If there´s a word to describe this part of the country it will be authenticity. For lovers of nature, living culture and avid photographers, this area offers some of the most beautiful, raw, mountainous landscapes in all of South America. Start by exploring the snowcapped region of Ancash and delighting yourself in hiking along the Huayhuash Mountain Range. Continue then by wandering around the Nor Yauyos Cochas Reserve in rural Lima, home to breathtaking sceneries and traditional Andean communities. If you want to learn more about traditions and Peruvian folklore, the beautiful Mantaro Valley near Huancayo is famous for its artisans, and you’ll see up close how they make famous local handicrafts known as “mates burilados”, or carved gourds. Further south, the city of Ayacucho is also popular for its folklore, particularly handicrafts known as “retablos”, which are colorful boxed scenes that often represent daily life and Catholic festivities. Lastly, another incredible area is Apurimac, guardian to the unexplored stone-forest of Pampachiri and the glimmering lagoons of the Ampay National Sanctuary.