Santuario Nacional Huayllay

Central Highlands

Santuario Nacional Huayllay, aka the bosque de piedras (forest of stones), is the world’s largest and highest rock forest at a chilly 4500m+ with formations looming out of the desolate pampa (pampas grass) in such shapes as an elephant, a king’s crown and an uncannily lifelike grazing alpaca. The area is highly rated for rock climbing. The sanctuary, comprising a vast area of several kilometers, also has thermal baths. It's almost an hour outside Cerro de Pasco, just before Huayllay.

It's not a bad idea to hire a guide, both to point out the most striking formations and to direct you to the thermal baths and the nearby prehistoric cave paintings. Señor Raul Rojas of Hostal Santa Rosa in Cerro de Pasco is a recommended guide and charges S50 per person for day trips here. Guides also wait at the site. Going solo, you might miss out on some formations, but it's doable.

Colectivos (shared transportation) traverse the Huayllay–Cerro de Pasco road. In Cerro de Pasco, colectivos depart from Parque Minero, near the bus terminal (S6, 45 minutes).