Cabanaconde, Peru Travel Guide
Cabanaconde is the last stop on the Colca Canyon trail from Arequipa. The small town is 2 hours from Chivay, Peru and where most begin treks into the Colca Canyon. There is no bank or ATM in Cabanaconde, only in Chivay.
There is a public swimming pool in town (cold water, good for a hot day, 5 soles per person) around 7 blocks from the plaza (ask for directions, there are no street signs back in the residential area), two miradors (lookout points in English), a church – San Pedro de Alcantara - and not much else. All the excitement comes from the surrounding area.
“Tu boleto?” Know what that means when a guy or gal with a beige-colored vest looking official says it to you? You need to. All visitors to the Colca Canyon have to pay a tourist fee of 70 soles (26.25 USD). The price doubled as of January, 2012.
They will come aboard busses heading to Cabanaconde asking to see the ‘boleto’ (ticket in English) as well as stand guard at the Cruz del Condor viewpoint and start of trails down into the canyon in Cabanaconde. Be prepared to pay then move on with the fun… don’t let it ruin your day or your trip!
Hikes/Trekking in the Colca Canyon
In addition to the Cruz del Condor, this is why folks come to Cabanaconde… to trek down into the canyon or out into the countryside. The most popular trek is to Sangalle – commonly referred to as the “Oasis”. A 3 hour walk down a steep path from town, 5 hours or more coming back up… with mules for rent for 60 soles ($22.60 USD) at the bottom to take you back up if you so desire.
The easiest hikes are to either of the two lookout points and to the ruins nearby (1 to 1 1/2 hour hike, ask for directions at the hostal as it’s a bit complicated route through local farms).
Note: Don’t ask why… but locals, folks at hostals, etc. will give INCORRECT hiking times for most journeys. They will insist the hike to the Oasis is 2 hours, yet even experienced hikers take over 3 to reach Sangalle. Another traveler (experienced hiker from Norway) was given a 5 hour time frame for a hike to Lake Mucara that took over 9 hours.
One lookout point is at the top of the trail to the Oasis, the other is called “Mirador Achachiua” and a 30 minute or so walk from Plaza de Armas (main plaza). From the plaza head down Calle Presbitero. After a block you will see a large blue sign to Mirador Achachiua. Turn left and keep walking straight ahead until you come to a clearing. You want to go left (sign says “La Trinchera“) and then straight (with the red-painted large open-bowled stadium to your right).
Next will be a baseball field to your left… just keep heading straight up the dirt path and eventually you will see a little wood-planked covered area jutting out over the canyon offering gorgeous views of the canyon and parts of the Oasis below. It is common to spot condors here as well; lovely place for a picnic.
For more information on trekking read: Travel Guide to the Colca Canyon & Trekking
Visiting the Cruz del Condor from Cabanaconde
The Cruz del Condor (there are two lookout points off the main road) is just 20 minutes from Cabanaconde. There is a 6:30 a.m. public bus daily from the plaza, packed-full of locals – if you want a seat hop on by 6:15 or so! The next bus leaves at 9:30 a.m. which is too late to arrive to get the best chance of seeing condors, though you may get lucky. You can arrange private transport through your hotel or hostal.
Information on the magnificent condors can be found here: Andean Condors – Facts, Photos & Information
Internet Cafe in Cabanaconde.
From the plaza walk down the street next to “Hostal Municipal Cabanaconde” for a block and a half. On the left-hand side you will see Monolo Net – open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
Name: Kuntur Wassi
Address: Cruz Blanca (no number)
Website: www.arequipacolca.com The only 3-star hotel in Cabanaconde with simple, double, triple rooms as well as suites.
Note: There are not any midrange hotels in Cabanaconde, the following are two of the most popular hostals, both open year-round and with bars/retaurants packed-full many nights.
Name: Valle del Fuego Hostal
Address: Street Jerusalen #400 (sign to the left of the church in plaza)
Website: www.valledelfuego.com/eng/ Similar to Pachamama with private or dorm rooms, restaurant & bar with big screen T.V. serving alpaca dishes, vegetarian dishes, pizza and fresh juices. Happy hour from 7-9 p.m.
Address: Calle San Pedro #209 A block and a half from Plaza de Armas.
Website: www.pachamamahome.com Rooms with or without private bath on two back-to-back properties. Lower-cost rooms next door to main hostal area (with restaurant & bar) that has a small patio and guest kitchen. If you are heading out early to go trekking… ask for a discount on your room as all prices include breakfast (egg, crepe, bread, jam. butter, coffee/tea).
Name: Las Terrazas
Address: At Plaza de Armas
Website: None. Balcony with outside seating overlooking the plaza, open for breakfast 7 – 10 a.m., lunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Pizza, pastas and parrilla items such as bistec de alpaca (alpaca steak in English).
Name: Pachamama Restaurant & Bar
Address: At Pachamama Hostal (Calle San Pedro #209)
Website: www.pachamamahome.com/pachamamaservices.htm Wood-fired pizzas, pastas, meat dishes such as alpaca. Popular attached bar with big screen T.V. & daily happy hour… if you’re nice, they sometimes make any hour ‘happy hour’
Name: Sol y Sombra
Address: Plaza de Armas
Website: None. Set menu daily for 6 soles ($2.30 USD) consisting of soup, main dish, bread and a drink served from 11 a.m to closing. Open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Photographs by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.