Huancavelica is the capital of the department of Huancavelica. The population is about 37,000, altitude 3,680 m. Huancavelica is surrounded by about 4000 m high mountains that give a fantastic panorama. Around the plaza, many colonial buildings dominate the view.
The Tourist Office is very helpful, Jr. Victoria Garma 444 (next to the marked hall) and also at the main plaza, Tele-fax 064-752938.
Train service from Huancayo is now (Nov. 2012) reduced to three times a week, leaving from Huancayo at 6;30AM on Mon/Wed/Fri and from Huancavelica at 6:30 AM on Tue/Thu/Sat. The journey takes about 5 hours.
BUS Empresa Ticllas (Av. Ferrocarril 1590 Huancayo) offers bus service to Huancavelica basically every hour, everyday, costs 13+ soles. Trip is 4 hours.
Shared Taxi´s are taken from right around the bus station and cost 25-30 Soles, and takes 3-3.5 hours because they drive very fast and often dangerously. The road is now paved so the trip competes with the train for comfort now.
From Ayacucho (note: dirt roads may be impassible in the rainy season)
The direct way via colectivo to Julcamarca, a second colectivo to Lircay, and a third colectivo to Huancavelica (all dirt roads). With luck and an early start, you could make it through in one day. Basic accomodation is available in Julcamarca and Lircay, if necessary.
Via Rumichaca and St. Ines. Take a 5:30 am shared van (Transporte Lalo's. tel (066)791710, on Via Los Libertadores, near "26 de enero" market, next to Grifo Ayacucho gas station) to Rumichaca (paved and in good condition), or morning bus before 7am heading the coast (but you may have to pay the fare to Lima), and then catch a bus to Huancavelica (departure 11 AM, dirt road). The landscape is unique and impressive, most of it is between 4000 and 5000 m above sea level.
Take the morning bus to Huancayo, get off at Izuchaca (8-10 hours) where the dirt road becomes paved, and then catch onward local transport to Huancavelica (~1 hour).
To Ayacucho Do the above in reverse.
Colectivos to Lircay, Julcamarca, and the Ayacucho. An early start is required if you are going to get through in one day.
Via Rumichaca: The bus leaves at 4.30 AM(!) from Plaza Tumpac Amaru del Barrio de Yananaco to Rumichaca (dirt road, very impressive landscape, 6h). The bus company San Juan Bautista at Plaza Tupac Amaru sells tickets. From Rumichaca, take one of buses that go from the coast to Ayacucho (paved road). Most of these do not pass through Rumichaca until mid-afternoon.
Take local transport to Izuchaca, and catch the Huancayo to Ayacucho bus from there around 8 or so.
Not a problem. Distances are small, just walk. If you need a taxi, look for one that does NOT have a number plate on top, those are colectivos and have their set route, don't pay more than 3 Soles ($1.16 US) in the city.
Most of the churches are open between 5PM and 7PM. They are worth a visit.
Thermal baths with water temperatures between 18 and 22°C. Located off of Av. 28 de Abril (leave the Plaza de Armas heading N. on Manco Capac, follow this street over the bridge that crosses the River Ichu and follow the large staircase up to the top, cross the street and you´re at the pools.) There are a few large pools which are perfect on a nice, sunny day and also private pools for private bathing. Open 5:30am-3:00pm. Costs around 1 sol to enter the public pools and 3 soles for a private bath. The basins are refilled every day in the early morning hours. So, the earlier you come, the warmer the water.
