Huancavelica is the capital of the department of Huancavelica. The population is about 37,000, altitude 3,680 m (12,073 ft). Huancavelica is surrounded by 4000m high mountains that give a fantastic panorama. The Plaza de Armas is especially tranquil and beautiful because cars are not permitted. Around the plaza, many colonial buildings dominate the view.
Try to visit Huancavelica during one of their major annual festivals in order to witness true traditional fiestas which include traditional costumes, dances, foods, and ceremonies. A few of the festivals include: La Danza de las Tijeras (around 22nd-27th of December) is a week of dances, ceremonies and bull runs. El Baile de los Negros (around 18th of January until the 22nd of January)is a week of dances, partying and traditional food. Semana Santa (around the end of March and beginning of April) is the religious holiday of holy week and Easter. In Huancavelica the week includes making carpets of flowers in the Plaza de Armas, nightly processions of followers carrying giant idols of religious figures, fights between men from the different communities around Huancavelica, horse races, and traditional food. The Pentecost Festival (around the end of May to beginning of June) includes a week of dances, partying and bull fights.
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.
TRAVEL DURING THE DAY IS RECOMMENDED FOR ALL AREAS IN/AROUND HUANCAVELICA (lately there have been a number of robberies on non-direct route buses (buses that stop along the way to pickup and drop-off passengers) traveling at night- writing June 2013)
Train service from Huancayo runs three times a week, leaving from Huancayo at 6:30AM on Mon/Wed/Fri and costs 9 soles for a seat in the normal car and 13 soles for a seat in the "buffet" car where there is food available for purchase. The journey takes about 5 hours.
BUS Empresa Ticllas (Av. Ferrocarril 1590 Huancayo) offers daily bus service to Huancavelica basically every hour, costs 13+ soles. Trip is 4 hours.
Shared Taxi´s are taken from right around the Ticllas 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.
Train service from Huancavelica runs three times a week, leaving Huancavelica at 6:30am on Tue/Thur/Sat and costs 9 soles for normal car and 13 soles for "buffet" car.
Bus Empresa Ticllas (ticket office: Av. Manchego Muñoz 621 Huancavelica phone: (067)451561, bus station where buses actually depart: Av. Los Incas 200 Huancavelica) offers bus service 7 days a week to Huancayo. Schedule of daily (though Mondays vary) departures as of June 2013: 8:00am, 9:15am, 10:30am, 11:45am, 1:00pm, 2:15pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 8:30pm, 10:00pm, 10:30pm
Shared Taxi`s leave Huancavelica from around 3:00am until around 9:00pm near the corner of Manchego Muñoz & Jr. Gonzales Prada and cost 25-30 soles. Look for drivers on the street calling "Huancayo!" The trip takes 3-3.5 hours.
From Ayacucho (note: dirt roads may be impassible in the rainy season)
Bus company Molina offers a direct service from Ayacucho to Huancavelica daily, leaving Ayacucho at 9:00pm and arriving in Huancavelica around 2:30am or 3:00am. Costs 40 soles and is service executive (1 floor bus, with bathroom and heat). This bus is a DIRECT service meaning they do not stop along the way to pickup or dropoff passengers, making this a safe and secure trip.
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).
Bus company Molina (Manchego Muñoz No. 608 Huancavelica, tele: 067-452613, RPM #942053944) offers a direct bus service to Ayacucho leaving Huancavelica around 12:00am (midnight) and arriving in Ayacucho around 7:00am (7 hours). Costs 40 soles and is a basic service (no cama seats or food service). This bus is a DIRECT service meaning they do not stop along the way to pickup or drop-off passengers, making this a safe and secure trip.
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.
Bus company Lobato (Av. 28 de Julio No. 2101 La Victoria, Lima. tele: 01-4749488, RPM #918800, RPC 994629100, www.expresolobato.com) offers a "bus cama" service to Huancavelica daily, leaving at 7:15pm (12 hour trip). Costs
Bus company Molina (Av. 28 de Julio No. 1865 La Victoria, Lima) offers two services to Huancavelica daily, bus cama and basic. "Bus cama" service is a 2 story bus with food service which leaves Lima at 7:30pm and costs 60 soles for 1st floor cama seats and 40 soles for 2nd floor semi-cama seats. The "basic" service bus is one floor only and leaves Lima at 8:00pm and costs 35 soles.
Bus company Antezana (Terminal Zabala in the centro de Lima) offers a "bus cama" service to Huancavelica daily. Leaves Lima from the Terminal Zabala at 7:00pm and costs 60 soles for 1st floor cama seats and 40 soles for 2nd floor semi-cama seats.
