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Cerro de Pasco is a city in the Central Sierra of Peru, located at the top of the Andean mountains. It is the capital of the Pasco region, and an important mining center. At 4,330 metres (14,210 ft) elevation, it is one of the highest cities in the world.



Cerro de Pasco is predominantly a mining city. A prominent feature of the city is the ever-growing hole in the center — an open-pit mine. The city is heavily polluted, with lead poisoning causing developmental defects in some local children. Nearby lakes are not at all fit for swimming. In addition, the city's extremely high altitude makes it a difficult destination for those not yet acclimatized to the elevation. Yet, it offers a unique stopover, especially for those interested in urban decay. While the sun can burn during the day, it is often freezing cold at night. Alas, hot water is often unavailable.

Get in


You can take a collectivo (shared car) from Huancayo or Huanuco (2-3 hours).


  • Walk along the open-pit mine. Although there is a covered fence, you will find spots to take a peek inside. In addition, you will see entire abandoned neighborhoods and old buildings.
  • Visit the Bosque de Piedras de Huayllay.
  • Visit the main square (Plaza Daniel Alcides Carrion) and see the large statue of Daniel Alcides Carrión García, injecting himself with a disease to advance our understanding of it (he soon died of it).











Most hotels receive bad reviews, in large part due to their lack of hot water. This reflects the state of the city: the hotel owners are often not at fault. Ask about hot water; it may be that hot or lukewarm water is available only in the mornings and evenings.

  • Hotel Wong. A simple place with friendly hosts. Central location, close to the bus station (which is where collectivos arrive and depart from).

Stay safe


It makes sense to visit the city once you've spent some time at high altitude. Also, make sure you have a jacket and hat handy, as it will get very cold at night.

Go next

  • Take a collectivo from the bus station (Terminal Terrestre) to Jauja, Huancayo or Huanuco.

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