Huancayo is located in Huancayo Province, of which it is also the capital. Situated in the Mantaro Valley at an altitude of 3,271 meters, it belongs to the Quechua region. Depending on delimitation, the agglomeration has a population between 340,000 and 380,000 and is the fifth most populous city of the country. Huancayo is the cultural and commercial center of the whole central Peruvian Andes area. Huancayo Metropolitano is made up of seven districts that form the urban center of the Junín region. This region is considered central Peru’s economic and social hub.
Today, in addition to its importance as a center of commerce, Huancayo is known for the crafts and the many festivals of the surrounding towns. Having rapidly expanded in recent decades, it has few remaining colonial buildings. Currently, the cityscape is dominated by modern construction.
The city’s rise began with the construction of a central railway Callao-La Oroya in 1908 and later extended from Lima to Huancayo in the early 1930s. The railway connection between Lima and Huancayo, introduced new ways of transporting goods. The railway’s new avenues for transport contributed to the city’s economic and population growth. Population growth was mostly present in Tambo and Chilica, two suburban districts near the highways.
The Ferrocarril Central Andino the train line joining Lima to Huancayo, is the second highest railway in the world and the highest in South America. The journey on board the Train of the Andes through the heart of Peru is simply breathtaking. It is an 11-hour experience where the train reaches an altitude of 4781 m (15,681 ft), goes through 69 tunnels and 58 bridges and makes 6 zigzags. In 1999, the company was privatized, in 2005, Ferrocarril Central Andino renovated their passenger wagons. Unfortunately for time-limited travellers, it only runs once every two months.
- The region is full of pre-Inca ruins, from the Huanca civilization. You should go and visit Tunanmarca, a Huanca ruin that has more than 3000 houses!
- Or go trekking on the Huaytapallana Glacier for a day.
- It is a pleasant and relatively safe place for visitors to practice their Spanish, meet down-to-earth Peruvians, and try delicious local food at reasonable prices.
3 – 5 Days: Take the Ferrocarril Central Andino train from Lima to Huancayo and explore the charming, smaller towns such as the ones encountered in the region of Junin.