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Andahuaylas rests midway between Ayacucho and Cusco (24 hours by bus to each), and serves as a popular stopping off place for travelers who want to recharge and spend the night in order to enjoy the beautiful scenery by bus during the day. Located in the Apurimac region of Peru, Andahuaylas has a long history of political turmoil. Beginning in the time of the Incas, fierce warriors called the Chancas controlled the Apurimac region and later in the 18th century, the area saw political turmoil due to Tupac Amaru, the last indigenous leader of the Inca state, standing up to the abuses committed by the authorities. Today many of the villages in the Aupurimac region maintain their ancestral traditions and Andahuaylas is no exception.

The El Chumbao Colonial Bridge is the access point for the Huancabamba Airport and the road to Lima. This area is filled with colonial architecture, and the buildings are made of freestone. A small path made entirely from carved stone runs through the city. The main church is the Cathedral of San Pedro, located in the main square where there is also a fountain made out of one piece of stone. Outside of the city of Andahuaylas, but still located in the Andahuaylas province, is the Sondor Archeological Complex, where ruins dating back to the Chanca culture (600-900 AD) can be toured. The pyramid-shaped structures point toward Lake Pacucha, only a 15-minute drive from the ruins. The intense blue water of Lake Pacucha is a nice way to spend an afternoon relaxing after walking through the nearby ruins.

Back in town near the main plaza there is a very large military presence, though violence in the area is very low. Police and military swarm the plaza and nearby streets, some with riot gear and others with nightsticks; however, it is very difficult to imagine any large fights or crime in this tiny mountainous town.

Parque Centenario is a small, fairly modern park where street vendors sell tea and cakes and small children play on the swing-sets. The park is a nice way to spend a few hours while waiting for the unreliable buses that pass through. If caught during the rainy season, a nice way to pass the time is by catching a movie at the movie theater on the 300 block of Cuzco. This red, modern building can鈥檛 be missed and there are usually two movie options (beware, most movies are dubbed in Spanish).

The best time to visit Andahuaylas is during the dry season, from April to October. Try to avoid the rainy season, which runs from November to March, when the roads get muddy and make it difficult to pass through. If possible, try to visit during the town's Apurimac Tourist Week, from July 31-August 3, when cock fighting and adventure sports competitions such as whitewater rafting, paragliding and mountain biking takes place. There are dances and traditional food such as tallarin hecho en casa (homemade noodles served with a chicken, beef or lamb stew and dehydrated potatoes) as well.

But if you miss the annual festival, local delicacies can still be found at Caldos de Gallina on the corner of the plaza and Jir贸n Lima, where chicken soup is served with corn, tomato, cilantro, aj铆 and lime on the side to add to your taste. If chicken soup isn鈥檛 your thing try, the 400 block of Cuzco; Don Franciso Restaurant has the best ceviche in town ($1.50-4).

Hostels in Andahuaylas are cheap; think about $5 for a single room with private bathroom and $8 for a double room with private bathroom and cable. Hotel Residencia Victoria on 305 Arequipa is a good clean option, but charges an extra $1.30 for hot water. Hostal Zegra has similar prices and amenities on 301 Cuzco.

Internet and phone access in town is limited, but there is a semi-reliable Internet caf茅 at 400 Jir贸n Lima. A BCP ATM is located on Libertad across from the large statue off of Jir贸n Lima. Laundry can be found on Jir贸n Junin and Arequipa.


Other places nearby Andahuaylas: Cochas Grande/Cochas Chico, San Jer贸nimo de Tun谩n, Jun铆n, Huancayo, Huancavelica, Ayacucho, Hualhuas and Hu谩nuco.

By Michelle Lillie
I am currently living on my fourth continent. I think that backpacks are one of the greatest inventions of all times. I adhere to the idea that if...
25 Jan 2012

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