There are many theories about the name’s city origin, it seems coming from several quechua words... but what we know is that Huancavelica was founded in 1571 by the Spanish under the name Villa Rica de Oropesa, since they arrived there for the discovery of mercury mines. Huancavelica stands out for the cultural legacy that the incas and the Spanish that inhabited on the territory left; the colonial architecture still is testimony of it. In the 20th century, Huancavelica faced a terrible social crisis with the departments that are part of the Andean trapezium, which was aggravated by droughts and floods. On the 80s decade the city had to face also terrorism problems, what encouraged a lot of people to migrate from the city to the coast.Nevertheless, nowadays Huancavelica is rising from the bad times and is recovering its stability.In Huancavelica there are numerous sites and archaeological complexes to visit as Mosoqcancha, Antaccocha, Pumaqoria, Astobamba Paturpampa and the petroglyphs of Inka Wayqo and Qeromachay, whose origin comes from 7000 years b.C.
Travel tips for Huancavelica
-In Huancavelica the best means of transportation are the taxi, the mototaxi (so common and low-cost in Peru) and the local buses.-It’s located at an altitude of 3676 meters above the sea level.
Best time to visit Huancavelica
The best moment to visit Huancavelica is the summer, since the weather is nicer than the rest of the year, and it's the time when take place the most important dates and celebrations as the carnival.
Climate in Huancavelica
-Temperatures reach a maximum of 61 °F (16 °C) and a minimum of 35 °F (2 °C). The dry season goes from May to October and the rainy season from November to April. We recommend you to bring warm clothing, the nights are very cold!
Things to do in Huancavelica
Nightlife in Huancavelica
La Taberna Bar Karaoke
Location: 324, Celestino Manchego Muñoz Av. Hours: Everyday from 6:00 p.m. to 00:00 a.m. It’s a funny place to have a drink; for the football lovers, during the championship the bar broadcasts a lot of matches.
Location: 116, Celestino Manchego Muñoz Av. Hours: late evening until early morning Here you can find the most varied music in a nice atmosphere. Fun is assured!
Where to eat in Huancavelica?
Location: 315, Virrey Toledo street, Plaza de Armas Hours: Monday to Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Price: unknown This cafe is located inside a colonial mansion and you can access through the courtyard, it’s a very charming place.
Nesul Café Restaurante
Location: 466, Arica street Hours: Monday to Saturday from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Price: menu at 8 soles They serve lunch and dinner with an interesting gourmet touch.
Location: 303, Virrey Toledo street Hours: unknown Price: unknown You will taste your plate admiring the typical folklore dances of the region and the country.
La Olla de Barro
Location: 305, Agustín Gamarra street Hours: unknown Price: unknown
The tourist places to see in Huancavelica are:
Plaza de Armas
It’s an original colonial style square where you can appreciate the main institutions as the Prefecture and the Municipality.
Cathedral of Huancavelica San Antonio
Churriguereque style, it was built in the 16th and 17th centuries by the “tonsurados” (clergymen who haven’t confirmed yet their sacraments) who started the construction, but the retables and paintings were incorporated subsequently.
San Francisco church
This church, built in 1777, has survived several seismic movements. Its floor in cross shape with a unique nave is built on a mestizo style, commun feature of many Andean temples; in this church is celebrated the scissors dancers competition December the 24th and 25th. January the 6th the Kings Adoration is dramatized.
The things to do in Huancavelica
Mina de Santa Bárbara o Mina de la Muerte
It’s an old mine utilised in times of Viceroyalty. The indigenous population were obligatory to extract the mercury to purify the silver. In this mine we can find traces of the old colonial settlement, as the Spanish crown shield engraved at the entrance rock. Due to the mercury toxicity, the death index was very high and the mothers made their best to avoid that their sons worked there.
Archaeological complex Inkañan Uchkus
It’s located at 15 mi (24 kms) from Huancavelica city. In times it was a religious center and was used as astronomical observation. In one of the platforms you can distinguish water mirrors that allowed to follow the Moon and Sun movements.There was also an agricultural area
Those ruins are located at 12 mi (20 kms) to the south of Huaytará; this archaeological site has stone walls, staircases, several rooms, squares, palaces, stores, canals and cisterns. It’s believed that it was a place where inhabitants celebrated religious ceremonies.
