Jauja, (Sausa, Xauxa) is in Southern Sierra (Peru). It is at an altitude of 3,400 m (11,200 ft). Its population in 2015 was about 15,000 people. The town, with a laid-back ambiance and salubrious climate, has narrow streets with houses painted blue. Although visited by few tourists, the town has several significant ruins and attractions, more than Huancayo (which is also has few tourists). Laguna de Paca lake is close to the city.
Jauja was the capital of Spanish Peru, prior to the founding of Lima as the new capital. Its name is referenced in the popular Spanish expression "país de Jauja", which literally means "country of Jauja", but is used figuratively to mean a “never never land" or a "land of milk and honey”.
Jauja is a city whose main activity is in the retail trade of agricultural products produced in the Mantaro Valley. Its streets are narrow and the houses are mainly built in the Republican Andean style from adobe plastered with plaster, with large wooden doors or hallways.
Prior to the Inca era, the area formed part of the Xauxa-Wanka confederation. A town was inhabited by Xauxa people in the vicinity before the Incas. The Xauxas eventually accepted Inca domination, and being renowned warriors, Xauxa contributed soldiers to the campaigns of political and military expansion towards Quito.
During the initial expansion of Inca civilization, Incas established the provincial administrative center of "Hatun Xauxa", the head of the province or wanami of Xauxa. The city of Xauxa was interconnected with the rest of the empire by the main section of the Qhapaq Ñam highway, a royal road connecting Cusco to Quito.
After the Spanish had sealed the conquest of Peru by taking Cusco in 1533, Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro established Xauxa as Peru's first capital in 1534. In the same year, Pizarro and his men discovered that Xauxa was home to huge accumulations of Inca food, clothing and wealth. The Spaniards recognized that they could live comfortably for months. This was the origin of the legend of the Land of Cockaigne.
When the decision was made in 1535 to move the capital to Lima to take advantage of proximity to the port (Callao), Lima began to overshadow Jauja's importance.
Jauja's dry climate was recognized, however, as being beneficial for patients with respiratory tract tuberculosis. In this regard, the Jauja hospital cared for many Spaniards. With the establishment of the sanatorium "Domingo Olavegoya" Jauja patients came from many parts of the world, making Jauja a cosmopolitan city. This was described in the novel Páis de Jauja, by Edgardo Rivera Martínez. Tombstones with names from all over the world can be seen in the Jauja cemetery, but after the development of antibiotics, the city began to lose its importance as a health mecca.
The river that originates in the Mantaro River Valley, is called the Mantaro River that flows near the Jauja town into a large alluvial plain. Montaro River valley forms the central highlands of Peru bounded by towering Cordillera ranges which has three tributary valleys known as the Masma, the Paca and the Yanamarca.
It is about 8 km (5 mi) to the south east of La Oroya town (a smelting centre of mining industry), 60 km (37 mi) to the south of Tarma and 40 km (25 mi) to the north of Huancayo.
The weather is divided into three distinct seasons: the rainy season from November to April, winter from May to July and the dry sunny season, with strong winds from August to October.
By bus or combi
A combi is a sort of minibus without bus stops. In Huancayo they leave from Av Ferrocarril just south of Playa de Estacion Real Plaza, S/.3.50, and take about an 1½ hrs on the izquierda route. The izquierda (left) route is said to be slightly faster than the derecha (right) route (though it probably depends more on traffic as both sides have good roads). The combis are clearly marked “Jauja izquierda” or “Jauja derecha” (or Huancayo izquierda/derecha) and the conductors clearly call the route. Lots of combis depart from the same place and the Jauja ones are not that frequent. The main road up the valley has a lot on linear development on both sides for much of the route so not particularly scenic.
Buses run from Huancayo Terminal Terrestre Los Andes, Huancayo.
Colectivos run from Jirón Mantaro (a few blocks east of Plaza de la Constitución, Huancayo).
Jauja is connected by highway to Lima and La Oroya. It is on Highway 3S which comes from Lima, 40 km (25 mi) to the northwest of the regional capital of Huancayo.
Jauja is served by Jauja railway station of the central line of the national railway system.
- 1 Francisco Carle Airport (JAU IATA). LATAM Perú from Lima. Most travelers to domestic and international destinations connect in Lima's Jorge Chávez International Airport.