Cerro Señor de Oropesa, (from the train station, hike up the grassy field, cross the highway called Los Chankas, and continue climbing up past houses and you will see the beginning of the staircase, follow the stairs all the way up to the top of the cerro). Hike to the top of the mountain "Cerro de Señor de Oropesa" to see beautiful views of the the city. It is said that the city of Huancavelica is shaped perfectly to resemble the map of Peru, from here you can see for yourself. There is a church built at the top which you can enter and wander around. Every year during the Fiesta de las Cruzes (Festival of the Crosses)in May, the people of Huancavelica (everyone from kids, mothers with children strapped to their backs, and little old ladies) climb to the top of the three cerros around the city (including Cerro Señor de Oropesa) and carry each large cross down into the cities churches. The crosses remain in the city until June when the end of the festival is marked by the annual bull fight, and after this the people again hike up to the cerros with the crosses and put them back into their proper places at the tops of the three cerros. Climb the paved and stair-cased path which will take around 1-2 hours, depending on your physical condition. Do the hike in the morning to avoid the strong mid-day sun and heat, though there are many shady trees and resting places along the way.
Artesan Crafts, Av. Celestino Manchego Munoz (along the main street in the center of Hauncavelica, under the awnings of the big blue Municipal building). Along this street, many vendors have their tables set up everyday selling sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, jewelry, things that are mostly mass-produced and can be found anywhere in Peru, but some of them have hand-made, authentic items with designs that are authentic to this area of Peru. Look past the actual tables and you´ll see some vendors have a tarp on the ground, these women bring their hand-made garments from their villages outside of Huancavelica. These women often have their artisan association or collective and buying from them helps their community immensely as these people are among the poorest in all of Peru.
Sunday Fair, Av. Huancavelica (street that follows the river) (from the Plaza de Armas, take any street heading N. down towards the river and you´ll see all the vendors). sundays only. morning-afternoon. Sunday Fair. Vendors from the towns and villages outside of the city come to Huancavelica every Sunday to sell artisan crafts, fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, dvds, clothes, household items, and even live chickens and cuys (guinea pigs). Here you can find more authentic artisan crafts as the women from the outlying villages come every Sunday to sell.
Shops along Passageway Versalles, passageway Versalles (just off the Plaza de Armas). morning-evening. Along the passageway Versalles you can find the artisan crafts that are mass-produced and can be found in many places in Peru, alpaca sweaters, scarves, hats, keychains, etc.
In Huancavelica the food is very low-priced in comparison to other parts of Peru.
Los Portales, Virrey Toledo (Right on the Plaza de Armas, north side of plaza next to where books are sold). morning-night. Los Portales has nice breakfasts, americano and others, sandwiches, hamburgers and juices all at very good prices. Their chocolate cake, apple pie and chard pie (like a quiche) are all wonderful too!
Cafe Peru, corner of Augustin Gamarra and small passageway with no name (Leaving the Plaza de Armas onto the pedestrian street (Virrey Toledo) take the 1st right down a little pedestrian street, at the bottom of the little hill on the corner is the restaurant). morning-. Cafe Peru has a good 8 sole lunch menu. Menu comes with appetizer, soup, main dish (about 6 to choose from), sugared drink and dessert. Menus are normally served from around 12 noon until 2:30pm when they run out. They also have a carta (menu of dishes they can prepare).
Tawantinsuyu Jugueria, Celestino Manchego Munoz (leaving the Plaza de Armas on the south-east corner, onto the big main street, go 1.5 blocks and its on your left, a big colorful sign over the door reads FRUTAS). morning-night. This jugueria has the best fruit salad in town!! With a large variety of fruits, the salad comes with honey, yogurt and cereals. Along with great sandwiches, burgers, juices and fruit and vegi extract juices (yes, they have a real juicer so you can get your fix of carrot or beet juice!) Always super busy with locals, prices are very good.
Restaurant Joy, Virrey Toledo (right off the Plaza de Armas on the pedestrian street(virrey toledo), has a colorfully painted door). morning-evening, are closed saturdays & sundays. Restaurant Joy has a pretty large menu (carta) with trucha, chicken, and beef dishes, also they have soups, small salads, sandwiches, tortillas (omellets), and crepes. One of the better options in town. Although they no longer have lunch menus, they do prepare special dishes everyday at lunchtime. Open for breakfast until dinner.
