Welcome to Cerro de Pasco
With its altitude-sickness-inducing height above sea level and its punishingly bitter, rain-prone climate, this dizzyingly high altiplano (Andean plateau) mining settlement is never going to be a favorite traveler destination. But first impressions are still striking: houses and streets spread haphazardly around a gaping artificial hole in the bare hills several kilometers wide. The Spanish found silver here in the 17th century and this, along with other mineral wealth, has made Cerro a lucrative Peruvian asset.
If you are traveling by colectivo (shared transportation) taxi around the altiplano, it is also a handy place to pick up a connecting ride.