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Settled in the Manataro Valley of Peru, the sprawling city of Huancayo offers a chance to get acclimatized to the Andes; not just the altitude, but also the ancient culture and traditions of the Quechua peoples that dominates in the hills. A neat and enthralling balance of activities, attractions and possibilities is on offer here, where straight-up museum exhibitions that could have been lifted from Lima rub shoulders with folksy craft markets laden with articles like whittled trinkets, shamanistic healing roots and multi-coloured woven bowler hats and ponchos at its Sunday Fair. Elsewhere in town, bursts of Peruvian pipes rise from around the La Inmaculada, the statues at the Parque de la Identidad Huance make for a good photo op, the chugs and whistles herald the El Tren Macho (the highest railway on the planet) and indigenous recipes of papa a la Huancaina and pachamanca pepper the local eateries. And let’s not forget the geological red clay formations at Torre Torre, or the looming Andes to the east, alive with trekking trails best accessed with the help of the most experienced Huancayo tour guides.