GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 3/5 - Medium
Track length: 10.42 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 156 Meters
Total Descent: 142 Meters

E-5.0 Irrigation Canal Capamaco loop

Distance          10.4 km

Time                3.0 hours

Altitude          1530m - 1630m

Ascent             105m

Descent           90m

Rating             Moderate  3/5 (very exposed spots)

Start                Vilcabamba tourist office

End                  Vilcabamba tourist office

This hike takes us via Yamburara bajo past a traditional Sugarcane-mill, an adobe brick-factory, the Estoraques (mushroom-shaped earth sculptures) and the yellow chapel to the entrance of the Capamaco valley. From there it swings back to Vilcabamba along the irrigation-canal, skirting the southeastern hills, on the way passing the hamlets of San José and Cuba Libre. The Irrigation-canal constitutes a sort of agriculture live-line along the 12 kilometers of the Vilcabamba-Valley, from the Capamaco-river down to the vicinity of Linderos. The canal has to have access for inspection along its length, and that Inspection-trail is what we’re using for the latter half of the hike. Beware, this trail is very exposed in a couple of spots and not for the faint-hearted!!

Route: Leave town from the tourist office on Calle Diego Vaca de Vega to the east, pass the Colegio national mixto de Vilcabamba, then cross Rio Chamba continue uphill past Shantas restaurant on your left and Hosteria El Descanso de Torro on your right. Pass the Barrio Yamburara Bajo with “Craig’s book exchange”. At The Yambala-Bajo school follow the cobblestone road to the left. On your right you see a traditional sugarcane mill. Half a mile further, you come across an adobe brick factory, then just before getting to the yellow chapel you can observe the bizarre estoraques (or earth sculptures) on either side of the road. After another half mile, we get to the covered wood-bridge, branching to the right across Rio Yambala. Cross the bridge, and 300 meters down the vehicle track, cross the second bridge spanning Rio Capamaco. 100 meters after the bridge we get to the irrigation-canal and a metal-gate on the right. Pass this gate and follow the trail switching back along the concrete canal. Five minutes along the canal, you can observe the confluence of the Yambala- & Capamaco-rivers down below. (The united river now is called Rio Chamba and it keeps that name until the confluence with the Rio Uchima at the northern entrance of Vilcabamba town, from there it’s called Rio Vilcabamba). Our trail now gets very exposed and for the next 200 meters we have to pass a couple of difficult spots. Once past this spots, we’re saved. It now contours the hillside passing a lone farmhouse and circling around a gully. 10 minutes later, you reach a dirt-road coming down from the left and a vehicle turning place. We continue on the level trail along the canal and soon get to the spot, where the canal is suspended across a ravine. After 40 minutes skirting the canal, the trail joins the San Jose-road at a graded terrain with a metal gate. Ten minutes along the road you get to the intersection Cuatro Caminos. The exhausted one can shortcut the trek and branch down to the right, back to town. But we continue straight along the canal, crossing Quebrada Puliche, past the hamlet of Cuba Libre. In 20 minutes we reach the paved highway at the little shrine. 10 minutes along the highway gets us back to town.             



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