Discovery of paths and caves near Cruz del condor (condor cross)

By Walter Tinta Junco.
The appeals of the magnificent Colca Canyon are like hidden treasures that keep on showing up as we explore its infinite depths. In recent walks in April 2014 and guided by Eloy Cacya --known as the “angel of Colca”--, the geological engineer Walter Tinta and Francisco Tinta discovered ancient ways and paths of the pre-inca times. These roads lead you from the hillsides of the viewpoint of Cruz del Condor to new caves and caverns which may have been the residence of the ancient Colca inhabitants. From these caverns, horseshoe ways and paths depart and go down in a winding way to the depths of the Canyon and cross its right face straight to the villages of San Juan de Chuccho and Tapay.

The landscape that can be seen from these settings is breathtaking and singular and allows the explorer to watch both faces of the Canyon in its splendor, the network of roads that join Cabanaconde and the villages of Tapay, whimsical shapes and varied flora and fauna. Even though the roads were abandoned a long time ago, they can be walked by. On the way, you can see impressing rocky cliffs, with curious shapes, like “the puma’s head”, huge caverns and caves, similar to “The Flintstones” house, with interior rooms, entrances and big holes in the shapes of windows, where the hikers can camp and experience natural life, the silence or the background roaring sound of the Colca river and the fresh breeze that flows from the depths of the Canyon.

Incredibly, during the walk you can observe many kinds of wildlife. At the base of the cliffs, you can see the footprints of reindeers and in the heights of the rocky peaks you can see the vizcachas --very similar to the rabbits-- giant hummingbirds, falcon nests and other birds. Just when we were watching the huge caves, a couple of adult condors soared the air and broke the silence. From these boundaries of the Canyon you can very clearly see the depths of the Canyon and the winding Colca river, the dizzying heights and the rocky peaks of the left and right faces of the Canyon. You can also see the snowy peak Bomboya where the hikers Ciro and Rosario took their challenging route.

This new track takes about 2 hours. The walk of about 2 Km departs from a point near the Condor Cross and stretches towards the village of Cabanaconde. It is quite plain in general, from the beginning until you reach halfway. Then it goes down gradually for about 200 m. and becomes steep towards the end of the route. Here we need to improve the path and install some protection barriers. The walk requires moderate skill and effort.

This new walking route will become an unrivalled appeal for the adventure lovers, especially for those hikers who lack the time to take the complete route of Cabanaconde-Tapay-Sangalle-Cabanaconde, as this shorter path is near the paved road that starts at the Condor Cross viewpoint.

We informed the authority of the Rural Community of Cabanaconde, Mr. Huber Oxsa Benavides, about this important finding. He expressed his happiness about this unique discovery, which will attract the interest of more visitors to the Colca who will want to get to know this new route which is short and of easy access. The Community authority committed itself to support the improvement of the pedestrian roads and the dissemination of this new highlight of the Colca.

The pioneer hikers wish to thank the Restaurant the Farm of the Colca (“La Granja del Colca”) for its support in the search of this new adventure route.  The details of its location and characteristics of the trip will be available to the local guides. If you are interested in doing this hiking route, do not hesitate to call the guide Eloy Cacya to the following cell numbers: 958797219 y 959912814.