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Ayacucho, Peru - City Of 30+ Churches, Region Known For Folk Handicrafts

Peru travel blog by Mark Berman - August 2011   » View Photoset (72 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for 10yrs!
Ayacucho is definitely the most underrated and undervisited city by tourists and backpackers in Peru. I had come to Ayacucho on an 8hr bus from Huancayo through some
Peru Photo - The nice countryside as we get closer to Ayacucho.
The nice countryside as we get closer to Ayacucho.
amazing terrains and landscapes.

Bus Huancayo to Ayacucho

40 minutes out of Huancayo the distance to Ayacucho is 223kms, Huancavelica 111kms and Izcuchaca 33kms, during this time we passed through Huancan with its pretty plaza and church and 2 other small churches in the countryside. We soon came to a place called Nahuinpuquio where you can hike to the lagoon and see some archeological ruins, there is a huge market 10mins along the road. The next part of the journey was nice as we headed along a road on a ridge around the hills to Casma where there are some hotsprings known as Aguas Calientes. Down in the valley with the river on my right, arriving a few minutes later in the little town of Izcuchaca, a very picturesque scene indeed, an arched stone bridge across the river to a lovely bunch of houses and a big rocky and green mountain behind. We continued along beside the river. Half an hour later we came to a small town
Peru Photo - The railway tracks between Huancayo and Ayacucho.
The railway tracks between Huancayo and Ayacucho.
and a railway station, a small blue church sits on the hill. 40mins later on the right side is a river dam and the Quichuas army base and town with its pink church. A while earlier the road had turned to gravel and continued this way as we followed the river on a ledge 30-40m above. By the middle of the day we were in Esmeralda, a very small town with a soccer pitch beside a huge hill. The valley was becoming quite tropical and green, many palms and other trees, the waters of the river were a rich turquoise color as we ascended back into the red rocky mountains. There are some great photo opportunities
Peru Photo - The open river basin and hills near Huanta.
The open river basin and hills near Huanta.
out to the right looking down at this scene once at the top. Half an hour or so later we passed a series of Stonehenge-like rock formations in the next valley. We crossed the river and drove by a papaya plantation. A while on we arrived in Huanta, a small town with a pastel colored church, we made a stop for ice-creams.

Arrived In Ayacucho

Within an hour we arrived in Ayacucho, a welcoming sign above the road said "Ayacucho es Magico" - Ayacucho is Magic. I would understand why in the morning. Ayacucho is known as the city of churches, there are over 30 churches scattered around the city. I got the feeling I was in Quito - Ecuador (a city with many churches).

Taxi Tour of Churches and the City

I didn't have a lot of time. I wanted to see as much as possible before moving on, the next day. At 5am
Peru Photo - Road along mountain ridge with beautiful scenery to Izcuchaca.
Road along mountain ridge with beautiful scenery to Izcuchaca.
in the morning I arose and got organised. At 6am I hired a taxi to give me a 90min tour around the city, taking me to as many churches and other places as possible. We agreed on a price of 30 Soles ($10USD). Like all good city tours we started at the Plaza de Armas and stone Cathedral. We visited next Church San Francisco de Paula (1713) - a yellow / white color, quite impressive. Next, the grey-stone church Santa Clara (1568) constructed from stone extracted from the mines. We passed a big orangey pink archway on our way to the next church San Francisco de Asis (1552), then onto see church Santa Teresa built in 1703. We travelled up the hill to see some views of the city from the mirador. The hills glistened in the golden morning sun, there
Peru Photo - Church and plaza in Huancan out of Huancayo.
Church and plaza in Huancan out of Huancayo.
are several monuments and things up here like a big white cross, archways, Jesus statue and eagle monument. Back down to the center and past the markets to see fresh fish on ice being sold in the street. The next church I was taken to was church Santa Ana founded in 1569, we then wizzed by a park and Mercado Santa Clara before arriving at Templo El Calvario, a simple white church. We visited now church Santo Domingo contructed in 1548, it looks a bit like a fortress and then church Santa Maria Magdalena (1588). A plaza and monument to Andres Avelino Caceres (1836-1923), a national hero and 3 times President of Peru was the next sight. It was time to thank the taxi driver for a great tour and continue on foot. I visited Plaza Maria Parado de Bellido (1761-1822), a heroin of Peru's independence. Standing is a monument to her and a small white church called Arco. I loved what I saw in Ayacucho and will return again in the future, there is much more to see.

Bus to Andahuaylas

I spent the rest of the day, 8hrs 30mins on a bus to visit the famous Sunday markets in Andahuaylas.

