wonder how to spend the short available time combining
sightseeing and thrilling adventures, and the Apurimac
Canyon is definitely among our first options.
Apurimac Canyon ranks third among the world's deepest
canyons and it is only one of the many attractions of
the enigmatic city of Cusco.
to the canyon is not very long and soon we were aboard
the specially designed rubber boats and ready to face
the tumultuous rapids of the river that traces the
frontier between the departments of Cusco and Apurimac.
The depth of the canyon is almost even and we couldn't
imagine a safe way to access it by just walking into it.
The cliffs that surrounded us were almost vertical and
we can't imagine a cliffhanger that wouldn't feel
challenged by the sheer steep they have. 3 rafts, a
river boat and a rescue kayak were used in this 3 day
adventure of about 50 km., that took us through
beautiful landscapes and an ecosystem that has been
almost untouched by men. Of course, due to the length of
the journey we carried with us our own tents and
waterproof clothing wear.
nightfall we reached a sand beach where our camp was set
and a bonfire provided us with the necessary warmth, as
the moon and stars provided us with the light we needed,
taking away the loneliness we would have felt otherwise.
Among the sounds brought by the night we could identify
the one made by the white owl, that has established
himself among the trees of the riverbanks, where this
accomplished hunter seeks his prey. After our breakfast
we continued our journey through the river. During this
part of our trip, we were able to witness the water
ballet performed by the river otter, a small mammal that
inhabits this river and that is at this time is counted
among the many endangered species of our planet.
order to proceed to the next part of our journey where
we would have to face the river rapids our boat captain
decided to send the kayak to scout the area in order to
determine if the passage offered the safety conditions
we needed in order to let our team go through it. It was
finally decided that we would try it going at high speed
and in the most difficult part, our boat completed a
half turn and we had to complete this passage backwards
and trying to avoid the huge boulders of limestone that
are found aplenty in this river. Fortunately we made it
safely through the rapids.
given a much needed rest when we arrived to a part of
the river where the rapids almost disappeared, creating
a deep pond. The walls of the canyon were easy to climb
in order to dive from up to 10 m. of height into the
pond, that was surrounded by the huge limestone
boulders, beautifully eroded by the water of river.
most of our trip though the river, we were able to sight
the Torrent Ducks (Merganetta armata), a
small relative of the duck whose colorful feathers
difference the males from the females and that is
remarkable for the fact that it can dive its way
upstream even in the most difficult parts of the river.
When we were having breakfast the next morning when our
campsite was visited by an Andes Fox, that was attracted
to the site by the smell of our food leftovers. I took
some time to the fox to discover that we were no threat
and he finally accepted the treat we had conveniently
placed for him at the side of our camp (the treat was
made of both our breakfast and dinner leftovers). He was
gallant enough to let himself be taken on both picture
and tape less than 10 m. away from us.
were rowing placidly through the river we were informed
that we still had three river rapids to face, in order
to add some more excitement to our journey that was
reaching its end. We ended our third journey by having
lunch in a warm beach located about 2 km. from the
ancient bridge of the Apurimac River that marked the end
of our journey. Through this bridge, 600 years ago the
Incas sent their armies for both defense and conquest of
their realm and during the times of peace they used it
to transport their goods to different parts of it.
Juan Luis Tord.