The Callejón de Huaylas

The Callejón de Huaylas

This area is a focus for people who are interested in mountains, in archaeology and in the people of the midland sierra. Two ranges rise from the sea, the Cordillera Negra and the much higher Cordillera Blanca. Between the two is the broad valley called the Callejón de Huaylas. Beyond the Cordillera Blanca is the source of the Río Marañón, which has carved a second deep valley. This was the home of the ancient Chavín culture. Beyond the hills that form the East flank of this lies the jungle. The Southern end of the Callejón is the smaller Cordillera Huayhuash, which nevertheless offers splendid organised trekking.

There is so much to do in this area that we have split off the issues of trekking and put them in a separate text, which you can access here. This section is concerned with access to the region, with the circuit around the Cordillera Blanca and with the history and culture of the region.

Accessing the region

There are three main land routes into the region, although there are also many subsidiary ones, on often-poor roads. The approach from Huanúco is described here. The approach from the Northern coast via Chimbote is described here. The main route is, however, one that comes up from the coastal Panamericana highway, turning East at Pativilca. There are frequent buses between Lima and Huaraz, and less frequent ones that go directly to the Huayhuash area. It is possible to fly into the valley, although the airport is somewhat away from the main town.

Click here to see a series of images Pativilca is a sugar-cane growing coastal settlement just over 200 Km from Lima. The turn is North of the sugar refinery, and is well-signed. A surfaced road passes through extensive sugar cane before the mountains begin to close around it. The Río Fortalesa irrigates the valley bottom and this is settled with small farms, growing mixed crops and a scattering of pepper and mango trees. Tough cactus cling to the arid rocks. Measuring distances from the turnoff, the coastal fog clears around Km 20 and blue skies illuminate clusters of villages and rough shacks, all farming the irrigated land in the valley. The South of the road has frequent areas of flat aridity, and these are used to dry the pimento crops - red and yellow - in which these villages specialise.

Chasquitambo (Km 49) is the first town of any size, with restaurants and fuel supplies. The road begins to rise and switchback as the valley closes in. Geologists may care to look out for the fine columnar basalt that marks the North of the valley, now over- and under-laid by sedimentary rocks and Andesite, the reddish scrapings of the sea bed. The spectacular but arid landscape is dotted with areas where cultivation is possible, but the next village of any size is Cajacay (Km 90). Passing an area of particularly massive rock outcrop - called Incawakanka, or 'where the Inca sat down and cried' - the road reaches its highest point at Conococha (121 Km, 4100m). The trip takes around three hours from the coast, and has hardly a dull moment to it. However, many will be feeling a little dizzy from the sudden altitude. Views from the pass are not particularly good - as compared to what follows - and it is sensible to continue.

The road winds North and somewhat down to the lagoon of Conococha and the village of Marca (122 Km, 4050m) near it. (This is where the route in from Huanúco joints this trip, coming in from the South-East and marked to Antamina.) The lagoon, the name of which means "warm water" despite its being covered with a layer of ice on most mornings, is a shallow affair, often dotted with cattle that browse the seaweed-like algae that it contains. In common with many such lakes, it is blue in the morning and then a pinkish brown later in the day, as these algae rise to the surface. You will see this plant on sale as a vegetable in the Huaraz market, looking like camouflage-green golf balls.

Click here to see a series of images The road to Huaraz runs smoothly down from Conococha. On your left, you will see the rolling brown hills of the Cordillera Negra, which you have just crossed. On the right, a vast open plain leads away to the distant snow peaks of the Pastoruri and Mururaju ranges. The golden ichu grass is patched with winding steam beds and little lakes, and distant herds can be seen grazing it. There are usually llamas and alpacas feeding close to the road. The open land is broken by a peaje at Km 157 and this is followed by the appearance of trees and the town of Pachacoto. A road to the right leads to the Pastoruri massif and to an area of great interest, described in the separate text on trekking.

Catác (3460m and Km 165) follows. Here, the tarred road that leads to the high Kahuish tunnel and thence to Chavín leads off to the East. We will return to this later - please see here for an interactive, high resolution map of the Cordillera Blanca.

The village of Ticapampa ('flower pasture') follows, although the flowers are confined to the rainy season around Christmas. It has a fine church and a patronal on 12th October to which many come from all over the valley. This is followed by Recuay (3400m), hanging to the side of the river valley. A road connects this town with the coast, passing over the Cordillera Negra and dropping down to Huarmey in a 5-7 hour journey that depends much on the state of the road. The village is used as a starting point for river rafting. Its river frontage is, however, marred by a tailing heap from an extinct gold mine, which leaks noxious-looking liquids.

Recuay has a fine and tranquil atmosphere, with narrow cobbled streets leading to a relatively large Plaza de Armas. There is a two-towered little church of San Ildefonso, which celebrates its Saint's day on 14th September. The town has its patronal on September 11-15, at which the normally Southern negrita dance is performed. If you visit at dusk, you will find that many people from the town and surrounding regions have turned out to socialise and amble about. The Inca built at Pueblo Viejo, as - probably - did their predecessors. The site is 5 Km and an easy walk from the town.


Huaraz (3090m) is an easy drive of around half an hour from Recuay, through a narrowing wooded valley. Settlement increases as the capital of the region approaches. One can begin to see the snow peaks beyond as one approaches.

The name of the town means, oddly, 'short pants' in Quechua, perhaps a reference to its early inhabitants and their dress? The town is located on a slope running down to the Río Santa, has a fine view of the Cordillera Blanca and a huge daily market. It ought to be replete with charm, and writers of the past spoke highly of it. However, the entire valley was shattered by the earthquake of 1970, which completely obliterated one town and heavily damaged Huaraz. The decision was taken to rebuild it in a modern style, with wide streets and blandly-faced buildings. The result has not been happy: the Plaza de Armas is a concrete affair that seems to attract every whisper of wind, blinding by day and freezing by night; and the streets lack intimacy. However, it does have a wide range of shops, hotels and other facilities. Amongst these are the trekking companies, referred to in detail elsewhere. About 60,000 people live in Huaraz. More commute in during the day to sell their wares.

Click here to see a series of images The daily market occupied the streets by the river on the Northern edge of the city. Its activities peak at around 08.30, and it is well worth wandering around to gape at the arrays of herbs and baby chickens, gaudy plastics from the coast and hand-woven wool from ten kilometres away. Arrays of truck drivers come up from Lima every day to buy Huaraz honey and Eucalyptus, meat and leather and you can see these bargaining with red faces against the implacable ladies of the sierra who handle all such trade.

You are, however, urged to remember to dress simply, not to intrude or to be too obvious when taking photographs. The hill people in this region are accustomed to take matters into their own hands and, if you upset them, you will be physically mauled or stoned. It is hard to achieve the critical mass required to set off such a reaction on your own, but if you follow some weirdly-dressed, waddling bunch of shouters and pointers, your appearance and reactions may nonetheless be the spark that sets the fire.

Huaraz has its patronal in May, on a date that depends on Easter. It is called the Fiesta del Señor de Soledad.

Around Huaraz

Once again, we urge you to look here for details about trekking. There are many, many places to fish for trout and it is best simply to ask a trekking business for what they can provide. The same goes for pony trekking and horse riding, bicycling and river sports. The following are sites which you can visit by car or through a short walk.

The better trekking companies are located on the main street - Av. Luzuriaga - and lesser ones in the back streets. It is usually best not to compromise on quality as relatively tiny sums can make the difference between a hugely enjoyable experience and dangerous misery. There is an association of professional guides, with examinations to pass, and these have their headquarters in the Parque Ginebra - unpromising translating as 'Gin Park'. traveling with the brother or cousin of your hotel waiter may or may not be rewarding: it depends what you want, on how much experience you have, on how good you are in Spanish. As a basic rule, however, go for the best if you are doing anything remotely challenging, but by all means engage Cousin Juancito to visit the local archaeological sites.

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Wilcahuain is one such site, 8 Km from Huaraz. The turnoff to the site is about 5 Km North of the town, and well signed. You have to pay a small sum to enter. The ruin is a three story structure made from mud brick and stone, smaller but similar to the Chavín site discussed below. It is, however, much later than Chavin, being around 1000 years old, and was built by the Wari. A further site, called Ichihuaín, exists a short way up the same road. It consists of stone-built houses of probably Inca provenance. (See above for pictures.)

