The views become picturesque, and the journey becomes magical.
It is a beautiful morning in Chalhuanca after a very scenic drive from Nazca the day before (Taking A Swim). This amazing town located in the region of Apurimac, from which the river gets its name. We will be joining the Apurimac River later in our journey!
We spent the night in a wonderful Hacienda called Hotel Tampumayu located alongside the Pachachaca River.
The sun has not quite risen into the valley gorge, but the sky is clear blue, so we are going to be in for another wonderful day in Peru!
We are going to be following the Pachachaca River most of the journey today. However, we are then going to ascend to one of the most majestic views imaginable.
Breakfast is now served, the clients have all had a wonderful night´s sleep, which is mostly due to the tranquil surroundings of the hotel. Fresh coffee and a lovely cooked breakfast we are ready to leave this beautiful place and continue with our journey.
I & fellow guide Percy had already prepared the vehicles, cleaned the windows, lights & mirrors, and we load up all the client’s luggage into their respective vehicles. Everybody has checked out of their room´s, we are ready to kickstart the drive to our first stop of the day!
Initially we will have a drive for about 2 hours, and we will stop for our daily coffee break. The journey is very scenic as we travel through the valley gorge, high sided mountains on both sides of the road. On each side of the river we can notice small dwellings with no bridges to access them!
What we can observe is a small cable car pulley that the families use to cross the river. This can become a raging torrent during the rainy season, usually between December & March.
Passing through a few small villages and individual homesteads along our route. Most of the homes growing home produce of corn, potatoes, carrots, quinoa, and also fruits like banana, lemons & oranges. The land is very fertile around this region with an abundance of water source from the river close by.
We are getting close to our first stop of the day, and I know the clients are ready for their coffee and snacks!
Eventually we pull off the main road and drive down a dusty track towards the river. We have a wonderful setting planned for this stop!
We pull up to the entrance crossing of a Colonial Bridge built when the Spanish invaded Peru.
An amazing structure which has stood the test of time, and one of the very first crossing of the River for travelers coming from the nearby city of Abancay south to Arequipa!
We set up the coffee & snacks from the tailgate of the truck and enjoy the scenery around us. Unfortunately, the local residents do not treat this area with the respect it deserves, and litter strewn around the place spoilt this particular stop.
Not to be perturbed the clients enjoyed their coffee break and managed some great photographs too.
Time to tackle the city!
Back on the road we are now entering the city of Abancay, which is a very typical industrial city. It is also very polluted with traffic, and the first real experience for our clients to be in rural city traffic. We advise all the drivers to stay as close together has possible to prevent any of us losing a vehicle in traffic.
For the majority of the drive through the city we managed to keep everyone together in convoy. There is always a local driver pushing their way between our vehicles, even when there is no space to fit a vehicle.
Nothing too much to worry about and considering it can be quite frustrating for any person not used to this, we exit the city together, and let the steam die down in the respective vehicles!
Climbing steeply above the city of Abancay, and the views are getting more and more exciting as we climb.
After another couple of hours drive, we have reached our lunch stop for the day overlooking the valley below, with Abancay away in the distance, and the Pachachaca River shimmering in the afternoon sun.
We setup the table and spread out the lunch, with fresh bread from the hotel this morning, and an array of fresh meats, cheeses, and various condiments to add. It is always a feast at lunch time, and cool drinks to complete the lunch.
Great to be blessed with great sunshine and the views are amazing, but we cannot dwell on the setting too much, our journey is only halfway through the day!
Time to get packed away and make our way back onto the highway again. We are going to make our way towards the hotel for our night stop, located in the small town of Cachora. Before that we will make one final journey to one of the best views that Peru can offer.
Our drive is going to take us along the narrow track high into the mountain and overlooking the River Apurimac way down below. Our drive is going to take us to a viewpoint overlooking the gorge, to view the amazing site of Choquequirao.
One of the most impressive sites other than Machu Picchu.
This amazing site is considered larger than Machu Picchu, with much of the impressive site yet to be unearthed. It is only accessible by hiking the route, and many organized treks venture this route throughout the season.
It has already been added to my bucket list of treks to embark or whilst in Peru (read Adventure in My Blood)!
Part of our journey gives the clients an opportunity to experience some off-road driving. The drivers here can enjoy the amazing views down into the valley below.
We finally arrive at our viewpoint, and after a very small hike to take in the views. We are amazed at how the Incas managed to build such an amazing city high into the mountain, considering the sheer size too.
Not only do we have the views of Choquequirao, we also have the snowcap mountains of Quriwayrachina & Padreyoc.
The day is coming to an end and we must make our way off the mountain and down to the valley below. The journey is just the reverse from the drive we took, which will take us back to the town of Cachora.
We have a wonderful hotel set up for our night stay and overlooking the amazing views of the mountain.
Our stop tonight will be at Hostel Casa Nostra owned by dear friends of ours. This small hotel is set in the most idyllic location, with breath-taking views!
Hostel Casa Nostra