Looking for a weekend trip away from Lima? The lovely town of Lunahuaná will revitalize you before you go back to the big city. The green river valley surrounded by dry mountains is beautiful and provides a relaxing nature retreat for visitors. Aside from the great location, Lunahuaná is a treasure trove of adventure sports, boasting a wide range of activities such as rafting, mountain biking, horseback riding, and trekking.
Rafting down the Canete River will give you a thrill and a view of the lush green valley and surrounding mountains. During the rainy season, the rapids can get pretty intense. Rafting companies can help you decide what level is suitable for you. For about S./ 35 guides will brief you on rafting techniques and safety, give you a helmet and a lifevest, and send you flying down the river. Bring an extra change of clothes because you will get wet! There are many tour companies in the area that offer rafting packages.
If you prefer to stay dry, there is also biking and horseback riding through the mountain trails. The horseback riding trip that I took led through the mountains to a Quecha village where children and dogs ran out to greet us.
Aside from adventure sports, the Lunahuaná area offers a chance to view history. Incahausi, an ancient ruin, is located near Lunahuaná. Another site of interest is Castillo Unanue, a Moorish style hacienda built in the 19th century, which you can visit during a tour to the Church of the Apostle Santiago and the Catapalla hanging bridge.
Of course, like all of Peru, you cannot miss the delicious traditional food. Try the cuy (guinea pig), chupe (fresh water crayfish), or sopa chola (a dish made with rabbit).
You may notice while exploring the region that there the many thriving grapevines. These grapes are used to produce the local pisco and wine, which are delicious. Near the Plaza de Armas there is a pisco and wine market where you can try many different drinks. The wine tends to be sweet, but tasty. You can buy spirits at many spots around town, including wineries, small bodegas, and local eateries.
In addition to the grapevines, the verdant valley is teeming with agriculture. I especially loved seeing vibrant orange peppers growing or being dried on the roofs of homes.
If you prefer to rough it or stay in a luxurious hotel, Lunahuaná has accommodations for all styles. As like the rest of Latin America, expect unmaintained bathrooms and bring your own toilet paper. If you would like a room with a bed and a shower though, there are many nice hotels with pools and restaurants, as well as budget hostels.
To get there, take a Soyuz bus from Lima to Canete, where you can get a taxi or combi to Imperial, and another combi to Lunahuaná. It was very simple to navigate, despite my limited Spanish. The total for one way transportation cost me about S/. 23 or . If you would rather avoid group transportation, taxis are abundant.
Rafting: HEMIRIVER Adventures --> http://www.hemiriver.com/
Restaurant: "Mi Rosedal", "El Refugio de Santiago"
camp: "El Guanabo"
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