It’s a huge lake located at 45 mi (72 kms) from Huancavelica, between Santa Ana and Pilpichaca.In the lake we can appreciate islands, islets, beaches and a varied Andean flora and fauna, as alpacas, vicunas and lots of birds that attract tourists because of their plumage colour.It’s the biggest of the department, rising of the Pampas River. On the other side of the waters, through the Tambo river, it forms the Santiago river and then the Ica river.
Typical dishes in Huancavelica
It’s a traditional plate with the following main ingredients: white corn or husked wheat, cow meat, mutton, fat, dry meat or “charqui”, leg’s cartilage, head and mutton paunch. It’s prepared on festivals eve.
It’s a plate that has several types of meat: mutton, kid, pork, guinea pig and cow. It’s served with corn, potatoes, field beans, mashed cheese, cheese and ground corn, all of eat cooked on rocks hot, previously warmed covered with “marmaquilla” (a plant) leafs under the floor.
Chuño pasi con kuchi kanka
It’s made of dehydrated potato (“chuño”), scrambled with egg and cheese, and it’s served with roasted piglet.
How to reach Huancavelica
Huancavelica by train
The train with destination Huancavelica is called "Tren Macho" and its departure cities are in Lima and Huancayo. The train tickets cost from 20 to 70 soles depending on the season. The train transports approximately 400 people. The route takes about 6 hours.
Huancavelica by flight
The distance from Lima to Huancavelica is 387 km through the Panamericana Sur highway. As there is no airport in Huancavelica, the nearest one is Jorge Chavez, the international airport of the Peruvian capital, Lima. However, the travel from Lima to Huancavelica takes approximately 6 hours by land.
Huancavelica by bus
-The travel from Lima takes about 12 hours.-The transportation company that covers the route is Megabus.-The bus leaves at 7:00 p.m. from the terminal located in Lima Center, Luna Pizarro Av. And the bus arrives to Celestino Manchego Av., close to the Plaza de Armas.-You can find bus tickets from 50 to 70 soles (depending on the service chosen).
Accomodations in Huancavelica
Gran Hostal La Portada
Location: 252, Virrey Toledo street Price: unknown The hostal has the basic services and it’s closed to the main square of the town. The rooms are clean and have bathroom. The staff provide a good service.
Location: 316, Agustín Gamarra street Price from 72 to 130 soles It’s located at 2 minutes from the Plaza Mayor and they have free wi-fi, rooms with TV and private bathroom, reception 24 hours, terrace, garden and laudry service.
Location: Plaza de Armas of Huancavelica Price: a room with bathroom and breakfast included from 195 soles and up It is very good located, the rooms have TV and hot water. There is a restaurant and free wi-fi. Besides that, there is a free car park on the hotel.
Important dates in Huancavelica
Bajada de Reyes
(January the 6th)
Huancavelica is the scenary of the path of the three wise men to Belem, in honour of the child Occe.This day at 12.00 the three wise men Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar leave from the square of the Yanaco neighborhood with a music band and in each corner the procession stops to listen to the speech of the three wise men.
Fiesta de San Sebastián
(January 19th and 20th)
This festival is celebrated in the San Sebastián church and the procession goes through the main streets of Huancavelica city.
Festividad del Niño Emmanuel
(February the 1st and 2nd)
It’s celebrated every year in the San Cristóbal church. The main dance is the Tana-Tana, where the locals are dressed up on the Spanish and French styles and they dance a choreography, which is an adaptation of the old french dance minuet. The Kichcamachus are the company this date.
Carnival of Huancavelica
It’s celebrated with special dances in all the provinces of Huancavelica. The dancers are part of a big troupe.
Fiesta de las Cruces
(May, for 6 days)
Huancavelica celebrates the crosses festival that starts with the arrival of bands, on the bullfight eve and the crosses ascent with the participation of the neighborhoods of Yananaco.