Go South American; Go Trekking Huancayo (Peru)

Written By Hajra Khatoon, Travel Story

Already having interviewing people about the island of Maui, going magical in Turkey, being the royal In Udaipur and taking you all on a South African safari. We thought what better than going South American this time! We talk to the lovely Samantha Bangayan about her favorite place and she sticks to her current place of stay Huancayo. Located in the highlands of Peru, Sam does a walk through of the less known wonder.

Samantha Bangayan is a Canadian expat currently living in Huancayo, Peru. She was born in the Philippines, grew up in Vancouver, and moved to Peru indefinitely in 2010.

Favorite holiday destination:

Sam lives in the Central Andes and claims to have fallen in love with Huancayo soon after her arrival in 2008.

Why she loves what she loves!

Huancayo is isolated in the Mantaro Valley, so even though it’s a growing city with a population of over 500,000, there’s still a strong feeling of culture and tradition. What is extremely attractive to her about Huancayo is the slower and more relaxed pace of life. The first and only mall there was constructed only 3 years ago in 2009.

What Huancayo is famous for?

Huancayo is famous for its surrounding rural towns where there are generations of artisans. There are specific towns famous for gourds, metalwork, and textiles. The city is also famous for its trekking tours as it’s surrounded by mountains.

Sam's personal favorite spot in Huancayo is the old shooting range where they go to practice acrobatics. It’s a large piece of land with cushiony grass to soften landings and a backdrop of grazing farm animals. One can easily walk there from downtown Huancayo yet when you get to the shooting range, it feels like you’re in your own world where you can truly relax and/or achieve anything.

Best time to visit

It’s best to visit Huancayo from March to August. The rest of the year is thunderstorm season with unpredictable stormy weather, including thunder, lightning, and hail, at any time of the day. If you’re able to, try and make it over in late July when all of Peru partakes in a weeklong Independence Day celebration. In Huancayo, there is also the Andean tradition of Santiago in honor of the Saint Santiago during the month of August. Fiestas of Santiago in rural communities near Huancayo traditionally involve dancing with farm animals, but Santiago can also be celebrated in the city with dancing through the streets accompanied by a band hired for the day.

Costs - affordable / luxury?

Living and traveling in Huancayo is very affordable because it’s off the beaten path. Hostels near downtown can be as cheap as $4 per night and a typical meal at a family restaurant will cost less than $2. These meals always include soup, a main dish, a drink, and sometimes dessert too. Buses between Lima and Huancayo range from $8-25 for a one-way ticket.

Anything we missed?

Since there aren’t many tourists that visit Huancayo, one will be forced to use and practice Spanish. Huancainos generally speak slowly and enunciate, so it won’t be too difficult to develop language skills there.

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