Altitude: 3,287 m / 10,781 ft, Population: 3,296, Phone Code: 054
A popular alternative to the tourist hangout of Chivay, Cabanaconde is the last of five villages stretching across Colca Canyon's southern edge rim. From this village, the road becomes rugged as it winds through the remote landscapes towards Huambo. Cabanaconde is a living culture, with traditional dress and farming of ancestral agricultural terraces.
Cabanaconde's church, Iglesia de San Pedro AlcÃ¡ntara, has an magnificent faÃ§ade decorated with a sun, moon and stars. The interior is decorated with statues of Christ and the Virgin dating from the 18th century, as well as paintings from the CusqueÃ±a School. The temple was originally built of wood in the 17th century and rebuilt after an earthquake in 1784.
Cabanaconde is the trekking capital of CaÃ±Ã³n del Colca. The must-visit site Cruz del CÃ³ndor is within walking distance (take a bus either there or back) (12 km / 7 mi, 3 hours). For a less touristy view of the birds, head to the hill just west of the village, a 15-minute walk from the plaza. Another path leads from town down into the canyon and up to the village of Tapay where here is another condor-sighting point. Other lookouts are Mirador de Achachiwa and Mirador del Cura.
Several multi-day treks begin at Cabanaconde. The most popular of these with tour groups is to Sangalle Oasis in the canyonâ€™s depths, staying the night there (2 days). Other villages in the abyss are Tapay, Cosniwa and Malata. Long-distance hikes may also be done to Sangalle, by way of San Juan Chuccho, CoshÃ±irwa and Malata (3 days) or San Juan Chuccho-Qâ€™a Qâ€™a Tapay-Tapay and CoshÃ±irwa (4 days); to Bomboya, by way of San Juan Chuccho, Qâ€™a Qâ€™a Tapay and Tapay (2-3 days); and Llahuar, by way of Achachiwa (2-3 days). The most challenging hike is the Andagua Trek, a four to six-day excursion to the Valley of the Volcanoes.
Natural beauty isnâ€™t the only aspect travelers may explore in Cabanacondeâ€™s surroundings. The area also has archaeological sites. One of the canyonâ€™s most important ones is Achachiwua, which was an administrative seat for the Wari Empire. Part of the three-meter (10-ft) thick walls, six meters (20 ft) high, still exists. Kallimarca, southeast of Cabanaconde, was the Cabana nationâ€™s most important city when the Spanish arrived. It has two sectors: Uchic Kallimarca and Jatun Kallimarca, with plazas, buildings and a ceremonial pyramid. Near Kallimarca are the Cuevas de Lihuay, an ancient burial ground of the Cabana. Antizana is the oldest site in the area; these partially excavated ruins lie atop a cone-shaped hill.
Cabanaconde is 56 kilometers (34 mi) west of Chivay. Some buses originating in Arequipa come as far as this town. Almost a dozen hostels open their doors to visitors, and about half that number of restaurants (most run by the hotels). Electricity is scare in town, so be sure to bring your torch/flashlight. Cabanaconde does hav a municipal tourism office that dispenses information on lodging, qualified guides, transport and other tourist services (Cel: 959-740-556, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, URL: www.cabanaconde.net). Another useful website is: www.cabanacondecity.com.
Cabanaconde observes several feast days: Virgen de la Candelaria (February 2-3), San Pedro (October 17-18) and the Virgen del Carmen (July 16). Bullfights are commonly held. August is corn planting time (Tinka del MaÃz or Solay), with many rituals.