Oxapampa is close to where we get a large part of our coffee, a region with a substantial number of descendants of German, Austrian, and Italian immigrants. Way out in the jungle, who would have thought?
Came across this excellent article about Oxapampa & the surrounding area. It’s a beautiful city in a higher region, and is known for it’s natural grandeur, and also for the fine cheeses that are produced here plus an abundance of fruits and vegetables. One immediately notices the different European style homes, and those names that aren’t Spanish…
Thanks to Jorge R. for this one.
Oxapampa, Peru: The secret Austrian-German community in the Peruvian Jungle
Oxapampa is a city 5,941 feet (1,814m) above sea level located in the Pasco Region of Central Peru, in an area known as the Selva Alta or “high jungle”.
Lima is 282 miles (454km) away from Oxapampa and the journey by road will take about 8 hours (in a four wheeled drive vehicle), and 11 to 12 hours by bus.
Roads around the area are mainly rubble surfaced or dirt tracks, and distances between places may seem reasonable until you factor in the poor condition of the roads which are frequently washed away by floods and landslides.
There are a number of tour companies providing package holidays, guided tours and activity based trips to Oxapampa and its surrounding regions.
About a third of the population living in Oxapampa are descendants of a Tyrolean (Austrian) and Prussian (German) community of 70 families that settled in the region in 1859, initially in Pozuzo which is 50 miles (80km) away.
The colonists originally arrived at Port Callao in Lima after a four month journey by sea. They immediately encountered problems as Peru was entering a state of civil war. Some chose to stay in Lima while others sailed to Port Huacho where they were not well received by the local authorities.
The group of 300 left Huacho and headed across mountains and jungle, frequently getting lost, finally arriving at Pozuzo two years later with only 165 of the group remaining. Some had died and others had grown disheartened, leaving to work in local ranches.
In 1891 a group of the colonists left Pozuzo, which was now an affluent and important cattle breading town, and founded Oxapampa.
Continue reading detailed article with photos here:
Selvamonos (Let’s Go to the Jungle) Festival
Each year Oxapampa converts to a “jungle Woodstock” for a few days, as visitors world wide, and Peruvians flock to attend the “Selvamonos” festival. This translates to “Let’s go to the jungle…”
From the website: (Google translate with authors corrections)
Selvámonos is presented as a cultural project created between multiple trips and nights out made by a group of passionate friends of Peru, with the intention to decentralize various cultural events, (whose main headquarters are in Lima) to different spaces. Thus, Peruvians and foreigners can experience and enjoy a festival of quality in a new and warm environment inside the country: Oxapampa, where it is also possible to rediscover the essence of art surrounded by the nature of the forest and to motivate a new and sustainable approach favorably.
June coincides with the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, and the cooling “winds of San Juan, which makes camping out to enjoy the festival that much nicer.
The original colonists settled in Pozuso before a group of families moved to Oxapampa. For many years, this area was fairly isolated, and a road didn’t even go there until 1943.
In fact, so isolated was the area that the original folk music brought from Germany was well preserved, and German historical societies have visited Pozuso to record and continue saving these musical treasures which had been lost in Europe.
There’s of course, so much more to see and experience here. Definitely worth exploring for as many days as you can fit in. From Oxapampa to Pozuso is about a 4 hour ride in a combi (small bus.) There are many twists and turns as you descend lower to Pozuso. The trip is punctuated by stunning waterfalls, and Andes vista after vista.
It’s a long journey to Oxapampa & then Pozuso from Lima via car or bus, but there is now a once weekly (Saturday) flight to Mazamari. From Mazamari, it’s about 4 1/2 hours to Oxapampa via colectivo (rented car.) Spend a day or so around Oxapampa, and then head to Pozuso. On your way back to Mazamari, spend some time in Villa Rica along the Coffee Road. Enjoy this secret surprise in the jungle of Peru!