When you visit the Ancash region, you will not only be able to enjoy a variety of snowy peaks that invite you to practice ice climbing, among other adventure sports, but you will also find places that are less cold, and less difficult to discover and enjoy. One of these sites is Hatun Machay, a stone forest that is located in the Cordillera Negra at an altitude of 4,200 meters.
Hatun Machay, located in the central area of the country, is a beautiful setting where you can observe the magic and power of nature. Undoubtedly, it is an exceptional place, perfect for discovering the local fauna and flora, as well as enjoying various adventure sports.
Hatun Machay is located in the province of Huaraz and covers an area of 200 hectares, where the greatest charm is represented by the whimsical stone figures that time, winds, and glaciers have been responsible for forming in the place.
Located at a height of 4200 meters above sea level. Here there are between 200 and 300 routes, it also has a nearby shelter where visitors can spend the night and rest.
Hatun Machay is located in the Cordillera Negra, at 4200 m.a.s.l. Covering an area of 200 hectares, this stone forest has stone figures of unique and capricious shapes. These have been formed by time, winds and glaciers, so their shapes take on very particular characteristics.
The territory that includes this attraction has formations called boulders. These boulders can reach 83 meters high, which are ideal for adventure sports such as rock climbing. Thus, this place has become the largest sport climbing area in Peru, since it has more than 200 routes. So if you are a lover of this sport, this attraction in the Peruvian highlands is perfect for you. Just make sure you have the necessary experience and have all the safety equipment required to be able to carry out the feat without accidents.
If you want to know this tourist and natural beauty you have to go to Huaraz, in Áncash. To get to Huaraz you can choose to take various bus companies that leave from Lima, such as Allinbus or Empresa 14.
After arriving in Huaraz, you should go to Pampas Chico and take the detour at kilometer 131. To get to Hatun Machay, you can take a tourist bus, private car, or you can also go on foot on a 7-kilometer walk. This last option is one of the most recommended since you can observe the natural landscape of the Peruvian highlands and learn about some species of flora and fauna of the region.
Argentines Luciana and Andrés Saibene have installed a base called Andean Kingdom, considered the largest sport climbing school in Peru.
There they practice the sport of climbing, in addition to being able to appreciate its main attractions. The ruins, cave paintings, hot springs stand out and at the top of the forest there is a lunar landscape formed by a white stone floor and on top there are many blocks.
If you are going to choose to make the trek to Hatun Machay, it is recommended to do it in the dry season.
To access this attraction, it is necessary to make a payment of 8 soles to the Pampas Chico community, which is in charge of maintaining the area. There is an area for camping, too. You can ask the villagers about the best areas to do it.
In Hatun Machay there is no tourist infrastructure, so it is necessary to bring what is needed for the walk. The closest towns to this attraction are the district of Cátac, which is one hour away.
Hatun Machay is not only interesting for the stone formations that it presents, but also for other resources, such as the presence of cave paintings that are scattered throughout its territory, in addition in Hatun Machay the traveler will also be able to find different ruins, among other archaeological resources that are still waiting to be studied and valued.
In addition, Hatun Machay also offers settings for adventure, since its extensive territory has formations known as boulders, which are stone blocks that are ideal for activities such as rock climbing, among others. It is important to say that Hatun Machay is considered the largest sports climbing area in the Peruvian territory since it has between 200 and 300 routes. In the same way, the extensive territory that this stone forest covers also allows the traveler to enjoy long walks, where they can also enjoy a fantastic landscape and in the same way contemplate the diversity of animals and flora that exists in the place.
Two natural caves show traces that surprise all visitors, which were made by human groups that inhabited them and gave them a sacred character.
In the first cave you can see geoglyphs that represent human beings, deities, camelids and pierced cavities. The second cave shows a belt of geometric figures engraved in stone.
In the outer part of the forest, routes have been equipped by Andrés Saibene, who is in charge of maintaining the stone forest and promoting tourism development in a sustainable manner.
The tourist will be able to find in the refuge: bed, kitchen, bathrooms, among others, whose services are managed by this entity in collaboration with the peasant community.
Also, you can find the moles to get the best advice and climb in the best way. The cost of lodging in the refuge is approximately 30 nuevos soles.
Also, very close to there you can see cave paintings and ruins. If you choose to walk to Hatun Machay, you will find several of them. Finally, you can also take long walks to observe the wonderful landscape that surrounds Hatun Machay. Along the way you can find various species of animals and flora that are very traditional in the mountain habitat of our country. Some of these species are the vizcacha, the wild cat, the Andean fox, the vicuña and the deer. In flora, the most representative species is the Puya Raimondi.
The best season to visit Hatun Machay is between the months of May to September. The visits can be made at any time of the day, but the traveler is recommended to take advantage of the morning hours for his tour.
Keep in mind that to access the stone forest, it is necessary to pay S/1.00 to the Pampas Chico community, which is in charge of maintaining the area. If you wish, you can spend the night in the place, and you can consult with the residents so that they can recommend the best areas to set up your camps.
If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Entrance Tickets in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.