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June 20, 2011 15:50:17

Train to Huancayo | Highest ride in the Americas

peru
Only the Pan-Himalayan line in Tibet beats this 4,000-plus meters above sea level experience.


By Susana Aguirre

I remember one morning at a Starbucks in Hyde Park, Chicago a couple years back, I met a nice man sipping coffee and reading a newspaper who said he was Lara Flynn Boyle's uncle. I was sitting at the table next to him studying for finals, so the distraction was all the more welcomed. After a few minutes of chit chat he found out I was Peruvian and began to tell me about his youthful adventures.

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May 11, 2010 11:56:07

Discover the best coffee in Peru: Travel to the central jungle

Coffee in Peru's central jungle was born 137 years ago. A six-hour trip from Lima will take you to the origins of this crop.

By Raul Mayo Filio, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Travel on the central highway towards the Chanchamayo valley where descendants of Italian settlers arrived more than a century ago. There you will find farms with some of the best coffee beans in the world.

The regional government of Junín has opened a tourist route that showcases the history and of coffee in the central jungle. While Satipo and Chanchamayo are the most important places in this visit, Villa Rica and Oxapampa, in Pasco, can also be considered.

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May 6, 2010 15:11:42

A small Italian colony retains its culture in the jungle of Peru

El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

In the mountains of Chanchamayo, in a beautiful valley nestled in the central jungle of Peru surrounded by beautiful plantations, there is a little-known Italian colony the past 150 years. Trying to preserve their traditions, some 300 people still live in buildings designed in the nineteenth and twentieth century. This is a beautiful piece of Europe in the center of the country.

The first Italians arrived in the area during the second half of the nineteenth century following the founding of La Merced. In 1871, twelve Italians and three French arrive in the area thanks to the efforts of the European Society of Immigration, an organization whose objective was to move people from the Old to the New World so that they would have a better quality of life due to poverty in Europe at the time. Then, more immigrants arrived.

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April 12, 2010 13:01:02

Visiting giant cedar trees in Peru

By Raul Mayo Filio, El Comercio
Adapted from Spanish by Diana Schwalb

Visiting giant cedar trees in PeruOne of the last virgin forests of Peru is quite close to Lima. It is Pampa Hermosa: a beautiful place declared National Sanctuary by the Ministry of Environment in May of last year.

Located between San Ramón (Chanchamayo) and Huasahuasi (Tarma), in the Junin region, this is a piece of paradise full of crystal clear waterfalls, beautiful and rare orchids, charming and exotic animals, but mostly giant cedars.

To get there you must take the Central Highway to the town of San Ramon, located about six hours from Lima. Then you must travel through a dirt road for 22.4 kilometers, always bordering the left bank of the river Tulumayo, to the Nueva Italia settlement, which is the entrance to the reserve.

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March 26, 2010 15:58:50

The world's second highest train took me to Huancayo, Peru

By Yadira Salazar

Huancayo is located in the central highlands of Peru, in the gorgeous Mantaro valley. It’s not a touristy place and I’ve already been there, so why going back? Well, I wanted to ride the second highest train in the world, a journey with amazing landscapes and the feeling you are on top of the world. Also I wanted to explore the city and surroundings, but as a traveler, not as a tourist.

http://filer.livinginperu.com/travel/travel-huancayo1.JPG900675The second highest train in the world took me to Huancayo, Peru.
Traveling to Huancayo from Lima by train takes 12 hours. You'll go through a pass at 4,800 meters (15,740 feet). (All photos by Yadira Salazar)  click to enlarge
We left at seven in the morning, going east and then up to the mountains. The air was getting drier, which indicated we were getting higher. The landscape was changing too, taller mountains, beautiful blue sky and different vegetation. At the beginning some bushes and trees, later fields (corn, artichokes, among others) and at the highest point just the ichu (the only plant that can survive that high), but while going down to the valley lovely flowers were welcoming the visitors. Along the way there were 69 tunnels, 58 bridges and six zig-zags. Almost seven hours after departure, we reached the highest point: 4,800 meters! It was cold and hard to breathe. After that point, it was down the whole way to Huancayo, which is at 3,200 meters. It was almost 7:30 p.m. when we finally arrived.

