This area of the Andes that hides more than one surprise is the Huayllay Stone Forest, located in the Andes of the Pasco region, at altitudes ranging between 4,100 and 4,600 meters above sea level. The erosion caused by volcanic activity, water courses and climatic conditions has generated sculptural formations that resemble various figures; In addition, it is still home to species such as vicuñas, wild cats, skunks, hawks and partridges.
There are also cave paintings and a hot spring. Most of the tourism that comes to this area is national, but some of the foreigners who have come here compare this place with the Garden of Gods, in Colorado Springs.
According to the locals, it is possible to stay in Huayllay for several days and not repeat the activities, since there are more than ten hiking routes (the easiest one takes three to four hours) and you can also practice rock climbing. Huayllay is reached from Lima by land, and depending on the route taken, the trip can last between 6 to 8 hours. If you like the mountains and adventure, you will love this place.
This wonder of Peru is located in the district of Huayllay, in the province and department of Pasco.
The area has a sub-humid and semi-frigid climate. The average annual temperature is 6°C. The rainy season is between September and March. Due to the rocks that store heat, they also generate the existence of various microclimates.
The Huayllay Stone Forest is located at 4,310 meters above sea level.
In an extension of 6815 hectares, the Huayllay Stone Forest houses more than 480 rocky figures of great beauty and uniqueness, formed by ancient volcanic chimneys shaped by the erosion of the wind, water and the melting of glaciers.
The fauna has also adapted to this unique ecosystem. When you visit, you will find wild guinea pigs, deer, vizcachas, skunks, Andean foxes, llamas, alpacas, guanacos, vicuñas, wild cats, and different species of rodents.
The Huayllay Stone Forest has become one of the favorite places for adrenaline lovers. Mountain bikers, for example, cover a route that goes from 4,100 masl to 4,500 masl, which represents quite a challenge. The stone forest is also perfect for other extreme sports such as rock climbing and trekking. Its privileged location, contact with nature and the challenge of the route make adventurers have a unique experience.
This national sanctuary keeps testimonies of the passage of man for 10,000 years. The evidence is the presence of more than 500 cave paintings throughout the forest, belonging to different moments in the history of ancient Peruvians. The vast majority of the paintings are related to the domestication of Andean camelids. Thanks to them, archaeologists have managed to determine that, in the area, the domestication of llamas and alpacas would have begun around 6,000 years BC, but their incorporation as pack animals would date back to 4,500 BC.
The Huayllay Stone Forest is considered one of the Seven Wonders of Peru, which is why it is a must to travel to Pasco and practice climbing on its huge human-shaped rocks.
This natural wonder has more than 4,000 rock formations, most of which resemble profiles of humans such as the walker or the thinker, and animals, including the turtle, the alpaca, the condor, the elephant, the zebra, the dog, the snail, etc.
Currently, the Sernanp, in charge of the care and maintenance of the Sanctuary, manages three main tourist routes:
Route 1. The tour takes an average of approximately two hours and you can see the following figures: the king's crown, the tunnel, the bear's prayer, the fish, the thinker, the dog, the snail, the turtle, the witch, the lizard, the red-handed lizard, the seal, the lamb, the nuns, the kiss of the bride and groom and the cobra.
Route 2. There are two options: by car, the journey takes about an hour and a half; on foot, between 3 and 4 hours. You will be able to observe cave paintings and the figures of the angel, the elephant, the alpaca, the tourist, the mushroom, the condor, the toad and the portico.
Route 3. The tour lasts approximately 3 hours on foot. You can appreciate the figures of the greeting, the child, the falcon, the face, the Roman and the dinosaur, as well as cave paintings.
To go to this great tourist attraction, there are 3 routes:
The first option is to go through the Central Highway, starting from Lima, continuing through La Oroya, Junín, Carhuamayo, Villa Pasco, Canchacucho, until you reach the Huayllay Stone Forest. The distance on this route is about 315 kilometers.
Another option is to go along the north side of the capital, starting from Lima and going through Canta, La Viuda, Huayllay, Canchacucho, until you reach your destination. This route has a distance of 230 kilometers.
It can also be reached by air, through the Vicco Airport (bordering district of Huayllay), which is located 15 kilometers from the Forest.
Visiting this majestic stone forest is definitely a good option to rest, live adventures, and spend a pleasant moment with friends, family, or your partner. Here, you can do different leisure and adventure activities. For example, you can start touring the place, discovering the unique shapes of the volcanic rocks. As for the route, you will not have any kind of inconvenience, since the path is well signposted.
Also, during the walk you can take the opportunity to learn about the varied fauna and flora that this wonderful territory has. Within the flora you can find Huamanpintas, which stand out for their beauty and health benefits.
On the other hand, within Huayllay you can carry out adventure plans such as rock climbing in some of the largest. Without a doubt, this activity will allow you to enjoy high doses of adrenaline. Definitely, it is an experience that will remain in your memories for a long time.
Finally, you cannot miss visiting the hot springs where you can spend a moment of complete relaxation, immersing yourself in the warm waters of these hot springs. It is said that this natural wonder is the product of the underground river that runs through the center of the volcano. Therefore, these waters are recognized for their health properties, thanks to minerals such as sodium, sulfate, calcium, magnesium, among other substances.
This wonderful sanctuary is recognized for being a destination with natural, archaeological and historical wealth. But, it is also a space dedicated to peasant culture with the Ecotourism Festival of Rural Communities and Ruraltur Tourists. This event, which began in 1996, aims to generate coexistence between the rural communities of the sector and national and foreign tourists.
Within the event several gastronomic, craft, cultural and sports samples are held. In the same way, guided tours are carried out through the rock forest and through its archaeological remains. All this is done in order to strengthen experiential, adventure, mystical tourism, and ecotourism in the region.
It is also possible to do activities to recharge energies such as meditation in the Magnetic Center, which is led by an expert on the subject. So if you are looking to relax and renew energy, this is a very good option. Cheer up to participate!
To visit the Huayllay Stone Forest, keep in mind the following recommendations:
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.