(Approximate reading time: 18 minutes)
The good thing about Peru is, that you can have it all. The Andean country has 90 different microclimates, including 30 of the 32 world climates, making it one of the most diverse countries in the world in microclimates. So what ever you want to see, be sure that Peru can offer it to you!
Six hours away from Lima you can find an authentic and green area in the mountains, called ‘Reserva Paisajistica Nor Yauyos-Cochas’. I had the opportunity to travel to Huancaya, a very small village in the Peruvian mountains:
Needless to say, that it is a green area in the mountains, you can already see that yourself at Google Maps. What you can not see yourself are the following pictures and videos I made during the last weekend. I was really astonished, because I like hiking, mountains and being in the nature. So for me it was a wonderful relaxing weekend.
What also helped relaxing and disconnecting, was the situation with the cell reception. I could not receive a signal with my mobile phone and a world without mobile phone and internet can be beautifully relaxing and efficient. Why efficient? Because I felt living more time at the same day and wasting less time with our modern times, where you are fully dependent on the Internet, WhatsApp, communication, etc. It was very refreshing to see on the one hand how slow, rhythmic and stable the life in these segregated communities works. On the other hand it helps to gain more empathy in transforming your mind in a living scenario where is no use of internet and mobile phones or any hospitals, supermarkets or discotheques exist. For the generic urban blockhead like me it is a good challenge and exercise to change suddenly your usual behavior and adapt to new and unknown environment. But I do really like it, because the expected ordinary life with all the repetitive occurrences let routine and boredom emerge.
Every new situation and incident is always welcome and doesn’t shriek me off. Far from it! I’m even looking for these challenges and therefor I can consider the trip to Huancaya a welcome opportunity and change to see and discover something new.
Huancaya should not be mistaken with Huancayo. Huancaya is a village of maybe 400 people whereas Huancayo is a city of 400.000 habitants. What can also confuse is the distance of these two localities, because they are only 137 kilometers away from each other or three hours with the car. If you now notized, that three hours with the car is quite a lot for 137 kilometers, you’ll probably understand as well, that the consistency and quality of the Peruvian streets – especially in the mountain areas – might not be the best.
If you now noticed, that three hours with the car is quite a lot for only 137 kilometers, you’ll probably understand as well, that the consistency and quality of the Peruvian streets – especially in the mountain areas – might not be the best.
The architecture of the buildings and streets Huancaya is quite simple. I only made a few pictures of the buildings there, but they use mostly stones and simple tin roofs to construct their houses.
Generally, they even don’t heat their own houses, although it was bitterly cold. Rather putting on additional clothing to not freeze. And the nights can be very cold there. Especially at the end of Aptil, when I visited Huancaya. So that’s why I wear in most of the pictures and videos warm clothes as well, because it was simply too cold to put on only a shirt.
I went with Pakary Travel, a specialist for Tours to Huancaya and Vilca, for one night or two days to Huancaya. The travel schedule and program they set up was very stiff and there was not much time to stay somewhere. All was more focused on seeing as much as possible, especially nature. The focus they set was on hiking experiences and water sports, things I like to do very much.
Everyone who has ever heard of ‘Ciudad Perdida’ knows what the following pictures are about. Peru, respectively the Huancaya region has an own little abandoned village as well:
Only rests of stones of approximately 15 buildings are still standing in the hilly area. Knowing, that this is of course not as impressive as ‘Ciudad Perdida’, it is very similar, that there is an abandoned ghost town (or village) and no one knows what has happened to its population. After years, decades or centuries, the buildings collapsed and only loose heap of stones remained in place.
One of the local Huancayan specialities is the ‘Trucha’ (trout) and you can see on the following video a fresh preparation of it:
I had the opportunity to try one of them and I must say, that the Peruvian trout is a very tasty fish with only a few fishbones.
Huancaya is on 3,554 m and the mountains where I was hiking almost on 4,000 m. Typically the altitude sickness occurs above 2,400 meters and I was in the past also very sensitive to that. No matter if I was in Huaraz, Quito or Cajamarca, I always have had problems with places who are in high or very high altitudes. This time I haven’t had any problems and I am very glad about that, because I could enjoy my time in Huancaya to the fullest.
