spanish settlement: a picturesque collection of colonial buildings and churches surrounded by rocky, forested mountains and cut through by the Huallaga River... Read more

  • Jauja

    Jauja has the distinction of having been Peru's original capital, as declared by Francisco Pizarro when he swept through the region; he changed his mind in 1535 and transferred the title to Lima. Jauja... Read more

  • Quinua

    The Battle of Ayacucho, the decisive battle against Spain in the Peruvian War of Independence, took place on the Pampas de Quinua grasslands 37 km (23 miles) northeast of the city, near the village of... Read more

  • Reserva Nacional de Junín

  • San Pedro de Casta

    This compact Andean village is a collection of mud-brick and clapboard homes and shops where you can watch craftspeople and farmers at work on the highland plains. For many visitors, the town is a starting... Read more

  • Tantamayo

    The fields around Tantamayo are rich with pre-Inca ruins, some from the oldest cultures to settle in Peru. Most notable are the thick, seven-story stone skyscrapers of the Yarowilca, who flourished from... Read more

  • Tarma

    The hidden mountain town known as "The Pearl of the Andes" has grown into a city of 55,000 whose traditions and sights illuminate its Peruvian roots. Long before the Spanish arrived, indigenous peoples... Read more

  • Valle Yanahuanca

    One of the longest surviving stretches of Inca road, the Qhapaq Nan, passes through the massive rocky outcrops and deep meadows of the Valle Yanahuanca. Forested hills threaded by shallow, pebbled rivers... Read more