Tourism has not yet reached Andahuaylas, a city of steep, narrow alleys that has one of the poorest demographics of the Peruvian sierra. The city sits on the banks of the Río Chumbau and is sandwiched between the smaller towns of San Jerónimo and Talavera.
Most travelers stop here for the night only because Andahuaylas is midway in the Ayacucho –Cusco  odyssey—it’s roughly 10 hours by bus to either place. This is a good place to stretch the legs and walk through pleasant countryside and friendly villages.
Andahuaylas was once the region of the Chancas, a warrior tribe that may have toppled the Huari around A.D. 1000 and almost extinguished the Inca empire before it started. Despite overwhelming odds and panic in Cusco , the young Inca Yupanqui managed to rally the troops and turn back the Chancas. The event was so important in the Inca’s mythological history that the young Inca afterwards changed his name to Pachacútec, meaning “He Who Moves the World.” The Inca empire grew relentlessly from that point forward.
Andahuaylas’s main colonial building is the cathedral, built of huge granite blocks in the 17th century. The best time to visit the cathedral is during early-morning mass, usually around7 a.m.
From Andahuaylas, Expreso Los Chankas (Malecón Grau 474, tel. 083/42-2441, US$8) has three daily buses to Cusco  (10–11 hours), and two north to Ayacucho  (10–11 hours). Aerocondor (Ricardo Palma 330, Plaza de Armas, tel. 083/42-2877, www.aerocondor.com.pe ) has regular flights to Lima  and, weather-permitting, to Ayacucho.
The route between Andahuaylas and Abancay  takes around five hours and includes a climb to the Andean puna around Kishuara (3,450 meters) and a descent to the balmy climate of the Río Pachachaca Valley (2,000 meters), where sugarcane is cultivated. During the drive, Abancay appears far in the distance with snow-covered Nevado Ampay looming overhead. From Abancay, there is another five hours of paved road to Cusco , passing through the balmy Apurímac Valley.