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November 23, 2009 21:39:41

Huancayo: On Track

By María Elena Tord

Huancayo: On Track - PeruUp until a couple of years ago, traveling by train in our country was something that we could only experience through out parents’ or grandparents’ stories about these wonderful voyages across the Andes.

Luckily, some railways from the past have been restored and now, once again, serve to easily connect towns in the sierra.

One of these emblematic tracks is the one that joins the cities of Lima and Huancayo in a peculiar journey that takes us through the Mantaro valley which is considered the second highest in the World, alter the one in Tibet.

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August 28, 2007 22:00:59

Tarma: Valley of Flowers, Prayers and Fiesta

Courtesy of

RUMBOS





 

Tarma: Valley of Flowers, Prayers and Fiesta - PeruDubbed “the Pearl of the Andes" by nineteenth-century Italian naturalist Antonio Raimondi, the city of Tarma is an enchanted spot perched in the central highlands, riddled with narrow streets and fertile fields that take on a new lease of life, color and mysticism during the Easter Week festivities.

As the road begins the descent from the town of Las Vegas to the fertile valley that dazzled Raimondi, Tarma emerges as a vision. Nestling amongst the fresh green hills that shelter the town from the highland winds, the city hums with the bustle of the festival that moves through the streets and spills over into neighboring villages. Everyone is getting ready to celebrate Easter Week.

Tarma: Valley of Flowers, Prayers and Fiesta - Peru Tarma is a region of fertile lands, clear blue skies and a patchwork of cropfields which are gilded by the setting sun. Tarma lies to the northwest of the Mantaro Valley, just four hours from Lima. One can reach the city by the Central Highway, which runs up to the town of La Oroya, where visitors should take the detour that leads down to the lower jungle valley of Chanchamayo. Along this route, some 235 kilometers from the capital, lies Tarma.

 Local researcher Federico Phillips claims the city, the birthplace former President Manuel Odría, was founded on July 26, 1538 with the name Santa Ana. A year later, the town was occupied by 150 Spaniards, most of them from Seville, whose custom of carpeting the streets with flower petals during Easter Week was to become highly popular over the years.

The ancient settlers in this region were the Taramas, a minor tribe which for five centuries fought for domination of the valley with the Pumpus and the war-like Huancas, until all of them were subdued by the Incas. The terracing and ruins at Tarmatambo are a mute testimony to these ancient cultures, as well as the archaeological sites of Collapata, Murallapunta, Shoguemarca and Yanamarca.

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April 10, 2007 16:24:40

Peru: Long Live the Junin Grebe

Courtesy of

RUMBOS






Text and photos by Alejandro Tello

http://filer.livinginperu.com/travel/img/zambullidor/zambullidor1.jpg600409Peru: Long Live the Junin Grebe
Dawn breaks in a brief explosion of magical color.
© LIP
(LIP-jl) -- The Junin Grebe, a beautiful and critically endangered species that lives only on Lake Chinchaycocha, is a prospective casualty of “progress”. Alejandro Tello, who has studied Peru’s wetlands, reflects on the serious danger facing this rare bird.

The noise that descended like a physical thing across the entire lake sounded like a plane landing in the near distance. At least that is how it appeared to me as we floated in the middle of Lake Chinchaycocha (also known as Lake Junin or the Lake
of Kings).

Our boat was made from extremely thin tin sheets that had been hammered onto a very fragile-looking wooden frame. It was designed for hunting frogs, which was the normal line of work that Juan, one of our guides, usually undertook. Standing and leaning on his ‘oar’ (a pole with a bit of metal on the end), he steered us over the water. On this excursion the weight of an extra passenger was making our journey somewhat hazardous and Juan’s movements had to be calculated and precise.

We made our way through flocks of hundreds of puna ibis (Plegadis ridgwayi) and Andean geese (Chloephaga melanoptera), as well as other high altitude Andean birds, towards a horizon where the new dawn was casting its hues and reflections over this immense freshwater lake. This is Peru’s second largest lake, hence the name “Lake of Kings”.

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