This is a site we have been wanting to get to for a while, and recently I had the opportunity to take the hike with a few of our guests. Unfortunately I have not been able to find much information on Wata, but from what I have learned Wata is Quechua for Island, the site is pre-Inka and was likely a center for administrative, economic and/or population control.
The trail that we took is one of at least two different trails and starts 5.75 km north of our town of Huarocondo, and is allong the new road being constructed to Pachar. The trail starts climbing up from the valley almost immiediatly and continues to climb at a moderate rate for the entire 5 km to the site.
The beguning of the trail is somewhat shaded as it passes through some eucalyptus groves, the shade does not last long though and we soon found ourselves fully exposed to the Andean sun. The views along the trail were not overly impressive, the altitude did provide some nice views of the vally but there was nothing that I found to be a great view.
One of the posotive things about hiking to Wata is the seclusion, if you are looking for a day hike that will offer a break from the crowds, this may be a good choice as we encountered no other hikers and only a few locals with animals allong the way. The down side of corse is that this trail runs along the East side of the mountain, which puts you in the sun for the entire hike which is all up hill.
The site itself was small although interesting, consisting mainly of walls and terraces, but there was also the remnants of a structure or large wall that contained several niches, some small and some large. The main area of the sites seemed to be located in a saddle, which is where we entered, and the hill to the East of the saddle had some terraces and walls. We walked around a bit and did not see any additional structures, although we did find a second trail that decended into the valley to the North.
After exploring the site a bit we relaxed on the top of the hill and enjoyed lunch allong with the view of the valley below, we were considering exploreing the site more after lunch but a large storm was approaching and we felt it was best to head back down the mountain.
Overall I enjoyed the hike and would do it again if we have future guests that are interested in hiking to Wata, but I think it should be done more for the hike than the site, considering it’s small size and lack of significant arcitecture. I would though advise against doing this hike during the rainy season, as there are 2 seperate areas where the trail crosses large slide fields, which could become active during periods of heavy rain.
Wata Hike from Huarocondo
Durration: 4-1/2 hours hiking (round trip)
Site Altitude: 3800 m
Accent: 600 m over 5 km