Once known as the “Garden City”, because of the ease with which gardens, tropical fruit, vegetables and wild flora grow in such abundance, the ramshackle settlement of TINGO MARÍA, 130km north of Huánuco, lies at the foot of the Bella Durmiente (Sleeping Beauty) mountain. According to legend, this is the place where the lovesick Princess Nunash awaits the waking kiss of Kunyaq, the sorcerer. These days the town welcomes more travellers than ever due to the decreased activity in the region’s cocaine trade. However, that said, even the road on to Pucallpa from Tingo still sees the occasional armed robbery of buses travelling by night.

Despite Tingo María’s striking setting, it is a tatty, ugly town, on which the ravages of Western civilization have left their mark. Dominated by sawmills and plywood factories financed by multinational corporations, with its forest of TV aerials sticking out from the rooftops, the town displays symbols of relative affluence, but the tin roofs and crumbling walls across the township betray the poverty of the majority of its inhabitants. There’s little for visitors to see, other than the Cueva de las Lechuzas (Owls’ Cave), the vast, picturesque home to a flock of rare nocturnal parrots (you’ll need a torch), 14km out of town. Tingo María’s major fiesta period is the last week of July – a lively and fun time to be in town, but on no account leave your baggage unattended.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Peru features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
20 seriously weird places around the world

20 seriously weird places around the world

The world is a weird (and wonderful) place. And from a rose-coloured lake to a Japanese island ruled by cats, we've got twenty pictures to prove it. 1. Spotted…

26 Jul 2017 • Rachel Mills camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right