Andahuaylas is out of the main tourist track. Nobody comes or stops here if they are not truly interested in knowing those deep and seemingly boring parts of the country. There is even not a proper road leading to this place. The connection to the main cities of Ayacucho and Abancay is via trocha, the nasty bumpy mountain road. To run the 240km separating Andahuaylas from Ayacucho a bus needs normally over 8h. In our case it was almost 11h! The rain season has begun and the road already started to deteriorate. Crawling through the mountains, we were passing wet passages one after another, sometimes getting out of the bus to avoid it getting stuck in the mud. Packed into an old crowded vehicle, bouncing on the very last back seat, every minute feeling sicker and sicker (instead of the pills), I just wished this journey to end. I had even no will left to admire the views outside (unusual for me). And the views were beautiful – as all around these wild parts of the Andes.
Andahuaylas itself is a small town – there is basically nothing to do there apart from observing the always colourful and vivid central market. But the locals is proud of two things: Sondor – the ruins of the Chanka people and Laguna Pacucha – a large lake around 30min drive from the town.
Signs along the road advertises Laguna Pacucha as the “Most beautiful lake in Peru”, which is obviously not true. But it is still a nice and quiet spot and a perfect place to have a look at the ‘depths of Peru’, where people still live as they used to 50 years ago. We tried to talk to an old lady who was taking her cows down to the water. Turned out …. she didn’t speak Spanish! Her only language was Quechua, the language of her father, grandfather and grand grandfather. So she just laughed in our face, said something we didn’t understand (there is a chance it was offending – how would we know?) and left.
Hundreds of years ago this area was inhabited by the Chanka people, at that time the power of Andes. It was a strong and brave nation, famous for being bloody in the battles and scalping their captives. And the only one that was close to beating the Incas, feared by them so much that the Inca ruler, Viracocha, flew from Cusco when he saw the approaching Chanka army. But in the battle that took place the Chanka were defeated and the Inca imperium started to grow.