Huancayo is a thriving commercial city best known to tourists for its colorful Sunday crafts market, where warm alpaca sweaters and blankets abound for bargain prices. The bus journey to Huancayo by road takes travelers over a pass more than 13,000 feet above sea level (4,000m.a.s.l.), offering spectacular views of Andean highland scenery.
Huancayo’s city center houses Capilla La Merced, the colonial church where Peru’s first Constitution was signed in 1839. The Santa Rosa de Ocopa convent, some 19 miles (30km) out of town in the village of Concepcion, was the center of the Franciscan mission in the Amazon in the 18th century and offers a fine example of colonial architecture in a tranquil setting. From there, one can visit the towns of San Jeronimo, known for its filigree silver jewelry market on Wednesdays, and Huaylas, where high-quality woolen goods are cheap. The town of Cochas Chicas, whose specialty is intricately carved gourds, and the pre-Inca Huari-Huilca ruins, offer other possible day excursions.
Each May during the Fiesta de las Cruces, Huancayo erupts into a series of boisterous processions and festivities.