Matucana is the capital of the Andean province Huarochiri, at the beginning of the Sierra as you travel west from Lima. As such, many of its inhabitants are from other areas, however, its annexes (which we highly recommend visiting) are traditional pueblos that maintain ancient festivals, traditions, and beliefs. This is already a popular nature getaway […]
Matucana is the capital of the Andean province Huarochiri, at the beginning of the Sierra as you travel west from Lima. As such, many of its inhabitants are from other areas, however, its annexes (which we highly recommend visiting) are traditional pueblos that maintain ancient festivals, traditions, and beliefs. This is already a popular nature getaway for Peruvians, who hike the mountains and explore the area’s many waterfalls. A good 1-2 day stop outside of Lima.
A note about weather: Matucana is located at 2,400 meters above sea level, but the temperature ranges from only about 50 F to 75 F. From April to October it is sunny all day; from November to March it rains every afternoon.
The falls are a great spot for camping or picnicking, so bring your lunch basket along. Much of the appeal of a trip to the falls is the trip itself – on the way you will pass the Lion’s Face, the side of a mountain that looks like the head of a lion and also the Face of Christ, where you can see the faint outline of Jesus’s face on the mountainside. You will also pass through the Rock Forest, a sudden change in the trail where everything you walk on and see is made of rock. The path to Antankallo is well marked from Matucana, as are the sights along the way.
If you are an experienced rapeller, Antankallo is a popular spot for local Peruvians to visit on the weekends. DO NOT ATTEMPT UNLESS YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE.
Hike to the Twin Lakes
The Twin Lakes is another solid spot for picnicking and is a good option if you want a day-long hiking excursion. We recommend visiting the tourism office (oficina de turismo) in Matucana and getting a guide – it’s free (but please tip them!). If you can’t get a guide from the office, you could try getting a local; in that case, don’t pay more than S/20 (~$8) for the trip. You can also hire a mototaxi to take you part way (the road eventually becomes impassable) for S/10 (~$4).
The nearby town, Olleros, is well known in the area for its clay pots, which vary in size and uses. Some are small and can be condiment holders, others are large enough to provide soup for a family. All of them can be found in Matucana’s tourism office.
In the main plaza, the best restaurant is Nueva Generacion, which has another restaurant of the same name only a block away. That and Manzanito are the best places to eat. We also recommend walking to the market (one block from the plaza) and buying the wonderful Matucana cheese, as well as fresh potatoes and vegetables. The juices at the market are cheap and refreshing.
For baked goods, it is best to head to Don Lucho, about four blocks from the main plaza. They make fresh bread daily, and the chocolate cake and empanadas are amazing!
We recommend the bungalows in Los Olivos, just a few blocks from Matucana, for their great view of the valley. They cost S/20 (~$8) per person and up.
Hotels in Matucana:
Hostal Matucana (our recommendation of the hotels) – Only S/10 per night and has hot water.
Hotel Grau, Hostal Milenium, and Hotel PK2 Secretos are also good options. Expect to pay between S/15 – S/30 (~$6-$12) per night.
From Lima take a colectivo or combi to Chosica (about an hour). Two blocks from the main plaza in Chosica, all the cars for San Mateo (and therefore Matucana) leave every half hour. You can also go to Parque Enchenique (about four blocks from the main plaza), and in front of this park cars leave for Matucana.
Tourism Office: Phone: 244-3011, ext. 119
Jayro Bautista: In charge of the tourism office
Fatima Bautista: Jayro’s sister, also works in tourism
Janina Espinoza: Specialist in cultural tourism, works in the office in Matucana
Detailed information can also be found on Matucana’s website: http://matucanagenial.blogspot.com/