The mega-metropolis of the central altiplano (Andean plateau), bustling Huancayo mixes its modern facade with a strong underlying sense of tradition. For many, this self-confident, cosmopolitan city will be their first experience of the Peruvian highlands – it stands within a lush valley on an exciting overland mountain route to Cuzco – and while its charms are less obvious than those of other Andean locales, Huancayo does not disappoint.
The town has some of Peru’s finest dining outside of Lima and Cuzco, with well-appointed restaurants serving the region’s renowned cuisine. Peru’s most interesting handicrafts are sold in the markets here and in the valley beyond, and vibrant, varied fiestas take place almost daily.
There's also Andes trekking and extreme mountain biking and, to top it all off, Huancayo is the terminus for two of Peru’s (and South America’s) best railway journeys, including the world’s second-highest railway over the Andes to and from Lima.