Though a bit stranded, the charming village of Lampa was probably fortunate to have been bypassed by both the Cusco–Puno highway and the train line. Otherwise it would have become another Juliaca, a tangle of congestion and ramshackle buildings.
Instead, Lampa, at 3,910 meters, is a clean-swept, hushed town with two large squares, a huge church from the 17th century, and casonas splashed in hues of ochre, maroon, and salmon—hence the town’s nickname, La Ciudad Rosada. This entire village, an oasis of red tiles amid the yellow grass of the high plains, feels like a colonial time warp.
Lampa erupts into dance and colonial-style bullfights July 29–31 during the Fiesta de Santiago Apóstol. Masses and elaborate religious processions take place December 6–8 centering on La Virgen de la Inmaculada, which was brought to Lampa from Barcelona in the 17th century.
Getting to Lampa
The only way to reach Lampa with public transport is from Juliaca, where combis leave when full from 2 de Mayo near the Mercado Santa Bárbara (US$1, one hour). From Lampa, cars, when full, leave for Juliaca from the intersection of Juan José and leave for Cusco, four blocks south of square, starting at 5 a.m.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition