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Introducing Huánuco

Huánuco lay on the important Inca route from Cuzco to Cajamarca, the key settlement in the north of the empire, and developed as a major way station accordingly. The Incas chose Huánuco Viejo, 150km west, as their regional stronghold but the exposed location prompted the Spanish to move the city to its current scenic setting on the banks of the Río Huallaga in 1541. Little is left of its colonial past but the profusion of archaeological remains in the surrounding mountains is the main reason to linger in this busy little place. Locals also boast Huánuco’s perfect elevation gives it the best climate in Peru: indeed, after the wild climes of the altiplano, it seems positively balmy. It certainly makes for a convenient and tempting stopover on the Lima–Pucallpa jungle route. Nearby is one of Peru’s oldest Andean archaeological sites, the Temple of Kotosh (aka the Temple of the Crossed Hands), while further up in the hills lie the still more impressive ancient ruins of Huánuco Viejo and Tantamayo.

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