La Merced is a town in Southern Sierra, it is the capital of the Chanchamayo Province in the Junín Region, Peru.
La Merced is 750 meters above sea level between the towns of Tarma and Pichanaki.
- Buses from Huancayo take about 4 hours and leave from the multi-company terminal on Av. Ferrocarril.
- You can access La Merced on the Lima-Satipo night buses. Most bus companies leave Lima between 8-10 pm and arrive in La Merced early in the morning. Most buses leave from Av. 28 Julio in La Victoria (Molina and Transmar are recommended as relibale and safe companies). The "bus cama" seats are very comfortable, although a little more expensive than the normal seats (still better than the average bus). The route along the Carretera Central from Lima to the jungle often has delays (from accidents, landslides, strikes etc.) which essentially close the road as it is the one and only road into the jungle. Therefore, ask about the situation when you buy your ticket and make sure to pack extra water and snacks for the trip. The trip passes the highest part of road in Peru (Ticlio, as close to 6000 m), so bring along some altitude sickness medication (and also something for travel sickness for the windy roads if you are susceptible).
The town center is very walkable.
Mototaxis to most locations are 1 sole per person during the day, a bit more at night.
La Merced is reasonably close to the waterfalls Catarata de Bayoz and Velo de la Novia, see the Pichanaki page for details.
- Banos Termales de Uchubamba, (Take the road towards Uchubamba). Thermal Pools.
- Catarata Sanchirio, (Take the road towards Oxapampa. Near San Luis de Shuaro). Waterfall
- Catarata del Tirol, (17km from La Merced. About 5km up a dirt road immediately after Puente San Ramon on the right hand side when travelling from Tarma to La Merced. 11° 08' 15 S 75° 19' 53 W). You need to walk for about 15 minutes up a gorge to reach the waterfall, its a fairly easy walk up a well made path. Adults S/.1.00. (-11.1375,-75.3314)
- Catarata Tunquimayo, (Near Vitoc. Take the road towards Uchubamba). Waterfall.
- Ducha del Diablo, (11° 10' 21 S 75° 27' 06 W). (-11.1725,-75.4517)
- Puente Colgante Kimiri. Suspension bridge made in 1901
- Santuario Nacional Pampa Hermosa. Tropical/subtropical jungle, waterfalls, Yungas.
A variety of tours have hawkers in the central plaza in the morning until about 10:00. Most of the companies offer the same options.
- Perene Tour - this jungle overview tour is appropriate for all ages and abilities. It includes 2 waterfalls (you can swim at the bottom), a "native village", a coffee processor, a boat ride, and a stop for lunch. It runs about s/35 (about $15 US).
- Indiana Jones Tour - not the real name, but they will know what you are talking about. This trip takes you up a creek bed with several waterfalls that you climb with a rope through the water. At times you scale wet slippery rocks without a rope. Good physical condition is highly recommended (not by them, but by me!) Some groups also have 2 guides to help you up the waterfalls. If you're nervous you may want to ask around for a 2-guide tour. s/25 (about $10 US) per person.
- Discoteca Kametsa Cafe Rock - A nightclub on the outskirts of town that is hopping on Saturday nights with a fun and friendly crowd. Plays a heavily Latin mix.
Coffee and cocoa are grown locally not to mention lots of fruit. Art and craft made by the Ashaninkas make good souvenirs also.
Casa de Allen has good burgers in 3 sizes, plus flaming crepes with ice cream. A bit out of town, but near the discoteca, so it's perfect for a dinner and dancing combo night.
- Biofresh ice cream, Jr Ancash. Near the park opposite the church there is a small Biofresh store selling delicious ice creams as well as a small selection of liquors, chocolates and other regional produce. They serve a variety of ice cram flavours including many jungle fruits. The coffee, chocolate and coconut flavours are highly recommended.
- Los Kokis, Jr Tarma. Located opposite the park, down a narrow laneway off Jr Tarma. Los Kokis serves traditional dishes from the jungle, as well as specialty liquors and coffees. Medium to high prices, all a la carte (no cheap set menu).
- Cerveza Artesanal. On the main highway, just down the hill from the bus station is a bar serving artesan beers and liquors.
- Hostal Prince, Jirón Arequipa 323, La Merced, ☎ +51 (064) 531978 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Nice, clean rooms Doble S/.65.00 (that's a room with two single beds).
- Municipalidad Provincial de Chanchamayo, .
The bus station on the main highways has buses and cars to other parts of the jungle, as well as local transport.
- Pichanaki - you can take colectivos (shared taxis) to Pichanaki from the main bus station (10 sol./person), or combis (mini-vans) for around 5 sol./person. The trip takes about 1-1.5 hours.
- Tarma - The Pearl of the Andes.
- Villa Rica