3 Reasons to Explore off the Beaten Track in Peru

Adventure, exploration and relaxation 

...all at the same time in areas where you’re likely to be the only person around, following age old trails used by the communities who live in these mountains. Central Peru with its rugged beauty is a mix of high altitude lakes, rocky hills and mountains, some rising up the snow-covered peaks of the northern Cordillera Blanca of the Andes. Being totally off the traditional tourist trail, coming across people other locals from the surrounding communities is a rarity. 

Exploring the secrets of Pallasca Province, Peru

The Province of Pallasca is located in the Ancash Region of Peru with the town of Cabana as the Provincial capital. Only about 3-4 hours by bus from Chimbote on the coast, this is hardly a long journey to reach this province rich in history, culture and stunning natural beauty. Along the way from Chimbote you’ll pass through the canyons of the Rio Tablachaca (Tablachaca River). This runs down to join the Rio Santa (the Santa River passes through Huaraz, the capital of the Ancash Region) at Chuquicara; another tiny village you’ll pass through on your way to Cabana. On the route you also pass some old abandoned mining towns like Cocabal - read here about it.

Exploring the secrets of Pallasca Province, Peru - Chuquicara bridge
Crossing the new bridge at Chuquicara over the Rio Santa

Villages and Towns hosting a variety of festivals throughout the year.

Exploring the secrets of Pallasca Province, Peru - festival dancers
Children in traditional dress during the Patron Festival in Cabana
(Capital of Pallasca Province)

All these villages and towns, as in the rest of Peru, annually have the festivals in honour of their Patron Saints - generally the most important festivals for each. In addition to this, there are a host of other traditional and religious festivals where you might end up joining the procession and/or be invited to join the festivities. (In 2014 at Cabana I got invited in the first time) Yes, the people are extremely friendly and hospitable and total strangers are not common. You’ll be quizzed about where you come from and always…how did you end up in this/that village (it’s that much off the beaten track!). Most of the villages and towns are above 2,500 - 2,800m altitude, so acclimatisation time is required before the more physical activities like trekking and/or climbing. That’s fine though because as I said, it’s hardly unpleasant being in these communities and is a fine time to learn about the history and culture through the locals’ stories.

Be one of the first trekkers/hikers on these trails.

Exploring the secrets of Pallasca Province, Peru: lakes and mountains
One of the lakes along some trails at 4,100m altitude

One of these villages or towns will be the base from where you set off on the excursions and treks after acclimatising to the altitude. Very few people (apart from local community members) have trekked and explored these parts. If ever you’ve wanted to be an adventurous explorer whilst being accompanied by a knowledgeable guide this is your chance. Even though we are mapping the trails at the moment, there are such a myriad of trails, that your trek can always head off onto even less known trails to explore what lies behind the next summit, the next panorama that will take your breath away.

The trails traverse and crisscross the slopes and valleys passing breathtakingly beautiful lakes changing their colours as the direction and strength of the sunlight changes. All the while with a variety of birdlife about and a possibility of a chance encounter with a venado, one of the antelope species that occur here. Of course, there’s always the chance of coming across other less documented wildlife as well.

Exploring the secrets of Pallasca Province, Peru: trekking the lakes and mountains
Along the trails and the spectacular views with friends

A combination of adventure, history and culture.

Even the ruins have fantastic views:
the Pashas ruins near Cabana

Usually when travelling, one has to decide which aspect of the area you wish to visit and experience i.e. either adventure out in nature OR visit historical sites OR go to organised cultural activities. In Pallasca these are all intertwined, starting off with the traditional music, festivals and gastronomy to the adventure time out in the mountains scrambling and trekking past ancient ruins, some only recently documented, and then stopping for traditional meals with local families and/or having a traditional meal prepared for you under the stars alongside a glassy smooth lake.

I really get carried away about how this all is just so naturally packaged and what incredible experience every moment is but instead of making you read endless pages more about how fantastic these places are…get your trip organised and let me and these incredible people show you the secrets of Pallasca Province.

Exploring the secrets of Pallasca Province, Peru: dancing the marinera
...and watching the dancing of the marinera will get your body moving to the rhythm of the music 


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