I'm also missing a ton of my photos, because I accidentally deleted most of my photos off of my camera. So phone photos it is!
|One of the makes we used. None were great and only approximate hiking times were given. Don't forget it's a canyon, lots of elevation change.|
From Arequipa, take a bus out to Chivay or Cabanaconde from the Terminal Terrestre in Arequipa. We took the afternoon bus to Cabanaconde. It takes about six hours and costs S.20. The last bus leaves at 2pm. There are also busses at 3am, 5am(or 6am) and 11am. We decided to skip going to the Cruz de Condor viewpoint on the way in (because holy crap theres no way in hell I'm taking a 3am bus to make sure I'm at a viewpoint early enough to see some birds). We figured if we missed out on condors, we could go on our way out. We took the 2pm bus and arrived in Cabanaconde in the evening.
Our busdriver asked us if we had a reservation in Cabanaconde, and since we didn't he dropped us off at Pachamama Home. We didn't book anything because February isn't the high season. We took their last room for S/20 each. This included a massive breakfast of bread, pancake and scrambled egg. We hadn't fully planned our route yet, and they had tons of info for us as well as their own map that we liked much better.
|Pachamama Home in the rain|
|Look for the white arrows on the rocks!|
We ate breakfast around 8am and were hiking by 9am. The directions to find the beginning of the trail were quite simple. You just follow one of the roads that runs through down a block down from the main plaza. It eventually continues to the edge of the canyon and you can follow the white spray paint arrows. You will need to buy a tourist ticket for S/70. Lucky for us, the guy selling them was wandering around in the main street that Pachamama Home is on. We found that we hiked the trail in just under the time given on the map. The majority of the day is downhill so our toes were sore. Keep your eyes open. We saw four condors coasting along through the valley.
|View from the river at the bottom of the canyon|
|Where the trail cuts off of the road to head to LLuahar|
|On the way to LLuahar|
|View from the river in Llahuar|
The next day, the walk was entirely on a dirt road. Initially we were annoyed by this, but we were only passed by one bus. The majority of the day was walking slowly uphill, but with gorgeous views of the canyon. My friend decided to pick one of the cactus fruits to eat (they call them tuna in spanish, which amuses me). Consequently, he spent the next couple hours picking little cactus quills out of his hand. There is a trail off of the road that cuts down to the Oasis before Malata. Don't take it. We were told it was bad. Wait until you get to Malata. We just asked directions and were pointed to a road that goes down from Malata. Once you get to the Oasis, there are several hostels to choose from. We just went with the first one that we walked into, called Eden. Mostly because they had a massive pool. The room was really really basic. Two twin beds. The meals were also incredibly basic. From what we read online, there's no clear winner in the hostels, so we didn't feel like shopping around. After a swim and a hot shower, we napped until dinner. After dinner it was straight to bed. We also found out this hostel doesn't serve breakfast. So we bought some instant noodles and a coca-cola (breakfast of champions) to eat on the way up.
|Walking on the other side of the canyon|
|Looking back towards Llahuar|
|Waterfall just before the Oasis|
|Getting some clothes to dry after a swim|
We got up the next morning quite early and were hiking by 630am. We knew that the entire hike was basically switchbacks up the mountainside, and we wanted to get going before the sun got hot. Turns out we timed the hike really well and were in the shade on the western side of the ridge for a majority of the hike. We didn't have to walk in the sun until the last three-quarters of the hike. Even then, we were out of the canyon by 915am, so the sun didn't really have a chance to get scorching. It's a solid two and a half hours of uphill walking, followed by about twenty minutes of walking along the rim to get back to Cabanaconde. Again, follow the arrows. We messed that part up and ended up cutting through someones fields to get up to the road.
|See that trail up out of the Oasis? It's your trail back up to Cabanaconde|
If we had had extra time, it would have been nice to check out Tapay or Fure. As of when we were there mid-February, the trail to Fure had been destroyed by a landslide.
|View of Chivay from the bus back|