Huancayo is the largest city in the central region of Peru.
Half a million people cram into the capital of Junin province.
It can be breathtaking for a visitor fresh from the coast, not only because the surrounding mountains.
At over 3,200 meters above sea level or 10,500 feet altitude sickness can be problem.
But theres plenty to do while you get acclimatized.
Even though Huancayo has a business-like appearance, its also called the party capital of Peru. Lessons in traditional dance,
Andean musical instruments and a bit of Spanish are easy to organize in the bustling center of town.
While the city is home to a wide range of agricultural industries, from milk factories, to trout farms, liquor distilleries to craft studios,
its most famous as the end point of one of the great train journeys of South America.
The rail line from Lima was started by an American railway engineer Henry Meiggs in the 1870s, and finished Ernest Malinowski, a Pole who said he could build a railway anywhere a llama could climb.
It passes through 69 tunnels, 59 bridges and 22 zigzags and 6 switch-backs to reach a pass at almost 4,758 meters (15,500 feet) above sea level.
Carving through rock and up steep mountainsides, the track took 28 years to build.
It started occasionally running the route again in 2002 for special occasions and festivals held throughout the year.
Outside the city a string of mountains, lakes, small towns and campsites dot the Mantaro Valley, home to the Huanca people.
Archaeological sites describe the history of the war-like Huanca who fought bitter battles with the Inca for control of the valley.
But the region is now a haven for visitors fleeing the crowded city of Lima, for a break in the mountains.
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