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Day Trip from Lima: Chosica and Catarata de Huanano in Surco

As I mentioned in my last entry, an easy escape from the dusty craziness of Huaycán (and the noise of Lima) is the small city of Chosica. Chosica is well-known for its sunny climate year-round.  In the South American winter, it was nice to see and feel the sunshine!  Chosica has a pleasant canal and a lot of greenery to lift the spirits.

Views from Chosica

Views from Chosica

Picturesque canal located in the “tourist district” of Chosica

Views from Chosica

Views from Chosica

Statue near Parque Echenique and the main park/plaza, perfect for relaxing

While Chosica is pretty in its own right, it’s also a required stop en route to Matucana and San Jerónimo de Surco, a town from which you can hike to more waterfalls: Catarata Huanano and Cataratas de Palacala. When I visited in August, it ended up being too late in the day to begin the longer hike to the Cataratas de Palacala, so we decided to go see Catarata Huanano.

San Jerónimo de Surco - Catarata Huanano

San Jerónimo de Surco - Catarata Huanano

The first thing that is striking about Surco is all the greenery, as well as the predominance of cacti and other desert plants. The landscape is similar to that of Matucana, but unique in its own way. On the way, you can also see the ruins of Huanano (not pictured), which I don’t know much about. It’s just proof that ruins are everywhere in Peru.

San Jerónimo de Surco - Catarata Huanano

And then here’s the waterfall!! Small but attractive, and a nice place to stop and have a snack. 🙂

San Jerónimo de Surco - Catarata Huanano

But for me, the best part of the hike was seeing the beautiful sunset on the way back. There was actually a little bit of rain on the descent, which led to the atmospheric clouds. Beautiful, right?

It’s so nice having these places as low-budget escapes so close to where we are volunteering. I need to make an effort to get back there soon!

Day Trips from Lima: Matucana and the Catarata de Antakallo

One of the fringe benefits of my year-long volunteering position is the proximity to all the cool things there are to do in Peru, especially in the area around Lima.  Most people who visit Lima as tourists or travelers use it as a transportation hub for getting around to major sites around Peru or as another major city to explore.  By living here, we find out about other types of day trips that the average foreigner just doesn’t get to see.

For example, Matucana.  Matucana is a small town located about three or four hours outside of Lima on the Carretera Central (the main highway).  To get to Matucana, you first must get to Chosica via the “Chosicano,” a frequent combi bus that runs through Lima and then up the Carretera Central, or a colectivo, or shared taxi.  Chosica is a small city often used as an escape from Lima or the surrounding towns (like Huaycán), since it tends to be sunny year-round.  From Chosica, you take another colectivo to Matucana.

After being in dusty Huaycán, the drive through these beautiful mountains with all their greenery and running rivers is especially refreshing.  When you arrive to Matucana, you arrive to the quiet plaza, where you can eat a snack or get some treats for the hike, as well as visit the tourist information center.  They’re always surprised but happy to see foreigners there, since I imagine not many pass through unless they are living, working, or volunteering around here.

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

The main attraction in Matucana is the trek to the Catarata de Antakallo (a waterfall), though it is also known for its great climate (sunny in the Peruvian winter, great for growing different fruits and vegetables).  You walk along a path up through the town and then begin the fairly steep hike up and then across to the waterfall.  I went on the hike twice within my first two months in Peru, and the second time I found the trek much easier as my legs had grown accustomed to walking up and down the foothills of Huaycán!  The photos that follow are a combination of both trips.  Each time I was constantly surprised by how beautiful the Andean sierra is.  I love the Andes. 🙂

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo
Route to our destination!

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

One of the murals and some detail along the path through the town

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo
Companions along the road!

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Views of the path on the way up and the terracing all around

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

Cabeza de León (Lion’s Head) and some cows roaming around…

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

The changing colors of the mountains and me along the way…

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Views of farming terraces and the town below, along with the foliage on the path

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

Almost there! and a modelesque pose…

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana - Hike to Catarata de Antakallo

Finally! The waterfall at the end of our hike!

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

My hiking companions and me on the way back

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Views of the landscape and a sheep dog

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

Matucana / Cataratas de Antankallo

The roads of Matucana and the municipality building reminding us of where we were

As you can see, this short trek has lots of beautiful views.  It’s a calm retreat from the craziness of the city.  Perhaps I’ll go visit one more time while I’m here!