Bus company Oropesa (Jr. Montevideo No. 618 Centro de Lima) offers a "basic" service to Huancavelica Monday thru Saturday, leaving Lima at 7:15pm and costs 40 soles. On Sundays a "bus cama" service replaces the basic service which costs 60 soles for 1st floor and 50 soles for 2nd floor, and leaves Lima at the same time, 7:15pm.
Bus company Molina (Manchego Muñoz No. 608 Huancavelica, tele: RPM #942053944, 067-452613) offers a "bus cama" service to Lima daily, leaving at 8:00pm and arriving at 8:00am (12 hours). Costs 60 soles for 1st floor cama seats and 40 soles for 2nd floor semi-cama seats.
Bus company Lobato (Jr. O´Donovan No. 519 Plaza Santa Ana, Huancavelica, tele: 067-368264, 994629108, www.expresolobato.com) offers a "bus cama" service to Lima daily, leaving at 7:15pm and arriving at 7:15am (12 hours). Seats on 1st floor cost 45 soles, 2nd floor cost 35 soles. Buses leave from the Terminal Terrestre Alberto Benavides de la Quintana which is located behind the Hospital de Seguro in Ascencion.
Bus company Expreso Antezana (Manchego Muñoz No. 616 Huancavelica, tele: 067-453455) offers a "bus cama" service to Lima daily, leaving at 7:45pm and arriving around 7:45am (they say 11 to 12 hour trip). Costs 35 soles everyday except Friday when the price is 40 soles. There is a snack service onboard in the evening.
Bus company Oropesa (Manchego Muñoz No. 610 Huancavelica, tele: claro 967701024) offers a "semi-cama" service to Lima daily, leaving at 7:30pm (12 hour trip). Costs 40 soles.
Bus company Oropesa (Calle Lambayeque No. 250 Ica) offers two "basic" services to Huancavelica daily. One leaves Ica at 5:00pm and costs 40 soles. The other leaves Ica at 7:00pm and costs 45 soles. 8 hour trip.
Bus company Oropesa (Manchego Muñoz No. 610 Huancavelica, tele: claro 967701024) offers a "basic" service to Ica which costs 35 soles. Bus leaves everyday at 7:00pm and in addition to daily service they offer service Sundays at 4:00pm and Mondays at 3:30am. 8 hour trip.
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)for a taxi in the city.
Most of the churches are open between 5PM and 7PM. They are worth a visit.
Museum- Museo Direccion Regional de Cultura Huancavelica, Jr. Antonio Raymondi No. 193 (located in the small plaza across from the Santa Rosa Church), ☎ 067-453420. 8:00am-1:00pm and then again 3:00pm-6:00pm. Visit this small, but very quaint museum and you´ll see artifacts including ceramics and textiles dating from cultures predating the Incas until the present day. There are even MUMMIES!! Ask if the archaeologist is on duty to give you a guided tour. Inside the museum is an auditorium where you can see displays of the current local festivals. Visit the bookstore and pickup a book written by local Huancavelicanos (all in Spanish of course), there are also posters and games for purchase. admission is free.
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 Huancavelica, 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.
Qampaq Art, Jr. Arica No. 230 Huancavelica (leaving the Plaza de Armas from the SW corner, head west down Jr. Arica for half a block and on the right hand side is Qampaq), ☎ 949777953. 10am-1pm and 3pm-8pm, monday-saturday. Boutique with locally hand-made knitted and crocheted alpaca sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, pillow cases, head-bands, etc.
Pacha Artesanas, Manchego Muñoz No. 420. 9:00am-10:00pm, daily. An artisan-lovers paradise, this store has everything from the mass-produced alpaca sweaters and woven hand-bags to authentic, locally made scarves, gloves and leg-warmers. The owners have their own workshop located in Yauli where they employ 25 workers who knit, crochet and create items sold in the store. Ask which items are locally made.
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).
Tahantinsuyu 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 JUGOS). 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.
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)
Tres Chanchitos Chicharroneria, Augustin Gamarra No. 208, ☎ 958943397. 4pm-10pm. Get your fill of delicious chicharron, fried pork rinds, here! Every order of chicharron comes with boiled potatoes, corn and a salad of onions. Order the "especial" and you get fried sweet potatoes too. They also serve tamales, a variety of sandwiches including sausage and sweet potato, and a quinoa and apple drink.5-10 soles.
Ariana Discoteca, Augustin Gamarra (between Manco Capac & Versalles). 9pm-late. The most popular discoteca in Huancavelica.
Oasis, Manchego Muñoz No. 110 (2nd floor) (half a block down Manchego Muñoz from the Plaza de Armas). 9pm-late. Your typical bar with cozy couch-style seating and all types of mixed drinks and beer, accompanied by incredibly loud rock music.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org+ 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.