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.
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. 🙂
One of the murals and some detail along the path through the town
Views of the path on the way up and the terracing all around
Cabeza de León (Lion’s Head) and some cows roaming around…
The changing colors of the mountains and me along the way…
Views of farming terraces and the town below, along with the foliage on the path
Almost there! and a modelesque pose…
Finally! The waterfall at the end of our hike!
My hiking companions and me on the way back
Views of the landscape and a sheep dog
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!