     

View all photos in the Ayacucho Photoset


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Distances & times (if available) from Ayacucho (Peru) to:


Map location: Ayacucho, Peru. Ayacucho is definitely the most underrated and under-visited city by travelers in Peru. It's like a mini-Cusco and has over 30 churches. Ayacucho is about halfway between Cusco and the coast.
 A : Andahuaylas - Peru 107 kms 107 kms straight distance | 4hrs 58mins 4hrs 58mins by car (237 kms) | 5hrs 57mins 5hrs 57mins by bus (237 kms) (237 kms)
 B : Huancayo - Peru 163 kms 163 kms straight distance | 6hrs 7mins 6hrs 7mins by car (288 kms) | 7hrs 20mins 7hrs 20mins by bus (288 kms) (288 kms)
 C : Huacachina / Ica - Peru 194 kms 194 kms straight distance | 4hrs 57mins 4hrs 57mins by car (303 kms) | 5hrs 56mins 5hrs 56mins by bus (303 kms) (303 kms)
 D : Pisco, Islas Ballestas & Paracas - Peru 222 kms 222 kms straight distance | 5hrs 27mins 5hrs 27mins by car (337 kms) | 6hrs 32mins 6hrs 32mins by bus (337 kms) (337 kms)
 E : Nazca to Pisco - Peru 221 kms 221 kms straight distance | 5hrs 49mins 5hrs 49mins by car (345 kms) | 6hrs 58mins 6hrs 58mins by bus (345 kms) (345 kms)
 F : Chiclayo to Piura - Peru 207 kms 207 kms straight distance | 5hrs 44mins 5hrs 44mins by car (356 kms) | 6hrs 52mins 6hrs 52mins by bus (356 kms) (356 kms)
 G : Abancay - Peru 154 kms 154 kms straight distance | 7hrs 45mins 7hrs 45mins by car (381 kms) | 9hrs 18mins 9hrs 18mins by bus (381 kms) (381 kms)
 H : Nazca - Peru 201 kms 201 kms straight distance | 6hrs 42mins 6hrs 42mins by car (431 kms) | 8hrs 2mins 8hrs 2mins by bus (431 kms) (431 kms)
 I : Lima - Peru 330 kms 330 kms straight distance | 8hrs 27mins 8hrs 27mins by car (559 kms) | 10hrs 8mins 10hrs 8mins by bus (559 kms) (559 kms)
 J : Cusco - Peru 245 kms 245 kms straight distance | 11hrs 42mins 11hrs 42mins by car (568 kms) | 14hrs 2mins 14hrs 2mins by bus (568 kms) (568 kms)
 K : Huanuco - Peru 430 kms 430 kms straight distance | 12hrs 31mins 12hrs 31mins by car (662 kms) | 15hrs 1min 15hrs 1min by bus (662 kms) (662 kms)
 L : Camana - Peru 418 kms 418 kms straight distance | 12hrs 17mins 12hrs 17mins by car (735 kms) | 14hrs 44mins 14hrs 44mins by bus (735 kms) (735 kms)
 M : Tingo Maria - Peru 471 kms 471 kms straight distance | 14hrs 44mins 14hrs 44mins by car (764 kms) | 17hrs 40mins 17hrs 40mins by bus (764 kms) (764 kms)
 N : Arequipa - Peru 461 kms 461 kms straight distance | 14hrs 57mins 14hrs 57mins by car (904 kms) | 17hrs 56mins 17hrs 56mins by bus (904 kms) (904 kms)
 O : Machu Picchu - Peru 184 kms 184 kms straight distance
Driving times are accurate but approximate and are listed in the order of driving distance! Drive times are always affected by weather conditions, the terrain, time of day, altitude, dinner and bathroom stops, animals on the road, protests, a fast or slow bus driver, police checkpoints, border and river crossings, dropping off and picking up passengers etc. These drive times are obtained from Google Maps and are meant as a guide. Note however, times quoted in the main text of this page are exactly as the author experienced it.


My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Ayacucho, Peru:

Hospedaje Zaragoza, Ayacucho, Peru - Large Photo
Hospedaje Zaragoza, Ayacucho, Peru (August 2011 - 1 night) - Nice little room with a shared bathroom. Good price for a budget traveller. Located in the center of town. Friendly staff. Recommended.

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Ayacucho, Peru - City Of 30+ Churches, Region Known For Folk Handicrafts. Ayacucho is definitely the most underrated and under-visited city by travelers in Peru. It's like a mini-Cusco and has over 30 churches. Ayacucho is about halfway between Cusco and the coast.

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