And speaking about enjoying to the fullest, it’s always a question what type of personality you are. Some people like deserts, some people like fluvial areas and some people beaches. At a beach area I get bored after more than two days, because there is quite less to see and do. Same happened to me in Mancora, when I traveled there in early March. But in these green areas like forests, jungles or these mountain areas I feel very good! Not only because of the landscapes, but they are supporting to the happiness, that delights me, when I see things like this:
Was ‘Lord of the Rings’ shot in New Zealand or in Peru?
This wonderful natural landscape I filmed during a hiking tour in the Huancaya region of ‘Reserva Paisajistica Nor Yauyos-Cochas’ to the so-called ‘Bosque del Amor’, the forest of love.
A perfect place to go for a challenging hiking tour and if you’re lucky with the weather, you’ll soak up the sun on a stone plateau. Almost everything there consists of mountains, green scenery and water. The air is purified clean and respiration was never that pleasant for my urban lungs.
‘Bosque del amor’ had a really dense vegetation of different trees. It happened a few times, that I hit my head on a branch.
I don’t really know, why they call it the forest of love, but I couldn’t find it there. Maybe I have to go to Paris, the “City of love’, soon to manage that. Although I love all this nature and hiking experiences, I could not survive for long in a mountain area. There are too many urban temptations, the mountains can not fulfill or compensate. But being in the mountains for a while is always a good and balancing alternative to relax and disconnect from all the city lifestyle stress.
On the following two pictures you can see, that I am on my way to ‘Laguna Huallhua’ and ‘Cascada de Chuchupasca’.
Huancaya is a waterlogged area where you are surrounded of sheer unlimited water resources. Waterfalls which rise from the 4.000m high mountains flow down and sometimes agglomerate in one of these beautiful lagoons. Does it sound too childish, if a ‘that’s amazing’ would follow a ‘Wow’?
Anyway, I was visiting ‘Laguna de Huallhua’, which had cristal clear water. I can not remember, if I could see before in my life from the water surface to the lake bed. All thanks to freshly sputtered natural spring water and no pollution in the air. The right boat was the transport to the waterfalls. No engine, no gasoline, only manpower was rowing the passengers to the waterfalls.
The man on the right side of the first picture – our ferryman – was already old, I would guess maybe 55+. Nonetheless, he was capable to row his boat and 11 passengers for a few kilometers to ‘Cascada de Chuchupasca’. My deepest respect to him, he told me, that he is doing that back and forth for about ten times a day. With his performances he could as well qualify for the next Peruvian rowing team for the Olympics.
The waterfalls are A wonderful place to go and relax and their roaring noises of the water can calm someone down. Water in general has a relaxing effect on me. No matter if it is rain or the sound of the sea or a waterfall: The noise of the nature relaxes my mind.
Many bridges in the Huancaya area are not build out of stone or concrete, but simply made out of wood:
If you got scared now, because I was not using my hands for the suspension bridge, don’t worry: I had everything under control 🙂
Nature, nature, nature. I can not stop to upload more pictures and videos and get happy again because of all these beautiful memories that rise up again to my mind. When was the last time, that you saw something beautiful like that:
Can you see me on the following pictures? Human is so small in comparison to the mountains…
Animals play a key role when you go into the nature and see something new. There are many many interesting birds flying around the Huancaya area. I couldn’t capture pictures or photos of them, because they were simply too fast. But I am not a professional bird watcher, so I could only take videos from these animals.
According to their voices, the first two animals sound hungry to me. The cat and dog fight is just a traditional conflict, that will probably continue forever.
Wow, I see now, that I already made it up to more than 1,700 words until now. Maybe it’s better to find an ending before the ending finds me. Although I could continue with a lot of stories more, I don’t want to overcharge my readers. So I want to let the nature speak again with a few videos and say ‘See you next time at my ensuing blog post again’