La Olla de Barro (The Ceramic Pot), Augustin Gamarra (on Augustin Gamarra, heading west on the left side of the street, look for Olva Courier, the resturant shares an entry-way with Olva Courier). lunch. Serves a good lunch menu, includes a soup, main dish (3+ to choose from), refresco (sugared tea), and dessert for around 6 soles. Serves menu from around 12noon until 2:30pm when the menu runs out, so come early. Also has other plates to prepare, called "extras". One of the better menus in town, as the place is packed at lunch time.
Mikuna Wasi (House of Food in Quechua), Torre Tagle (on the street Torre Tagle between Carabaya & Sebastian Barranca, located on the corner where Carabaya meets Torre Tagle). This strangely small restaurant has only two tables downstairs and an upstairs with about five other tables, but is definitetly worth the squish. The food is excellent! They have a delicios lunch menu which includes soup, main dish (3 to choose from), refresco and dessert. They also have a large "carta" with dishes to prepare, with everything from fried chicken to soups and salads. They really cook well here! Highly recommended.
Mochica Sanchun, Av Virrey Toledo 303. Dont think this place exists anymore, I will find out and edit this post.
Hotel Presidente, Plaza de Armas, Chinese menu and à la carte. Probably the best food in town, definitely the most expensive (items around 25 soles, which is expensive for Huancavelica but pretty normal in the rest of Peru)
Ariana Discoteca, Augustin Gamarra (between Manco Capac & Versalles). 9pm-late. The most popular discoteca in Huancavelica.
Hotel Presidente, Plaza de Armas, ☎ +51 (067) 452760 or Rpm: * 339564, . The nicest and most expensive hotel in town. Obviously there´s plenty of hot water and you can even request a heater in your room. There´s a nice restaurant on the first floor. Prices seem to be higher on their website, cheaper if you arrive and ask. email@example.com+ soles/night.
La Portada, Virrey Toledo 252 (on Virrey Toledo right across the street from La Iglesia Santo Domingo, or between the streets Carabaya & Sebastian Barranca). This is my pick for hostels in Huancavelica. This 31-room hostel offers rooms with private and shared bathrooms. Rooms with a shared bathroom are a basic military-styled bare walled room with a single or double bed. Located on the first floor, the shared bathroom with 24-hour water is lacking a toilet seat, but is cleaned often. Rooms with a private bathroom are a completely different story. With TVs, brightly painted walls and matching bed linens, the top two floors overlook the nearby church and mountains. The price is almost double for these rooms. Very clean rooms, hot water 24 hours a day, there´s a lounge to receive guests and the staff have their small kitchen they can open for you to heat up leftovers. Staff is very nice and friendly. Rooms without private bathroom: around 15 soles, depending if it´s one person or two Rooms with private bathroom: around 50 soles, again depending if it´s one or more person15-50+ soles.
Santa Barbara is a very old mining village, founded just after the conquista. It was abandoned in the late 80's. You still can see the mining plants and tunnels as they were. The church gives an impression of the former richness. Take a taxi (ask the driver to wait, otherwise you have to walk back) or make a day trip by feet. It is on the other side of the mountain with the remarkable antennas on the top.
Yauli Saturday Fair Shop for more authentic artisan crafts and see how the people from the countryside dressed in their beautifully intricate traditional clothing come into "town" to shop for the week. Vendors sell everything from fresh veggies to artisan crafts to modern clothing to dvds. There is a good restaurant where you can have lunch with the locals. From the Plaza de Armas, climb the staircase up to the first road and on the corner there´s a convenience store and upstairs is the restaurant. Yauli is a small town 45 minutes away from Huancavelica by combi bus. Take a combi from the bus station on Av. Huancavelica & Av. Sebastian Barranca. Combis leave every day as soon as one fills with passengers. Costs around 5 soles. Very beautiful ride into the countryside. Go early because the fair ends in the afternoon and easier to get transportation back to Huancavelica before the evening. **Leaving Yauli for Huancavelica, look for combis leaving from the Plaza de Armas.