GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 3/5 - Medium
Track length: 5.43 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 351 Meters
Total Descent: 136 Meters

C-4.2 Vilcabamba - Cararango - Tuku Tuku

Distance         5.4 km

Time               2.5 hours

Altitude          1530m - 1882m

Ascent            365m

Descent          147m

Rating             Moderate 3/5 (Partly very steep)

Start               Vilcabamba tourist office

End                 Gararango shrine / bus stop


This hike suits the sportive hiker, since it is mostly a stiff uphill hike from Vilcabamba on a back road to the barrio Cararango and on to the pilgrims Shrine of Tuku Tuku. Tuku Tuku is one of the most rewarding view points in the valley and is well worth the effort of getting there.

The less ambitious hiker can do the trip in reverse by taking the Vilcatouris-bus to the Cararango pass and start the trek from there, following the many white crosses of the pilgrims trail to Tuku Tuku shrine & the viewpoint, then descending to Vilcabamba.


Route: Leave town from the tourist office north on the cobblestone calle Bolivar, down to the entrance arch. Then follow the Loja road crossing the bridge at the confluence of the rivers Uchima & Chamba. 400 meters along the main road, take the turnoff to the left, following the Hostería Madre Tierra sign. 50 meters past the entrance of Hostería Madre Tierra take the road branching to the right. Now the concrete trail climbs steeply for 800 meters to join another road at the Barrio Amala alto. Turn left, and after the first houses keep to the right. To the barrio Gararango, the road climbs another 100 meters. At the Barrio Gararango intersection, above the Church & the school, take the uphill trail to the left. The next two intersections keep to the left, following the numerous white crosses of the pilgrims trail. On the hill straight ahead and above, you can spot the Tuku Tuku Shrine, the end of the Pilgrims trail and our goal. After another Zig Zag, we get to a barbed wire fence. Following the road to the right gets you to the Shrine, keeping uphill along the ridge gets you to the viewpoint. The views down on the Vilcabamba valley and the Mandango massif to the south, the Toronche section of Podocarpus to the east, and the western cordillera are really spectacular.

To get to the Gararango bus stop, retrace your steps to the barrio Gararango and on past the little church and the school opposite, down to the Shrine at the Vilca-Malacatos highway. Vilcatouris busses pass every 15 minutes and charge $ 0.50 back to Vilcabamba.




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