We arrived in Abancay this weekend, after an unpleasant overnight 9 hour bus ride from Nazca. One of the first things we saw whilst wandering through the town centre was the Instituto Nacional Penitenciario (INPE) Abancay, at Ave Diaz Barcenas 104. Plastered up onto the outside walls by the entrance, were the long & detailed Prison Rules for Visitors. These set out what visitors can & cannot wear (ie no shoes with more than a 2cm thick sole; no shoes with laces; no red clothing!), and what they can & cannot bring in when visiting (ie no electrical goods, no cameras or phones, what sort of foods etc etc). We saw a number of visitors (men only) going in & out with food and probably bags of clothing/washing, some leaving were putting their belts back onto their trousers.
We came to Abancay to get some altitude acclimatisation before going higher up into the Andes, as so far we’ve been pretty much at sea level in Peru. Abancay is at around 2400m, is the capital of Abancay province, within the Apurimac region of Peru, and has a current population of some 70,000 people (info on Abancay). Because of its warm climate it is known as the ‘town of eternal spring’, and it does rain – it rained lightly last night & today, but at a temp of some 25degrees C daytimes, who cares! We see no other ‘tourists’ here at all, and no infrastructure for tourism. But the town is set in a beautiful valley surrounded by rolling hills, with several rivers running down to the valley floor. The central town area is flat, but the rest of the town climbs the hills & further valleys to the north, west & southwest. Couds cover the tops of the hills & uppermost parts of town in the mornings. We however, are finding it a struggle to do much uphill walking at this stage!