The South-East corner of Huaraz yields a little road that winds up the mountain behind it to a lookout point or mirador. You can either walk or drive this 2.5 Km route. It offers a good prospect on the concrete and corrugated iron roofs of the city, but also a fine prospect down the entire Callejón. On the left, the buff-and-fawn slopes of the Cordillera Negra stretch away North. On the right, one gets a fine view of the Cordillera Blanca, dominated by Huascaran (6768m) and a variety of 5000m peaks. The best time for viewing is dawn or dusk, and you should be careful about plans which bring you down this route after dark, as the short cuts take you into the less policed areas of the town.

Peruvians have inherited an obsession with hot springs from the Inca. Those at Monterrey, 6 Km from the city, are much visited. One cannot claim that they are beautiful, but they do give and impression of how the rural middle classes relax.

Down the Callejón

A fine road runs the length of the valley, to where the river runs into the narrow gully of the Cañón del Pato, Duck Gulch. (In fact, it now disappears into a hydroelectricity system and the ducks are bereft.) One can connect here with either the coast, running down to Chimbote, or with the Marañón valley. The first is discussed elsewhere. We discuss the second of these in a subsequent section which explores the Callejón de Conchucos.

The road runs through areas of intense cultivation, with groves of Eucalyptus through which snow peaks can be glimpsed. After Monterrey - above - roads lead off to local communities. The trip to the Ishinca gully (Km 213) takes one past some traditional villages and offers many prospects for short walks. A turnoff at Km 215 leads to Taricá, which is a village that makes pottery figures and vessels. Very close to this turnoff, but to the West and left of the road is a surfaced road. A well-made dirt road turns left off this after a few hundred yards, leading up to a mine. There are numerous stopping place, but one turn near a bluff gives an unexcelled view of the entire Cordillera Blanca: see here. The airport is passed at Km 221 and 2790m.

The first town of consequence is Carhuaz, (2650m and Km 232). The name means "yellow" in Quechua, for no obvious reason, although the hills are covered with broom plants which perennially bloom yellow. The town is tucked under the formidable Hualcán (6150m) and the peak of Copa (6188m). These can be seen glittering behind the town hall from the Plaza de Armas. The town is noted for its ice cream, made from local dairy products and glacial ice, and for its honey. It also has a prodigious number of fireworks makers. (All in all, it meets all my requirements when I was a child!)

Click here to see a series of images A dirt-surfaced road leaves Carhuaz for Chacas in the Callejón de Conchucos, on the other side of the Cordillera Blanca. This entails a high pass - Punta Olimpica - which can be cut by all manner of events. It is advisable to ask before attempting this, although it makes a most interesting circuit.

The next town of substance is the tragic Yungay, which was wiped out in the 1970 earthquake. The highest peak in the Cordillera, Huascaran, shed several million tonnes of ice which swept down the valley, collecting rock. Around half of this was deposited in a fan across which the road now crosses, and the other half leaped over a ridge and buried the town. The area is now consolidated, but when I visited it in 1979, four palm trees from the Plaza de Armas still stuck out of the rubble, next to the church spire and several upended vehicles. A huge Christ and a set of memorial niches now mark the spot, now known as Campo Santo. A new Yungay has been built higher and further North, but still dominated by the 6768m of Huascaran. The road up to the town continues into the mountains, as described in the trekking section under the Quebrada Llanganuco. It also connects to the Callejón de Conchucos at Yanama, once again following a very scenic but fragile route over a high pass.

The road below Yungay degrades in quality after passing Caraz, although it passes at least one good country restaurant, built around its own trout and carp ponds. It swiftly becomes drier, with the Eucalyptus being replaces by pepper trees and cactus, agave and scrub replacing verdant pasture. A road to the West from Huallanca (1820m) leads up to the village of Huayllas, which has a number of little-studied archaeological sites near it and the best views possible South onto the Cordillera Blanca.

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The valley suddenly narrows at the Cañón del Pato, where the road itself goes into a succession of tunnels. It follows the Río Santa down to near Chimbote, diving through tunnels and major sections on which the cliff is hollowed out. Ask at Huallanca whether the road is open. Another road crosses the river and winds up into the mountains, skirting Nevado Champata and heading for Sihuas and Pomabamba in the Callejón de Conchucos. An equally demanding route takes a wider fling around this range, diverging from the main road only a dozen kilometres from the Chimbote turnoff. We describe this in more detail, below. All of these roads are 4x4 only, and have erratic public transport, consisting of much-patched microbuses or trucks.

