GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 4.99 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 356 Meters
Total Descent: 349 Meters

B-1.2  Loop Cerro Guaranga via “Agua de Hierro”- Rumi Wilco

Distance          5.00 km - Loop

Time                3.00 hours

Altitude          1514m - 1875m

Ascent             360m

Descent           360m

Rating             Difficult  4/5 (Very steep, exposed descent)

Start                Vilcabamba tourist office

End                  Vilcabamba tourist office

Cerro Guaranga (Guaranga mountain) 1875 m, overlooking Vilcabamba on the north east, is the prominent antipole to Cerro Mandango. Although not as nearly as popular with hikers as Cerro Mandango, the views on town and its surroundings are even more rewarding. This trek describes the ascent from the south east side, via Agua de Hierro. (Iron water) and the descent on the north western ridge, thereby forming a 5.5 Km loop with varied and interesting views.

Route: From the tourist office walk one block north on the cobbled Calle Bolivar, then two and a half blocks east, where you find a dirt trail branching to the left towards Rio Chamba. (See photo B-1.1-2) The trail crosses the river on a red, concrete pedestrian bridge, passes the entrance of Rumi Wilco reserve and continues into the rugged Sunungo valley. In the dry season cars pass about one kilometer into the valley,in order to extract gravel & sands for construction. Then the road narrows to a single trail in the riverbed. About two hundred meters further on, you find a wooden sign, pointing to “Agua de Hierro” on the left hand side of the riverbed. A few minutes later this trail gets you to the small mineral spring, dripping out beneath a moss covered rock. Nothing special in its own sense, this spring attracts many locals for its healing properties.

After retracing about hundred meters on the trail you came from, you’ll find the well-defined uphill trail to the Cerro Guaranga. From Agua de Hierro it’s a rather steep 200 m ascend to the top. But before reaching the top ridge, the trail gets lost among the many cattle trails. Ascend further, steering left towards a knob on the top ridge. From this knob you get the first fine views on Vilcabamba town. Another 100 meters along the ridge with the barbed wire fence gets you up to the top. Here on top you will notice some excavated holes, attempts of Huaqueros (graverobers) who tried to find treasures from ancient cultures.

We continue on our loop by passing through the cattle fence and descending along the fence on the north western ridge. After about 150 meters, the ridge gets really steep, and a little further down, you have to recross to the left hand side of the cattle fence. 300 meters after the fence crossing, you have to pass a very exposed spot on the ridge. It would be difficult, if you’re suffering from acrophobia. Somewhere along the very steep ridge, we have entered Rumi Wilco reserve, and find now marked trails and plant labelling. Follow ridge trail N° 2 down to the bottom of the hill and follow the level trail left near the river to the entrance of the Rumi Wilco reserve. Here you have to pay the 2 $ entrance fee, since you have used their Trail-system.   From the Rumi Wilco Entrance, its known territory back to town.




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