Amazing Places → Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve

High in the mountains, where the Río Cañete rises, nature has conjured up a breathtakingly beautiful landscape of crystal clear mountain lakes, gushing waterfalls and ancient Inca trails.

The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve – in the background, the 5750 m high Nevado Pariacaca is rising.

The magical landscape of Peru

Breathtaking archaeological sites and spectacular landscapes that are second to none, as well as colonial cities that invite you to stroll and wander.

Peru is a country with many highlights. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu is just one of them.

Peru is especially a country for travelers who love outdoor activities. Explore the wonderful mountain landscape or the jungle with its extraordinary biodiversity. Famous Hiking Trails like the Inca Trail ensure that you will definitely not get bored.

In the less elevated parts of the country, you can take tours through deserts or plunge into the waves with a board on the rugged coasts.

The Inca ruined city of Machu Picchu is Peru’s landmark and has long since achieved world fame with its mystical flair. A visit to one of the Seven Wonders of the World should not be missed.

The gateway to this attraction is the colonial city of Cusco, which itself is absolutely worth a trip. In the south of the country, the Nazca Lines, huge scars in the desert, are a magnet for vacationers and travelers. If you are looking for culture mixed with exciting nightlife, the metropolis of Lima is the place to be.

Here we would like to introduce you to one of the best-kept secrets of Peru – a magical natural landscape where so far, only a few tourists get lost.

Traveling to Peru is recommended in many respects. Beautiful landscapes, interesting culture, and much more make Peru a country where you should have spent at least one vacation.

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Nor Yauyos-Cochas Landscape Reserve

High in the mountains where the Río Cañete has its source, nature has conjured a breathtakingly beautiful landscape with crystal clear mountain lakes, rushing waterfalls, and ancient Inca trails. In the background rises the 5750m high Nevado Pariacaca.

Nevado Pariacaca - Nor Yauyos-Cochas
Nevado Pariacaca - Nor Yauyos-Cochas

Away from the tourist routes, the Nor Yauyos-Cochas scenic reserve is located in the Peruvian Andean highlands. The Nor Yauyos-Cochas Reserve is one of Peru’s best-kept secrets!

Nor Yauyos-Cochas is located about 200 km from Lima. But despite the short distance, the journey is considered adventurous and strenuous. The best starting point for hikes in the area is Huancaya. You should plan at least ten hours to get there by local bus from Lima.

Huaquis village in Nor Yauyos Cochas, Peru
Huaquis village in Nor Yauyos Cochas, Peru

Covering an area of over 2000 square kilometers, the Nor Yauyos Cochas reserve is home to Andean-specific plants and animals such as the Andean fox, Andean duck and herons.

The Cañete and Cochas-Pachacayo rivers meander through the area, repeatedly cascading picturesquely over stair-like cascades and feeding deep lagoons.

The Cascadas de Cabracancha waterfalls and the Laguna de Papacocha near the village of Vilca are considered particularly beautiful. The emerald shimmering water makes the otherwise barren mountain world come to life.

Hikers will find a lonely Eldorado in Nor Yauyos-Cochas and, despite the remoteness, accommodation along the way. Selected providers also organize Paddling Tours through the area from Lima.

Hiking around Huancaya

Huancaya is the ideal destination for all hikers looking for an easy-to-walk route surrounded by breathtaking nature. The region is known for its deep blue lakes, steep waterfalls and imposing canyons.

Very attractive is the hike to the “Condor Valley.” With a guide, it costs around 60 soles ($18).

On a two-day hike along the Mantaro River, there is time for a daring walk over swinging suspension bridges or a ride in a kayak. This is not only fun but also relaxes the day and offers optimal variety for those who are undertaking a multi-day hike for the first time.

Surely you will also meet some Llamas or Alpacas on the ancient Inca trails.

On a hike through the nature reserve, the local guides also tell about myths and legends associated with the landscape.

  • Location: Lima region. Vilcas [3,650 m] and Huancaya [3,500 m], Yauyos province.
  • Climate: Semi-arid and cold
  • Average temperature: 12°C
  • Season: May to October
  • Difficulty level: Low

If you want to explore Nor Yauyos-Cochas with sun and dry feet, planning your visit between May and October is best. Then the rainy season in Peru is over, and the sunshine hours become more.

Covering an area of over 2000 square kilometers, the Nor Yauyos Cochas reserve is home to Andean-specific plants and animals such as the Andean fox, Andean duck and herons.

The Cañete and Cochas-Pachacayo rivers meander through the area, repeatedly cascading picturesquely over stair-like cascades and feeding deep lagoons.

The Cascadas de Cabracancha waterfalls and the Laguna de Papacocha near the village of Vilca are considered particularly beautiful. The emerald shimmering water makes the otherwise barren mountain world come to life.

Hikers will find a lonely Eldorado in Nor Yauyos-Cochas and, despite the remoteness, accommodation along the way. Selected providers also organize Paddling Tours through the area from Lima.

How to reach Nor Yauyos Cochas

The drive from Lima to the nature reserve Nor Yauyos Cochas takes over ten hours. Therefore, it is advisable to make the trip along the coast with a stop in Lunahuana, where you can go horseback riding or engage in a rafting adventure.

There is also the mountainous route Route over San Mateo and the Chicla District.

Buses leave, for example, from Cruz del Sur Bus Station – Av. Javier Prado 1190 , La Victoria, Lima.

However, if you want a more relaxed approach, take the train from Lima to Huancayo, and enjoy the spectacular ride on Peru’s Central Andean Railway. 

The “Ferrocarril Central Andino” is the second highest train in the world – the view over Peru’s countryside is breathtaking – guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience!

From Huancayo, buses then leave for Nor Yauyos Cochas at 6am-12pm and 4pm from Nemesio Raez 1390, Huancayo 12004, Peru.

Part of the road from Huancayo is not yet paved, it is being worked on, but it is a safe road on the Altiplano.

The most beautiful and comfortable way to reach Huancayo from Lima is Peru’s Central Andean Railway -a ticket costs around $150. Experience the Peruvian Andes on an unforgettable train ride aboard the highest railroad in the Western Hemisphere. →

Ferrocarril Central Andino between Lima and Huancayo
Ferrocarril Central Andino between Lima and Huancayo
Train Lima to Huancayo - Peru's Central Andean Railway 
is the second highest train in the world!

Accommodation in Huancaya

Brisa del Mayo is the “Best Accommodation in Huancaya” and the only accommodation with a private bathroom, but still very simply kept. Otherwise, there are countless “Hospedajes” in the village for about 20 soles per night.

Hotel Villarma

Hotel Villarma is located directly on the banks of the river Cañete, surrounded by majestic mountains amidst the majestic scenery of the valley.

Villarma offers its guests the opportunity to enjoy a unique experience in contact with nature with upscale comfort.  You won’t find a better place to stay if you want to visit the Nor Yauyos Cochas Preserve.

From Villarma you can visit the High Andean Lagoons – you can hike the Route of Gods which is part of the Inca trail that runs to Escalerayoc or visit the Cuchimachay Caves where cave paintings from 6000 years ago are found.1

Another option is hiking the Huamanmarca archaeological complex, this is one of the first Yauyos settlements with constructions dating back to 1200 years B.C.


Loowoko Hiking Backpack 50L

TETON Sports Scout 3400

Mubasel Gear Insulated Hydration Backpack

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  1. Peruvian Prehistory: An Overview of Pre-Inca and Inca Society

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