Given the alternatives, it is worth asking before you set out which of these routes is the least difficult, and if possible acquiring a guide to travel with you. Our trip through this region lost two tyres in fifty kilometres. We had to stop a passing truck after midnight - not easy, with fears of hijack on truckers' minds - had then to find someone in a nearby village to fix one of these ragged tyres, find another truck to get back to the car, limp into a village at 03.00 and hope that they had some sort of accommodation that we could use whilst we sent by lorry to Trujillo for two new tyres. A guide who understands both Spanish and Quechua, and who has confidence in and understanding of local life is extremely useful in such a situation. We were fortunate to have Omar, a local cobbler, with us. He had asked for a lift at Santa - see below - and was recommended to us by the police. The poor man did not know what he was letting himself in for!

There is a separate photoseries here which covers some of the less known valleys, as well as a separate route into the Callejon.

Callejón de Conchucos

This valley is the headwaters of the Río Marañón, which eventually cuts itself a massive arid gorge that we meet elsewhere. It is a region which is little travelled by outsiders, and contains communities which have changed very little over the years. It is, correspondingly, a region where you must concern yourself with your relations with the local people, and tread lightly. Access from the South is easy due in part to the existence of Antamina and other mines in the area. There are several ways in or out, all discussed below.

To continue with our circuit of the Cordillera, however, we need to consider access from the North. As discussed, There are several ways to achieve this. One way is from Carhuaz to Chacas. A second is from Yungay to Yanama. These arrive South of Pomabamba, which many wish to visit. The third approach is a wider circuit, in which we continue down to the coast from Huallanca, as above, and then take a road which travels around 100 Km to Pomabamba. This goes through some of the most remote areas in the centre of the Peruvian Andes. Do consider taking a guide with you if you are driving.

The road to the coast descends as far as Chuquicara (sometimes called Santa, which is the name of the village at the junction of this road and the Panamericana.) This is a dusty flat scattering of houses with a little market and a police post. The road crosses the river and winds amongst dry sheer cliff faces over a tyre-punishing surface. A right turn leads steeply up to to Santa Rosa, and thence to Yanac, which is about 50 Km from Huallanca. The next settlement with a name to it is Al Alto, 35 Km further and a place where a variety of roads meet. Pursue the one that goes to Sihuas, around 25-30 Km away, driving through undulating puna. (Do not attempt this trip without a good, high definition map. Also, recalling that local people like to answer "yes" to a question, so never ask if "this is the route to Sihuas" because they will usually say 'yes', even when it is not. Rather, ask them "which is route that goes to Sihuas, please?" It is really advisable to have a guide in this confusing network of roads.

Sihuas (2720m) is a modest town, contouring around a mountain and divided into two sections by a bridge. The lower town is the older of the two, and has a pretty church and a number of well-preserved old houses. The "upper town" is the commercial centre and is dedicated to the truck, but also has limited the hotels and restaurants in the town.

Pomabamba (2900m) is around 40 Km from Sihuas. The road rises through large numbers of grazing animals to reach the Palo Seco pass at 3490m, and then drops down to the town through stony terrain and sparse vegetation. The town is the largest in the valley, and is a whirl of agriculture-related commerce. Many of the buildings are modern. It is prettier from a distance, where the red tiles roofs blend with the stark surroundings. It has a range of modest hotels and restaurants, and is much more in tune with the tourist trade by virtue o the treks arriving from across the Cordillera.

The next location at which a visitor may care to stop is Piscobamba (3150m). This is about 30 Km from Pomabamba and is reached by way of Vilcabamba. Piscobamba is the provincial capital, but it is a quiet place inhabited by farmers. The Plaza de Armas has a vast Eucalyptus which dominates the town, and offers a pair of restaurants and a very simple hotel. Trekkers often end their walk here, and the town has become more focused on serving outsiders in the last five years. Its patronal occurs on June 28 and 29, celebrating Saints Peter and Paul.

A further thirty mile trip brings Puchucuyacu. The road rises, crosses a river and then enters a more closed landscape. The white-painted church of the very basic Llumpa village marks the beginnings of a descent, which continues for a further 30 Km to Pomallucay. The road passes into a steep-sided gully and over the Llacma river. This is wild territory, home to the out-of-control truck and the bus which leaps at you out of a dust cloud.

