Overview

The Inca heartland in the east, the hiking territory of Cordillera Blanca and Cajamarca/Kuelap further north, Lake Titicaca to the south: these areas of the Peruvian Andes are relatively well trodden by visitors. But to the north and west of Cusco there is an equally beautiful and culturally rich mountainous region speckled with historic colonial towns only now beginning to attract visitors, following a period of political instability happily now resolved.

Ayacucho, 2,761m, is the jewel in the crown of the region, a Spanish colonial glorious city of at least 33 baroque churches, its cobbled streets resonating with atmosphere. South of the city, Andahuaylas, 2,926m, and Abancay, 2,377m, are worth a look. Further north is the market city Huancayo, 3,259m, reached from the coast by road or rail on one of the world’s most dramatic train journeys, and the ancient indigenous town Huancavelica, 3,676m. The fertile Mantaro gorge and valley shows off the contrasts of Andean scenery at its best while Tarma, 3,053m, one of the oldest towns in Peru and famous for its many festivals, is the principal flower growing region, the terraces around it a riot of colour.

This remote region is not short of archaeological sites, one of the most important being the Inca ruins at Huánuco Viejo, and the 4,000 year old temple of Kotosh.

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Where to go when - our guide to Ayacucho and central Andes

Ayacucho

The weather in Ayacucho and central Andes is wide and varied

Located at some 2700 metres above sea level and in a fertile valley, Ayacucho enjoys plenty of sunshine and a temperate climate for much of the year. Rainfall is modest, with most occurring between November and March. April through to October are the drier, cooler months in both the city and the central Andes. Temperatures can drop dramatically at night in the higher altitudes, particularly in July and August.

View our Ayacucho and central Andes weather guide

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Meet our team

Real Latin american experts

  • Sally Dodge
    Sally Dodge - Travel Expert

    A former Journey Latin America tour leader, Sally spent 7 years working, travelling and living throughout Latin America before returning to the UK to help people arrange their own adventures to this wonderful destination.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Expert

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.

  • CarrieGallagher2
    Carrie Gallagher - Travel Expert

    A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours department.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

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