GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 8.04 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 1209 Meters
Total Descent: 72 Meters

A-1.0 Yamburara - Refugio AVETUR 8.1 Km

Distance          8.1 km             (16.2 km return)

Time                3.5 hours         (7 hours return)

Altitude          1610m - 2750m

Ascent             1560m

Descent           50m

Rating             Medium 3/5

Start                Yamburara alto

End                  Refugio Avetur


With an altitude of 2750 m, this is the highest of Vilcabamba’s Refugios.

The Refugio AVETUR(Asociación de Vilcabamba de Ecotourism) was constructed in the first years of the new century and enjoyed only a short-lived popularity among guides & tourists. AVETUR as an organization ceased to be and the newest & best equipped of the five Refugio’s bordering PN Podocarpus on the Vilcabamba side, has been neglected for years. At the time of this writing, nobody seems to be in charge of it. But recently, the Ministerio del Ambiente showed interest to take charge of it. Although it is possible to overnight in it, there is no comfort like cocking gas or blankets.    

If you take a taxi for the 4 km’s to the trailhead at Yamburara alto ($3.-), you save yourself one hour walk & energy, which you certainly will use later.

Route: The trail starts at the small concrete bridge crossing Rio Yambala, which has a sign pointing to PN Podocarpus. Across the river follow the well-carved uphill trail to the ridge, which you reach in about 15 minutes. In another 30 minutes, you get to a green metal gate, branching to the left. (Don’t follow the path uphill to the right!) The now level trail passes first a farm on the right hand side, shortly after another one on the left.  About 45 minutes from the metal gate, you descend to the small stream El Palto which forms the waterfall below, another popular tourist spot. Cross the stream, pass through the farming gate and continue uphill. 25 minutes later, you find the remnants of a wooden trail sign at a trail fork. Follow the trail uphill to the right. At the next farm gate keep also to your right. A long, long steady climb eventually gets you the partly overgrown entrance gate of PN Podocarpus. From the gate it’s a level 200 meters to the Refugio, which nestles half-hidden at the side of the ridge. The Refugio AVETUR is actually the only one of Vilcabamba’s Refugios inside Podocarpus N.P.

The trails beyond the Refugio are all overgrown and you have to cut your trail with the machete, if you wish to do so.


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