Pomallucay is a little visited village which has a rather unusual stone built church, with an elaborate door and simple bell tower. The interior is, however, extraordinary. The walls are painted light cream, and the space is filled with light. However, the focus is the ceiling, which is a curved span of fretted wood, making bold geometrical patterns in rust, light and dark brown. It is unlike anything else in Perú. Beyond, the road winds up out of the valley to nearby San Luis in a long series of bends.

The focus of this leg of the trip is, however, Chacas (3170m). This is about 23 Km from San Luis, on a side road that leads towards the Cordillera Blanca following the Río Chucpui. This is a village of white-washed houses with red tiles and wooden balconies, many sporting potted plants in the Spanish manner and others elaborated carved. This has attracted tourism, and with it, money.

There is a large and well-maintained Plaza de Armas and the church of La Virgen de la Asunción. This has extraordinarily elaborate external wood carvings on its doors and windows, and an efflorescence of complexity within. The gilded altarpiece is extraordinary. All of this is due to the efforts of the parish priest, who established a school of woodcarving and, form the proceeds, a school and a hospital. This microcosm of development has made Chacas a focus for the more adventurous tourist and, as noted above, one thing has led to another. The patronal of the Virgen - Mama Ashu - is August 15th. Note that the route in from Carhuaz arrives here, and makes a fine end to a day. The town has adequate accommodation and restaurants.

The next leg of the circuit goes to Huarí, a distance of about 60 Km with good views of the little-visited Eastern side of the Cordillera Blanca. Starting in the river valley in which the main road is located, one rises into more open country, in which broad plains run up to the snow face of the Cordillera. The first major landmark is the Huachucocha lake, in which early reflections of the morning mountains are fine if the weather is good. The Abra Huachucocha (4250m) is close to hand and offers the best views of the trip. It is also the highest point on this leg of the journey.

The descent through the other side leads from down land and the occasional stand of quiñual trees into potato and quinua farmland. The Callejón de Conchucos is said to have the best potatoes in Perú, which is to say the best in the world. The Marañón valley is the "centre of radiation" for the Solanaceae - plants like potatoes, tomatoes and capsicums - and a market here has a virtually inexhaustible supply if potatoes little and big, long and thin, black, brown, purple and yellow, tasting of anything from mould to cheese. They are generally eaten baked in ashes of a fire, with white cheese and chilli. Tourists, of course, get served round white tasteless little things, just like home.

The arrival of Huarí (3030m) is signalled by fields of tiny brick kilns. This is a long-established farming town whose name means something like "indomitable" in Quechua. The many ruins scattered through the surrounding wheat and barley fields show how long the area has been settled. However, very little has been formalised about the history of the region. Huarí has narrow streets filled with old houses. Its Plaza de Armas has what must be some of the highest-growing palm trees on Earth. The patronal is February 12, celebrating Mamá Huarína, a fairly thin disguise for Pachamama, the Earth goddess of the Quechua. There is adequate accommodation and restaurants.

Chavín is around 50 Km from Huarí. The first stage of the trip runs through Pomochaca, about 20 Km away. It begins in a terraced valley, and moves into more open ground. Beyond Pomochaca, the road rises slightly to good mountain views, and then follows the Mosna river down into its valley, where lies Chavín. The wide valley is intensely cultivated, with fields interspersed with Eucalyptus patches and is ideally seen in Spring, when the agricultural weeds such as Oxalis can make the landscape yellow, purple and white with flowers.

Click here to see a series of images Chavín (3150m) is a long town, built where the valley narrows. Quechua friends say that the inhabitants were notorious rustlers of livestock, and that doors would slam and windows would be bolted when a stranger came into town. Today, they prefer to hustle tourists, who come to look at the Chavín de Huántar ruins. The town has good accommodation and good restaurants, and is a fine place to break your journey for a day.

The Chavín de Huántar ruins are on the Southern edge of the town, right against the river. The site was completely lost until comparatively recently - indeed, the main road went right through it. It is dated to around early construction around 1500BC and its influence peaked around 800BC. It was the seat of the Chavín culture, of which more here. In brief, this was a religious movement rather than an empire, one that influenced people from Nazca in the South as far North as Ecuador. Evidence at the site indicates that this was a centre of pilgrimage, and we can be sure from the iconography that it involved the narcotic San Pedro cactus, which grows all over the hills around Chavín.

