The charming modern city of HUÁNUCO, more than 100km east of the deserted Inca town of the same name, and around 400km from Lima, sits nestled in a beautiful Andean valley some 1900m above sea level. It’s a relatively peaceful place, located on the left bank of the sparkling Río Huallaga, and depending for its livelihood on forestry, tea and coca, along with a little low-key tourism. Founded by the Spaniard Gómez de Alvarado in August 1539, the city contains no real sights, save the usual handful of fine old churches and a small natural history museum. There are plenty of fascinating excursions in the area – notably, the 4000-year-old Temple of Kotosh.

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