Yanque, Peru Travel Guide
It is a tranquil town with a white (from sillar – the white volcanic stone used in construction), ageing Catholic church, Municipal building (can use the Internet for 1 sole per hour), Catholic museum and a few tiendas (shops in English) selling drinks and snacks with one displaying local artisan crafts (located next to the museum) encompassing the main square.
What most folks experience upon visiting Yanque is an organized display of ethnic dancing (music blaring from outdoor speakers), colorful tapestries on the ground with as colorful items to buy and local women dressed in native garb with an alpaca, llama or falcon in tow for you to get your photograph taken with (see photo above!) – all in the main square 20 feet or so from stepping out of the tourist van.
You usually have an hour or two to enjoy the show and walk around, enough time to take a peek inside the Museo de Yanque if so inclined. Afterwards, it is off to see the Andean Condors at Cruz del Condor!
Things to Do in and Around Yanque
- Museo de Yanque - opened in 2001 and is housed in a restored old school building. The museum is a collaboration between Santa Marta Catholic University, Grupo Inca and the Yanque Municipal District. It has three exhibition rooms, live textile workshops, theater (films & lectures) and a space for cultural events. It is located at the main square – Plaza Principal - and open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Hike to Uyu Uyu pre-Incan ruins. Easy to do on your own (around 2 hours) or can go with a group such as is offerred through Killawasi Lodge Hotel (see below). There are natural hot spring pools near the river by the ruins but are dry for most of the year.
- Termas de Tambo (Tambo Hot Springs in English) or the private hot springs of the Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs Hotel (right next door). Tambo is open from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (until 8 p.m. in June, July) and has natural pools set next to the river (see photo below). There are no showers or restaurant, just changing rooms and drinks for sale. Covered indoor pools are filled only during winter high-season, outdoor pools open all year. There is also Balneario Chacapi - (public swimming pools facility) with hot showers open from 4 a.m. (the locals are early-risers!) to 10 p.m. just 3 minutes down the road from Tambo next to the Chacapi Bridge.
- Enjoy a three-course gourmet lunch and free use of the private hot springs of Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs Hotel next door to Tambo. How? Read: Tambo Hot Springs and Colca Lodge Hot Springs.
- Horseback riding day or overnight tours. Colca Horse El Herraje offers tours throughout the surrounding area and trips into the Colca Valley. The ranch is located just a few blocks from center of town at Calle Pallacaclli #608. Vist their websitre for more information: www.colcahorseperu.com
Note: if you stay at the Killawasi Lodge or Miskiwasi B&B Hotel you can take their free 3 hour trekking tour visiting both the hot springs and the ruins. Available daily for hotel guests from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
There is another much smaller museum in town – Museo Uyu Uyu - housed in a room constructed in 1897 with pre-Inca, Inca and Colonial Hispanic artifacts on display. It is privately owned and run by Gerardo Huaracho Huaracho who lives on the property that was originally owned by his grandfather. He has personally purchased and collected all items in the museum collection and gives a free guided tour to anyone who stops by for a visit.
Located two blocks off the main plaza on Calle Lima they are part of a local organization – Sumac Yanque Ayllu - which offers rooms to rent in local homes. More information with photographs can be found here: Sumac Yanque Ayllu
Name: Killawasi Lodge (second lower cost property next door is “Miskiwasi”)
Address: Calle Caraveli # 408
Website: www.killawasilodge.com. Lovely with a capital “L”. Modern bungalow-style property with two hotels back to back, the more expensive ($65 USD per night) Killawasi Lodge with private terraces and the more low-key Miskiwasi Hotel next door ($35 USD per night). Restaurant services both hotels with continental breakfast included. Free 3 hour guided walking tour to the termas and minas for all guests, leaving daily at 3 p.m.
Name: Casa Bella Flor
Address: Calle Cusco #303 (three blocks from the plaza)
Website: http://www.casabellaflor.com Lovely garden area with various priced homey, rustic rooms encircling it, restaurant with fireplace and tour-guide owner (multi-day trips to the canyon, geysers, etc.) who speaks Spanish, French and some English! Garden is great for bird watching and you may spot a giant hummingbird that are common to the area.
Name: Private rooms at property of Museo Uyu Uyu
Address: Calle Lima #114 – two blocks from the Plaza.
Website: www.communitybasedtourism-yanque.com. Best value hostal in rustic homestyle environment at Museo Uyu Uyu. Two double rooms with separate bath, minimal kitchen use available.
Name: Eco Inn Restaurant
Address: At the Eco Inn Hotel (tranquil location, 6 blocks from plaza)
Website: http://www.ecoinnhotels.com/en/hotel/valle-del-colca/services-and-facilities Separate bar area with big screen T.V. plus WiFi.
Name: Killawasi Lodge Restaurant
Address: at Killawasi Lodge
Website: www.killawasilodge.com. Open from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner; large appetizers menu, pastas and local specialties such as alpaca dishes.
Name: Restaurant Willari
Address: Calle Modesto Malaga (no number), two blocks from the Plaza Principal behind the cathedral.
Website: None. Local, family-owned establishment.. Is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. for breakfast (french press coffee, bread, eggs), lunch and dinner (menu del dia with soup, main dish and drink for 7 soles or fried chicken with french fries and tomatoes). Has a bar (wine, beer, some spirits). Cable T.V. with movies or sports is the evening entertainment. Jenny in the kitchen is a great source of information on tours into the Colca Canyon.
Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.