Junín is a region in the central highlands of Peru. Its capital is Huancayo. The geography of the region has a very heterogeneous topography. The western cordillera located near the border with the Lima Region, has snowy and ice covered peaks. On the east, there are high glacier valleys which end up in high plateaus (Altiplano). Among them is the Junín Plateau that is located between the cities of La Oroya and Cerro de Pasco.
The history of Junín plains were known as the Pampas region, which until the arrival of the Incas was inhabited by a semi-savage, quarrelsome group of people whose rivals were the Tarumas. Meanwhile, the Mantaro Valley was inhabited by the wancas. Inca Pachacutec conquered all these peoples in 1460, who then became part of the Inca Empire. Huancayo became the region’s main roadside resting stop on the Inca Trail.
Wool mills (known in Spanish as obrajes) were set up during the Viceroyalty, when weaving and knitting became a tradition that continues in our days. On September 13, 1825, Simón Bolívar issued a decree creating what is now the Junín Region, to commemorate his victory on the Junín Plains (Junín Battle), the last true cavalry charge in the occidental world where no shot was fired but only saber was used. Great events of national importance occurred during this period: Huancayo hosted the Assembly that issued the 1839 Constitution and on December 3, 1854, Ramón Castilla signed a decree that granted freedom to Afro-Peruvian slaves.
The climate of the Junín region has an average annual temperature of 13.1°C (56°F), a maximum high of 17°C (62°F) and a minimum low of 0°C (32°F).
The rainy season runs from November to April and from December to March in tropical areas
Location, Extension and Population
The department of Junín is located in the central region of the Peruvian Andes. Due to its geographical position, it comprises Sierra and Jungle zones. The weather is cold and dry in the Sierra, with marked differences between day and night, and the rainy season being from November through April. It limits with Pasco, Ucayali, Cusco, Ayacucho, Huancavelica and Lima.
It has an extension of 43,384 km² (16,751 sq ml) and a population of over 100,000 people.
The capital is the city of Huancayo, at 3,271 m.s.n.m. (10,731 ft), located in the middle of the Mantaro Valley and at the left margin of the river with the same name. Other important cities are Jauja, Concepción, La Oroya, Tarma, Satipo and Chanchamayo.
Places in the city of Junin
It is located at an altitude of 3,250 m.a.s.l. Perhaps it could go unnoticed by many, if not because in it lies the Gruta de Guagapo, the most important attraction of the area, located 33.5 km north of the beautiful city of Tarma.
The grotto of Guagapo, considered one of the deepest on the planet, has been visited by speleologists and national and foreign scientists, who confirm its importance and give notice of the many mysteries that need to be discovered, located at the foot of Cerro Racashmarca, its entrance is approximately 30 meters high by 20 wide.
Inside the cavern, there are cave paintings of the Tarama Tribe, which represent animal figures. Thus, we also see how the formation of stalagmites and stalactites, give the feeling of being in an enchanted place.
The term «guagapo» means «grotto that cries», because from its interior, hill of Racasmarca, it leaves continuously during the whole year a stream with crystalline water. The underground stream passes through the cave and when it comes out, it falls into small waterfalls towards a wetland covered by local flora.
Province of Jauja: Lake Paca
It is located 45 km north of Huancayo. «First Historical Capital of Peru, founded by Francisco Pizarro in 1534, known for its climatic advantages. Stress his Church and the Paca Lake that this to 6 km / 4 miles north of Jauja (10 minutes by bus).
It is a lake surrounded by tortora reeds and home to numerous aquatic birds. On its shores, there are lodges and restaurants that serve typical regional food. You can also rent boats.
Province of the Concepcion: Convent of Santa Rosa de Ocopa.
Located between the towns that make up the triangulation of Jauja, Huancayo and Concepción, more exactly match Matahuasi by Peru’s Central Highway.
It is said that when Friar Francisco de San José -a Franciscan priest from Spain eager to convert the natives to Christianity- reached this remote region, he decided to stop along the way and build a chapel to honor the Lord. It was 1725 and Santa Rosa de Ocopa was just another unassuming village in the Andean foothills.
The Ocopa convent also houses unique editions of ancient books and an art collection featuring valuable oil paintings from the Huamanga and Cuzco Schools. Turned into a major tourist attraction, the Ocopa convent features four cloisters -the Portería, del Olivo, the Obrería and Padre Pío- groves of trees, an ancient churchbell and its imposing library which is visited every day by travelers and researchers from universities in both Peru and from abroad, in search of the mystical ancient wisdom of the Franciscan monks.
Province of Chanchamayo
La Merced This place is situated in Chanchamayo, Junin, it’s the Botanic garden called “el perezoso” (the sloth) A 15 km. of La Merced, on the road to San Luis de Shuaro, a few meters from the bridge Reither.
It was founded in the seventies to preserve and display more than 10 thousand species of exotic plants. Among the most representative species: the parrot’s beak, the emperor stick, rib of Adam, Eve rib, lotus flower, royal palm, aguaje, palm coconut palm, among others. The tour lasts about two hours.
Waterfall «El Tirol»
5 km. the east of the city of San Ramon (10 minutes drive approx.) to the town of Playa Hermosa (beautiful beach), thence follow a mule track of 2 km. (45 minutes by foot).
It has a height of 35 meters. On the road to the waterfall, you can see a very diverse flora, including orchids, lianas and vines.
Reserved Zone established as «Pampa Hermosa» located in the districts of Huasahuasi and Chanchamayo, department of Junin. Is an area with many waterfalls in this area you can see the cock of the rock, this area also has a large variety of flora and fauna.
Province of Tarma
The region has an area of 2 749, 16 kilometers squared, which represents the 6,2% of the departmental territory. It is located in a position privileged, touristy and economic, halfway between the capital and the high forest, and point of convergence of various routes towards the central forest. The climate is temperate and mild during most of months predominates.
Villa del Mantaro or Mantaro Valley
Huancayo, capital of the Junin Region, is found in the beautiful and fertile Mantaro Valley, 3,271 meters (10,728 ft) above sea level. The valley is the main commercial center of the southern sierra of Peru. All of the towns of the valley produce their own food and pursue their trade, principally as artisans, and they celebrate the typical festivals of the year. During the Huancayo anniversary festival, which happens in November, people from all parts of Peru attend to exhibit their typical foods, crafts, dances and music. The city market offers a mini version of this each Sunday. Also, you can visit the witch market which contains a series of natural medicines and mystical services to satisfy all tastes.