The town of Lunahuaná, in the Cañete river valley in the southern end of the Lima region near Ica, is the furthest of what are considered Lima’s weekend getaway spots. At about 2 and a half hours away, passing through the towns of Cañete and Nuevo Imperial, is the pretty little colonial town and adventure sports centre of the region.
It is this warm dry valley climate that it avoids the fog that plagues the coast during the winter. Here the daytime temperature never drops below 20c. Its roaring river – at least during the Andes’ rainy half of the year but significant year-round – is popular with rafters and kayakers, and offers varying levels of difficulty.
In the town’s centre, surrounded by ageing colonial buildings, many suffering damage during the 2007 earthquake, you’ll find stalls selling food and pisco – they claim they produce the best – to weekend visitors.
Those not interested in the water sports can horse ride or walk along the river valley – must people do this at the Catapalla bridge, a 1930s construction that is still going strong.
In the hills along the valley you’ll find large numbers of adobe ruins dating to Inca times. Many are smaller than the dozens of older cities found along the Lurin valley, with one exception – the Inca city of Incahuasi, Inca Tupac Yupanqui late in the 15th century, the largest Inca adobe-built city on the coast that wasn’t conquered.