GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 3/5 - Medium
Track length: 8.97 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 204 Meters
Total Descent: 198 Meters

E-5.1 Irrigation Canal Capamaco-San José loop

Distance          9.0 km

Time                2.5 hours

Altitude          1530m - 1680m

Ascent             160m

Descent           150m

Rating             Moderate 3/5 (Very exposed spots)

Start                Vilcabamba tourist office

End                  Vilcabamba tourist office


This hike is the light-version of hike E-5.0.

It 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 hamlet of San José. 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 that 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 pass a traditional sugarcane mill. Half a mile further on, you come across an adobe brick factory, then just before getting to the Yellow chapel you can observe the bizarre estoraques (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 later, 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 a gully. 10 minutes after the gully, you reach a dirt-road coming down from the left and a vehicle turning place. Leave the canal and head up the vehicle road. In 20 minutes you reach the hamlet of San José, on the way passing the entrance of Montesueños-guesthouse. Another 20 minutes along the winding road gets you to the intersection Cuatro Caminos. Branch right at the intersection to get back to town in 15 minutes. 



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