This should be combined with a visit to the Sondor Chanka since it's on the way.
The journey to the lake is beautiful and goes through forests and high fields. The lake is much higher up than the town so the road goes up big time then back down a bit to the lake.
You can hike to it but my advice would be to hike from the top of the hill back to town, much easier!
The place is beautiful with clear crisp air and a real feel good feeling that only natural sites can provide.
Ask your cab to take you to a restaurant to eat a trout from the lake. Ours went past the right side of the lake from the Sondor, past the little village, around teh lake a bit and stopped at a shabby looking place owned by an old woman. I'm sorry I can't remember teh name (if it had a name). The dining room was simple with a handful of old tables and a couple of Inca Cola ads. They serve trout or perch (perjerey) simply grilled. It was delicious and so cheap! I think 4 soles! In the garden, on the way to the toilets, was a big sleeping owl.
Photo 1: the lake
Photo 2: the owl
Photo 3: a woman sowing her field, on the way back to town
The Sondor is what is left of a pyramid built by the Chankas civilisation probably for religious purposes. It looks pretty good and impressive.
It is only 20 kms or so from Handaluylas and past Laguna Pacucha. It should take max 30 mins in a cab.
There are fab views from the top of the pyramid.
Note: the site is free to visit but there may be a woman asking you for a fee. She said she was the guardian but that's crap. Nevertheless and considering how poor people are, it is good form to give her a sole or two.
Combine this with a visit to the lake itself and a quick trout before either going back to town by cab or trekking back from the top of the hill (if you have a guide or know where you are going.
See my separate tip for Laguna Pacucha
Photo 1: the Sondor
Photo 2: the 'ticket office'
The tiny local museum has good information on the local pre-inca culture: the Chankas. The entrance fee is very low (couple of soles, if that).
It has 5 well preserved mummies and various bits and pieces.
This restaurant is at the luxury end, relatively. It serves a mix of local food, grilled meat and chinese (known as Chifa in Peru).
I had the steak with mushroom sauce and it was very nice. Good soup too.
Good service and pleasant surroundings.
Favorite Dish: Steack
It's very cold in Andahuaylas. Therefore the clubs and bars all serve a good selection of Calientes or Calientinos: your choice of alcoohol mixed with nice hot tea.
We went to a bar on the Plaza de Armas and enjoyed a few pisco calientinos while watching a mix of Peruvian videos and old seventies disco videos.
Very surreal to be in the middle of nowhere in the Andes, hugging your cup of hot pisco & singing along to 'Knock on Wood' or 'Knowing Me, Knowing You'!!!!
Dress Code: Casual
The only way to get to or leave Andahuaylas is by bus. There may be several companies but the the one we used from Ayacucho and to Cusco was Los Chankas.
Ayacucho to Andahuaylas = 10 hours and 25 soles no paved roads at all
Andahuaylas to Cusco = 10 hours and 25 soles. Paved road only between Abancay and Cusco
The bus was crowded with local people going to their fields, to a market etc... so make sure you get your tickets early enough to get a seat.
There will be a couple of stops here and there to visit rudimentary toilets or to have lunch (very good and filing soups for a couple of soles)