The Bizarre Beauty of the Huayllay Stone Forest

From a distance, it looks like the “cliffs of insanity” from The Princess Bride. However, it is not inconceivable for you to visit the Huayllay Stone Forest with mental facilities fully intact.

The Huayllay Stone Forest is a surreal site. Massive rock walls rise straight up from a desolate plateau, creating an awe-inspiring site that was 75 million years in the making. Random walls of stone emerge from the soil. Playfully-shaped, individual boulders dot the landscape, or line up single-file, as if on a pilgrimage. Imagine the Grand Canyon painted by Salvador Dali.

The stone forest is part of a natural protected area, the Huayllay National Sanctuary, which is also home to an archeological zone, Bombomarca, where you can see several prehistoric cave drawings.

The Huayllay National Sanctuary is located in the Pasco region, almost exactly in the center of Peru. The town of Cerro de Pasco is about 30 miles away, and several tour operators there offer day trips to the sanctuary.

While reaching the Huayllay Stone Forest may be challenging, the opportunity of seeing nature at its most bizarre is undeniably worth the trip.