The site consists chiefly of a large square sunk in the ground, underpinned with a major drainage system to the river which suggest that this may at times have been purposely flooded. There was a stele in the centre of this, but it has been removed. The sides are lined with dressed stone, and four sets of steps in the middle of each section give this the double cruciform shape known as the cruz andino. A wide walkway runs around this. One side opens to the river, and the two faces edge on to this have 4 m platforms built from stone. The main Westerly face has a flat-topped 8m pyramid in dressed stone, the lower reaches of which are carved with elaborate glyphs. These show stylised humans surrounded with tendrils - a figure which is interpreted as the god of the winds - and jaguar faces or jaguar-headed figures, the hallmark of Chavín de Huántar. The centre of the pyramid has a set of steep steps - now lost - and an observation porch behind which there are dark rooms.

To the right of the pyramid is a smaller complex, at the foot of which is a tank into which water discharges from rooms within the complex. There is a trapdoor within these rooms that gives access to this drain, suggesting that some decoction was passed down to the congregation: perhaps hallucinogenic cactus juice, as above. Above the pool is a veranda with two entrances - one to the set of rooms just described, the other a tunnel that, after some indirection, leads into a dressed stone corridor. At the end of this, in a cruciform space, and lit from above by a tunnel that rises to the surface, is a blade-like stone around 4m high, on which the face of a god is carved. There is a replica of this in front of the site entrance: it repays study.

The main pyramid has a set of rooms let into the top of it. One set were plainly dwellings or storage chambers, whilst the other is less obvious. It consists of a corridor with a series of smaller corridors off, all lined at head height with blocks of masonry off which something heavy was plainly intended to hand. It has been called the "chamber of the Slaves", but it seems far more likely that this was either an armoury or a place where people hung votive offerings. Or perhaps they hung up their onions, hallucinogenic cactus or toothbrushes there: we have no idea. Behind the pyramid is a well preserved wall set with bosses in which jaguar heads grimace at you. Altogether a very fine site, comparable to the Southern Mexican structures. There is a useful site museum.

There are several ways out of Chavín and the Mosna valley. The main road runs towards Antamina, and connects with the road from Huánuco. However, we shall wind up the narrowing valley and then begin a switchback and most spectacular ascent of it to the tunnel at Kahuish (4180m). This takes one through patchwork fields, wild country - included a haunted lake, where a drowned woman is said to beg lifts or food from travellers - and finally into sparse vegetation and occasional snow. The tunnel has timed access, as it is lengthy and one way, and you should budget for at least an hour's delay in passing through it.

The road on the other side emerges into stark mountain terrain. It drops smoothly to the Querococha lagoon, at 3980m. Note the erosion gully in the hillside opposite as you come down to the lake, now full of queñual trees. It is said by locals to show the map of Perú, which is well and good, but also contains epiphytic orchids growing higher than I have seen them anywhere in the world. The lagoon is a sizeable deep lake with a good chop on it when the wind is strong, and snow peaks stand at the end of it. There are usually llamas or alpacas grazing beside it, and it is a good place to stop. There is even a little restaurant. If you look up and across the lake, you can see a distant stand of Puya raymondii growing high above it, like misplaced agaves.

Forty minutes brings you to Catác, mentioned above as the turnoff for this road from the main highway to Huaraz, half an hour away.

Callejón de Huayhuash

This area is chiefly visited for the remarkable mountain range around which it is possible to walk. This is detailed here. This section is concerned only with how to get there.

It would be reasonable to go directly to Huayhuash from either the coast or Huánuco. The former has public transport which allows this, whilst the latter would entail many changes. The alternative is to come from Huaraz. Both the coastal route and the way up from Huaraz come to Conacocha - see above, the entry route to the area - but turn of the main road and head South-East, towards Antamina. This is the road on which the Huánuco route comes into the region. Around 10 Km, a dirt road drops to the South West, leading to the pretty village of Chiquian, (3400m). If you are coming from the North, however, continue a kilometre further to get splendid views of the Cordillera.

Click here to see a series of images The road contours down through treeless grassland, and enters an area of increasingly intense farming. Eucalyptus appear, and with them children, turkeys, sheep and all of the paraphernalia of farming. The modest town of Chiquian has hotels and restaurants, a rather dull Plaza de Armas and church, a bullring and a network of narrow little streets. A detailed description of fiesta time at Chiquian can be found here.