Flanked by arid mountains, the beautiful valley of the Río Cañete cuts a swath of green inland from Cañete to reach the tiny but charming town of Lunahuaná, the center for some of Peru's best white-water rafting. The season is from December to March, when the water is at its highest, creating rapids that can reach up to Class IV. Most of the year, however, the river is suitable for beginners. Rafting companies offering trips line Calle Grau in town.

If you're more interested in whetting your palate than wetting your backside, Lunahuaná is a great spot to enjoy the products of the region: wines and piscos from the surrounding wineries and distilleries and freshwater prawns straight from the river. In March you can celebrate the opening of the grape-pressing season at the Fiesta de la Vendimia. The rest of the year, join the locals and while away the afternoon trying the variety of cocktails from the pisco stands dotted around the flower-filled main plaza; the maracuya (passion fruit) sour in particular is a winner. If the cocktails, sun, and lazy atmosphere don't get the better of you, just down the road from Lunahuaná lie the Incahuasi ruins, an Inca site said to have been the military headquarters of Túpac Yupanqui. There's not a great deal to see, although Inca enthusiasts may find it interesting.

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Fodor's Essential Peru: with Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail

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