Small enough to walk around.
Taxis and colectivos wait in the carpark of Terminal Terrestre. To get a taxi you have to go to th taxi rank at the bus terminal).
There are loads of 3-wheeler “mototaxis” around the town. They are used for local transport, they have a bench seat across the back and can carry 1 or 2 people. Fares are cheaper than a regular taxi. You can flag one down on the street.
They run on LPG and all seem to be in fairly good condition. But they are a bit underpowered which you notice if you take one out-of-town.
- Barrio La Libertad is one of the older neighbourhoods and is nestled in the eastern part of the city. Its plaza, also named La Libertad, contains a monument atop of which is a golden eagle.
- The archaeological museum has exhibits of the ancient Huari culture.
- The town's fossil museum is composed of the collection by a local man.
- The hill that forms the backdrop for the town has a fine row of Inca Stores and large number of circular buildings representing the Xauxa culture.
- 1 Cathedral of Jauja (Iglesia Matriz de Jauja). Dating from 1564, the Jauja Cathedral was built in Baroque and Rococo style. Interior highlights include double drop ceiling tiles, finely carved wooden altars, colonial retablos, and the image of Our Lady of the Rosary (patron of Jauja). The church required rebuilding after collapsing in March 1836 when Estanilslao Marquez was the pastor. The systematic reconstruction was initiated in 1914 by parish priest Fr Paul. The façade was completed in 1921 under Father Barrier, a leading architect of religious buildings. Interior renovations began in 1928. The back of the presbytery includes Solomonic additions. The bell tower is modern and contains brass bells that can be heard for miles. In 1906, a chiming clock was incorporated under pastor Dr. Sixto G. Davila.
- Built in Gothic style, the Capilla Cristo Pobre church ("Poor Christ Chapel") is one of the most notable architectural examples in Jauja. It is patterned after the, Notre Dame. Via Crucis’s paintings, brought from France, are on display at the Capilla de Cristo Pobre.
- 2 Lake Paca. Laguna de Paca lake has Xauxa stone buildings in ruins.
- The Feast of San Sebastian and San Fabian (20 January) is the most popular festival, when Tunantada is celebrated for one week. Tunantada derives from the Spanish 'Tunantes'. Some believe that the origin of the dance lies at the end of the Viceroyalty of Peru and the dawn of the Republican era of Peru. Through this dance of the festival, the natives imitate the Spanish, commemorating the years that the Spanish and natives existed alongside in Jauja. Locals dress up in the form of satirical wire mesh masks, eyes, whiskers and painted white complexion. Some of the dancers carry a baton and wear their pants to the knee, as if they were pure-blooded Spanish. The music starts with violin sounds, and then the sounds of clarinets, Andean harps, saxophones, etc.
- Other important festivals include Carnival (February and March), the anniversary of the Spanish foundation of the city (April 25), Independence Day (July), Herranza (August), Feast of Mamanchic Rosario, patron saint of Jauja (October), and Adoration of the Child (December).
The town is famous for its Wednesday and Sunday markets. The market is mainly stalls selling local agricultural produce, several selling only different varieties of potato.
- Hostal Berlin, Av. Bruno Terreros 237 237 (in the city center near the bus station), ☏ . Check-in: 06:00-23:00, check-out: 12:30. Dorms and private rooms. Wi-Fi, cable TV. Dorm S/23,, double/twin S/.65, local tax US$10, breakfast S/.6.
- Gran Hotel Tunanmarca, Jr. Francisco Pizarro N° 125. Bar, terrace, restaurant, 24-hour front desk, room service, free WiFi, free private parking, and paid airport shuttle service. All rooms atare equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a private bathroom. Guest rooms include a desk. Continental breakfast included. From S/.232.
4 km (2.5 mi) to the north of the town is Laguna de Paca, covering an area of 21.4 km² (8.3 sq mi).
To the west of the town, near the village of Chocon, is the Laguna Tragadera.
Villages in close proximity to Jauja include Huerta, Jauja|Huerta, Viscap, Huaripampa, Julcán, Jauja, Ataura, Masma, Mantaro, Huamali, Muquiyauyo, Chocon and San Pedro de Chulan and Yauli, to the east of Laguna de Paca to the north.