Peruvian Cities
Huánuco, HUANUCO
Location, extension and population | Brief historic outline | Main attractions of the capital city | Main attractions of the department of Huánuco | Typical dishes and beverages | Tourist calendar

The department of Huanuco is located in the center oriental region of Perú. It has a rough topography comprising parts of the Sierra and the High Jungle (mountain rim) regions. Being equidistant from the north and the south of the country, it has the privilege of having a mild weather with an average annual temperature of 20°C (68° F). It limits with the departments of San Martín, Ucayali, Ancash, Pasco and Lima.

Huánuco has an extension of 35,315 km² (13,635 sq ml.) and a population of over 600,000 people.

The capital city is Huánuco. Other principal cities are Tingo María, Dos de Mayo, Ambo, Leoncio Prado y Pachitea.


This department is important for its geographical location, history, and for the richness of its land, where the presence of man goes back to ancient times. El Hombre de Lauricocha (Man of Lauricocha) is among the most distinctive examples, dating from 10,000 BC, as well as Kotosh, where vestiges of the oldest settlement in America (4,200 BC) took place.

Several ethnic groups inhabited this region. However, after a severe resistance, they started to incorporate as part of the Inca empire. Huánuco then became the obliged route Cusco-Cajamarca-Cusco. The citadel of Huánuco Pampa or Huánuco Marca is evidence of this transit.

Huánuco city was founded by the Spanish conquerors on August 15, 1539, under the name of Huánuco de los Caballeros. During Colonial times, it was a very active city, where important writers of Spanish descent dwelled.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, during the emancipation, Huánuco was one of the first cities to promote the independence of Perú. Moreover, a first oath takes place in this city on December 15, 1820, after several uprisings in Huamalpies, Huallanca and Ambo.


Plaza de Armas or Main Square
. It has a beautiful central fountain, built in 1845 from of a single piece of stone 4 mt (13 ft) high.

Cathedral. Also in the main square, it holds a collection of paintings of the Cusco School.

Iglesia de San Sebastián.Churches. San Francisco, Cristo Rey, San Sebastián, La Merced and San Cristóbal, some of which were built in the sixteenth century. They house beautiful architectural jewels, unique images, carved wood and gilded altars.

Museum of Natural Sciences. It exhibits more than 5,000 objects, such as, stuffed animals, huacos and ceramics of different regions.

Kotosh, a 4,000 year-old archeological site. Most outstanding is the Templo de las Manos Cruzadas or Crossed Hands Temple, the first piece of sculpture in the continent, molded below one of the niches surrounding the room.

Andabamba. The house of a Colonial hacienda located at 8 km (12 ml) south of Huánuco, which had served as residence for the Franciscan Order.

Quicacan. Located in this town is a large colonial mansion that served as a cloister monastery. Its fine design includes a beautiful arcade that blends with the surrounding landscape.

Tomayquichua (2,000 m.a.s.l. or 6,500 ft). Located at 19 km (30 ml) from the capital, this town was the birthplace of the famous lover of Viceroy Amat, Micaela Villegas, known as La Perricholi.

Huácar. A town of tropical climate, at 29 km (46 ml) from Huánuco, it holds one of the first churches built in the region, San Miguel Arcángel, dated in 1600.


Tingo María
. This beautiful province at 139 km (224 ml) from Huánuco and 680 m.a.s.l. (2,220 ft), is located at the border of the Huallaga river. It is surrounded by a chain of mountains known as La Bella Durmiente or Sleeping Beauty, because it comes into view as the profile of a beautiful young woman laying on her back.

La cueva de las lechuzas, en el Parque Nacional de Tingo María.La Cueva de las Lechuzas. This cave is located at the skirts of the Bella Durmiente mountain chain at 11 km (16 ml) from Tingo María. It is a gigantic limestone cave that houses an important colony of birds, known as the guacharos or santanas, which look like owls.

El Boquerón del Padre Abad. This narrow river canyon, covered with vegetation and surrounded by beautiful water falls is located at 196 km (315 ml) from Tingo María.

La Cueva de las Pavas. At 15 km (24 ml) from Tingo María, this cave tracks the end of a profound and narrow gorge, where a stream flows creating small beaches and ponds surrounded by an exuberant vegetation.

Capricho. An archeological complex along the route to Tingo María.

Huanuco Pampa. Archeological ruins, known as the rascacielos pre-colombinos or pre-Columbian skyscrapers, divided into four distinct quarters.


There is a great variety of gastronomic specialties in Huánuco. Among the most well known dishes are, picante de cuy (guinea pig in hot pepper sauce), pachamanca (barbecue) de chancho, pato enterrado, chivo perseguido, picante de queso picante de carne, locro de gallina, sancochado, charqui con mote, chicharrón de mote, fried trout, humitas, tamales, picante de paltas, and sheep head broth.

The most tasty desserts and sweets are, las chancaquitas, prestiños, alfeñiques and corn bread.

To drink, Huanuqueños serve is chicha de jora and chicha de maní, guarapo de caña, aguardiente and, of course, their wonderful coffee.


January 6.
Pascua de Reyes (The Adoration of the Magi). Music and dancing until dawn, celebrating the arrival of the Magi.

Carnavales. (Carnivals). This is a celebration that takes place everywhere in the department, and goes on for several days and nights. The Huanuqueños joyfully dance through the streets in groups joining the masquerades. Festivities include the cortaárboles (tree cutting), floats, parades and the election of the Carnival Queen.

Holy Week. Every town honors this date with silence and retreat. The churches are widely opened, processions take place, and in several towns, the people in mourning, wear black.

May 1. Fiesta del Señor de Chacos, patron of the town of San Rafael in the province of Ambo.

May 3. Fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo, celebrated in Huánuco.

July 16. Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen.

July 28 and 29. Independence Day, celebrated with parades of folk groups, fireworks and popular dances.

August 10. Fiesta de San Lorenzo, in Colpas, a town near the capital city.

August 12 through 18. Huánuco Tourist Week. During this week, the city of Huánuco celebrates the anniversary of the city. Parades, floats, a music festival with national and foreign artists, and several other cultural, social and sports events are included.

October 13 through 19. Tingo María Tourist Week. Parades, music festivals, and dances are included as part of the anniversary celebrations.

October 27 through 29. Fiesta del Señor de Burgos, patron of Huánuco. While taken in procession, festivals and dances take place in his honor.

December 25. Christmas celebration with the participation of the Cofradía de los Negritos.