On the way to Wilcashuamán, it is possible to see Laguna Pumaqocha, a spectacular lake located up a side road four kilometers before the town of Vischongo. The detour from the main road takes about 10 minutes by car or half an hour walking.
There are semiburied Inca constructions around this sacred lake, fine walls, and a bath that features a seven-sided rock with twin water chutes.
Puya raimondii, a gigantic agave-like plant that shoots up a 15-meter flower stalk only once at the end of its life (at about 100 years old), can be seen on the high plains before Wilcashuamán. Titankayoq, the largest forest of these plants in the world, sprawls across 440 hectares, a two-hour uphill walk from the village of Vischongo. Between August and September there is always a Puya raimondii in bloom—a rare and beautiful sight.
There is no lodging in Vischongo, but Wilcashuamán has several options, the best of which is Willka Waman (US$5 s, US$7 d, with private bath).
Getting to Laguna Pumaqocha
Combis to Wilcashuamán leave from the main bus station for the bumpy five-hour ride. A private car and driver to can be rented for US$100 for a one-day round-trip, but the best, and easiest, way is to go with an agency. This way you can visit Lago Pumaqocha and Wilcashuamán, along with the Puya raimondii along the way, in a single day.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition