La Merced is known as the “Coffee City”, which is located in the Central Jungle of the country, within the province of Chanchamayo, in Junín, and is the capital of both the homonymous district in which it is located, and the province of Chanchamayo.
Despite being a city in the Peruvian Amazon, La Merced has different accommodations in its urban core that, although they are not luxury hotels, will offer the traveler the security and stability that they will not achieve by camping in the rural areas of the territory, and at very low costs. The urban center also has different restaurants and shops, as well as the possibility of transporting through the different streets of the city thanks to the use of so-called motorcycle taxis.
Regarding the tourist attractions of La Merced, it must be said that both ecological tourist sites and those where experiential tourism are present predominate in this city. An essential place to visit if you go to the city of La Merced is the Pampa Michi Native Community, which is made up of a human group belonging to the Asháninka ethnic group, who still live in traditional dwellings today and wear typical costumes. from his town. Visiting this community will also offer the visitor the possibility of knowing the traditional music of this ethnic group from the Amazon, as well as certain rituals.
In La Merced there is also a Zoo called Gallito de las Rocas and where Peruvian birds are raised in captivity, among other animals, as well as an important variety of plants from the Amazon. An analogous site to the previous one is the Butterfly Garden, where other kinds of wildlife are also protected.
Visiting La Merced also allows you to follow the route of the Perené Valley, nourished by the river of the same name and around which it is possible to appreciate some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Peruvian jungle. Don’t forget, when you arrive at La Merced, to access the purchase, in one of the shops or fairs, of the famous and exquisite coffee of La Merced de Chanchamayo, famous worldwide.
This is an experience that you can enjoy as a family, the charm and beauty of the jungle has no comparison! Reserve about 3 days in your calendar, the best time is between the months of April and October to avoid the rainy season. The trip can be done in any car, but if you want to visit the area of the falls, the ideal is to do it in a van because that journey can be complicated. Everything else is paved so there should be no problem with another type of vehicle.
We headed towards the Ramiro Prialé highway, arriving at Huachipa we entered the central highway. As we advance the landscape is transformed, beyond Chosica we are already winding through the mountains. At the height of San Mateo we exceed 3149 m.a.s.l. and the ascent becomes much more pronounced until Ticlio, which is the highest point of the route with an altitude of 4818 meters above sea level. From here we begin to descend, and an hour later we arrive at La Oroya, in this area you have to pay pay attention to the detours, and take the road to “Tarma / Chanchamayo”.
After passing the city of Tarma, we will notice that we are getting closer to the jungle, because little by little the landscape will change to the point where we will only see green everywhere. Then we arrive at San Ramón and 15 minutes later at our destination La Merced. In total there are approximately 7 to 8 hours of travel, at the end of this article you will find the map of the route.
On the outskirts of La Merced we can find many very attractive country accommodations, it is advisable to book in advance, prices range between 180 and 400 soles per night. In the same city we have more options for all tastes and pockets. In our case we stayed at the “Paraíso hotel” located on the corner of the main square, the cost of the double room was 70 soles and the triple 90 soles per night. In the surroundings of the square you will find everything one may need: pharmacies, restaurants, soda fountains, banks, shops, etc.
30 minutes from the city is the Ashaninka Pampa Michi native community, which always warmly welcomes its visitors. Initially they dress them in their typical costumes and after telling them a little about their history and traditions, they take them to dance with them around a large bonfire. Finally, they invite them to buy the handicrafts, food and drinks that they themselves produce. It is a very nice experiential tourism experience.
To visit the falls, it is advisable to leave very early. In our case we tried to do it at noon, but on the way the rain broke out and they informed us that there was a storm in the highlands. We had to postpone it for the next day. To get there you must make a 1-hour trip to the town of Yurinaki. Here there is a detour of 7 km of trail through which you reach the area of the falls. As we mentioned at the beginning, it is a somewhat complicated route, in the rainy season it would be dangerous to do that section without a good truck. What we cannot fail to mention is the impressive jungle landscape that is revealed as we ascend.
We arrive at the entrance of the Bayoz and Velo de Novia waterfalls, here you will find typical food stalls of the jungle “on the way” for all tastes. We chose to visit only the Bayoz waterfall, because access is easier and safer (in our group we had children and elderly people), the entrance fee is 1.50 per person.
The ascent to the Bayoz waterfall has a well-defined path, with railings and stairs. It is a 15-minute walk, and from the beginning you can already see several waterfalls that embellish the route. An important recommendation is to do this section with sneakers or shoes that have a good non-slip sole, a lot of mud forms due to the rains and you can easily slip.
The Bayoz waterfall has a beautiful and wide waterfall with an approximate height of 60 meters, on its slopes it has a large shallow pit where children and adults can bathe without any risk, you just have to be very careful when stepping because you you can hurt your feet with the sharp pebbles that are all over the bottom. The ideal is to enter with aquashoes that have a thick sole.
The food of the jungle is very varied and delicious, in the center of the city we find many traditional restaurants. If you visit Pampa Michi, very close you will find the country restaurant “Tinkuy”. Here you can enjoy very good typical dishes of the area, however what also makes this place special is that it has a viewpoint, and right at this point you can see the union of the Chanchamayo and Paucartambo rivers between the green mountains. that form the beginning of the Perené.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Peru, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.