In order to reach Curahuasi, the most important district and city of the Abancay province neighboring with the Cusco Region, you have to descent by the Inter Oceanic Highway-which is in excellent condition- through a zigzag, winding road that will take you from 3.500 to 2.600 meters of altitude. You can feel the difference. The weather is warm and permanently tropical in all its indicators (day and night temperature). Instead of eucalyptus trees and small shrubs, know you can see mango, orange, and avocado trees. Curahuasi also produces maybe the best anise in the world, in two varieties, the native and the “Bolivian.” In addition, the anise produced and collected here is used to distill Anís Nájar, made in Arequipa, and Anís Curahuasi, produced in the area.
Curahuasi was officially founded jointly with Abancay in 1838, during the government of President Andrés de Santa Cruz. But its history can be traced back to the pre-Hispanic period, when the region was inhabited by different ethnic groups such as Pinahuas, Inkacunas, Racchis, Choques and Muynas. It is also known that Ina Roca passed by in 1300 when he confronted the Chancas. The Spanish also arrived to CUrahuasi on their way to Cusco, and by 1619 there were around 20 Spanish haciendas. Centuries later, Simón Bolivar added soldiers to his troops with people from this town before fighting in the battles of Ayacucho that sealed Peru’s independence. You are in a place that is much more than just an anise collecting area. But I should say that the main reason to stop in Curahuasi and spend a night there is to contemplate the beauty of the town, especially between May and July, during the threshing season, when the afternoon sun colors everything in a Sienna tone while farmers throw anise blades into the air, shining against the light. But also, another reason is the incomparable experience of seeing the Apurimac Canyon.
If you stroll down the streets of this town, you will find houses with shreds where roosters are bred for cock fighting, a true passion for curahuasinos, there is abundant corn and lima-bean crop fields, as well as of eucalyptus, pines, magueys, brooms and pisonay trees. There are also several natural, viewpoints from where the Apurimac Canyon can be seen (it is 3.901 meters deep). On the other side of the canyon you can observe the Salcantay, Cusco’s most important mountain and great protector apu of the entire region.