Attractions Nearby Ayacucho, Day Trips and Excursions
Enjoying a fairly central location within southern Peru, Ayacucho is extremely well placed to explore many wonderful attractions. To the far north-west of Ayacucho you will find Lima
, the bustling capital city of Peru
. The attractions of Lima are varied to say the least and do come very highly recommended.
One of the most visited cities in Peru, Cusco
is really a must-see attraction and is situated directly to the east of Ayacucho. Cusco certainly owes much of its undeniable popularity to its proximity to the Machu Picchu
site, and accommodation here is on the pricey side of expensive.
For many, Callao
is simply a suburb of Lima and can be found to the far north-west of Ayacucho. However, Callao is very much a city in its own right and its prominent port serves the entire region. Callao may have little in the way of actual tourist attractions and appeal, although the beaches of La Punta
have long been a major draw card, along with its National University
and old fortress, the Fortaleza del Real Felipe. The Bolivar and Grau monuments add further character the central Callao.
Although Cusco is very much a city of today, it retains much of its Inca past and enormous Inca-built walls are often to be seen forming the foundations of modern structures. Tourists exploring Cusco will soon discover that many of the attractions
do not sell entrance tickets, and instead you are expected to purchase a 'tourism ticket' (boleto turistico), which will allow entry to around 15 participating sights.
Huari is a small Quechua town and appears to be precariously sitting on a steep mountainside. However, this unusual setting has a distinct advantage - the views are wonderful and quite panoramic. At the start of each October, the town's lively feline-themed Senora del Rosario (Fiesta de los Gatos) draws people from far and wide, with crowds arriving to feast on roasted cats (miche broaster).
The huge selection of wineries in Ica are always tempting, particularly if you are headed in this direction anyway, to check out the attractions of Nazca. Ica stands to the south-west of Ayacucho and is filled with characterful churches and colonial buildings. The Museo Region de Ica is a true gem and this museum boasts a vast collection of artefacts and relics from civilisations such as the Incas, Nazcas and the Paracas.
Intiwatana is an acclaimed archaeological site and is just under 100 km / 62 miles from Ayacucho, meaning that a day trip is very possible. It is thought by many that Intiwatana was where Inca's elite once lived, since there are the remains of a palace, fortress structure and some baths.
Open hours: daily - 24 hours
La Quinua is a pleasant enough place to visit in this part of Peru and comes complete with a good selection of historical buildings. Standing around 30 km / 19 miles from Ayacucho, there are numerous reasons why so many people favour day trips to La Quinua. Firstly, the village contains the remains of the Wari culture and it is thought that this was once actually the capital city of this particular civilisation, with more than 50,000 people living here. Today, La Quinua is also very well known for its pottery and artisans.
This is an enormous city and quite overwhelming, with some very appealing neighbourhoods, such as those of Barranco, Lima Centro, Miraflores and San Isidro, where the main attractions, restaurants
generally reside. Lima is located to the north-west of Ayacucho and filled with old buildings, such as its cathedral
(catedral), which dates back to the mid-16th century, although it needed to be reconstructed some 200 years later, following considerable earthquake damage. The Plaza de Armas
(Plaza Mayor) forms the very heart of Lima and is a good place to begin your exploration of this chaotic metropolis.
For many, the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu really does epitomise the very best that Peru has to offer. In fact, Machu Picchu is responsible for a huge amount of Peru's tourist appeal and serves as one of the area's biggest tourist attractions, together with both the Sacred Valley
and also the Inca Trail
. Machu Picchu is best visited as early as possible, to avoid the inevitable crowds. Whilst there, you will be treated to spectacular ancient remains, such as the Temple of the Condor
, the Principal Temple, the Sacred Plaza, the House of the High Priest, the Royal Palace and the Ceremonial Baths.
Open hours: daily - dawn to dusk
Admission: charge, discount available to students and children, children eight years old and under are free, limited visitor numbers to 2,500 per day, 5-days minimum advanced booking is recommended
The truly unique and curious lines of Nazca are to be found to the south-west of Ayacucho. It was only just over 100 years ago that a Peruvian archaeologist began to realise that the desert sands were hiding some extraordinary carvings, and since then, huge quantities of ceramics and artefacts relating to the Nazca culture have been discovered here. For the very best view of the Nazca lines and shapes, you really should consider taking a 30-minute plane ride, or alternatively, head to the observation tower at Mirador. Tours from Nazca to the pyramids of Cahuachi and the neighbouring settlement of Pueblo Viejo are always popular.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge for tours
Valley of Huanta
The Valley of Huanta is sited around 50 km / 31 miles from Ayacucho and perfectly suited for a day trip, being known locally as the 'Esmeralda de los Andes'. With a real wealth of Peruvian flora and fauna, the Valley of Huanta is especially lush and visitors will find many places selling locally produced fruity liquors, which always make good souvenirs of your trip.
Vischongo / Ruinas Vilcashuaman
Bus trips link Ayacucho with the southerly destination of Vilcashuaman (Sacred Falcon), with the journey being around 110 km / 68 miles in length and lasting roughly four hours. The road is unpaved for most of the way, and so you can certainly expect it to be very bumpy and uncomfortable. However, once you arrive at the attractions of Vilcashuaman, you will be glad that you made the effort. Dating from the middle of the 15th century, Vilcashuaman marks the very heart of the Inca empire and is where you will find its former Temple of the Sun, and the well-preserved Usnu pyramid. Many people head on to Vischongo the next day, enjoying a stroll around the Puya Raimondii (giant Peruvian bromeliads) forests.