If you are in Puno visiting Lake Titicaca or heading to Bolivia, you have to know this natural attraction that is becoming increasingly popular due to its very particular geological forms. This is the Tinajani Canyon, a tourist attraction where the natural, cultural and mysticism that surround its gorges and its stone forest come together.
The canyon is made up of a set of anthropomorphic stone figures, with narrow ravines and small rivers that run through its territory. In the place there are also funerary chullpas of ancient highland cultures.
About the origin of this imposing, strange and welcoming space; Geologists inform us that these rock formations are: reddish sandstone sedimentation and that it probably was the bed of the great Ballivián Lake, predecessor of Lake Titicaca and Popo. Millions of years ago this entire sector was covered in water, after geological changes it dried up until it became what is today the famous navigable lake “Titicaca”.
Result erosive agents such as wind, hail, snowfall and rain; Very frequent in this area, they have been “with the passing of time” sculpting these majestic rocks; here the hand of man did not intervene, perhaps for this nature man is simply one more component, which is lost in some small natural holes at the base of these stone masses.
The rocks, also known as the “Devil’s Canyon”, can reach tens of meters in height. The figures they form are left to the imagination of the visitors who will be pleasantly surprised by this magnificent place.
The Tinajani canyon is located 12 kilometers southeast of Ayaviri, province of Melgar, in the wonderful region of Puno.
The Tinajani Canyon is located at 3953 meters above sea level.
The Tinajani Canyon has an extension of 250 hectares and is located at 3953 meters above sea level. This is formed by three large ravines, Queñuacuyo, Pacobamba and Huarachani. With this, the natural landscape takes on unpredictable figures with very particular configurations. It is an ideal destination for those who like to practice adventure sports such as rock climbing, paragliding, hiking and horseback riding, among others.
Within its vast territory you can find huge stones that have been carved and shaped thanks to the wind and the various weather conditions. The different shapes of these stones can be interpreted in various ways by visitors. Among these can be found human figures, lizards, granite ghosts and winged sphinxes. These rocks can measure from 50 meters to more.
The reason why the Tinajani Canyon has such particular rock configurations is because millions of years ago the area was covered in water and there was a lot of volcanic activity. Thus, temperature changes and wind phenomena gave way to the Tinajani Canyon being the natural wonder it is today.
The Tinajani Canyon is a perfect place for those who love to explore impressive natural landscapes. In its more than 200 hectares you will find imposing and gigantic sandstone rock formations that give this space its characteristic reddish color.
These formations are accompanied by the Pacobamba, a river with calm crystalline waters that runs through the ravines of the canyon. The landscape that you can see in this place will leave you speechless!
In addition to having an enviable natural wealth, it was also the territory of Quechua-speaking settlers of the Qaluyo culture. This population was settled in the valley of the Pacobamba river, which is very close to Tinajani. What can be observed of this culture are the tombs and chullpas that are still within the territory of the Canyon.
Thanks to residents who still participate by interacting with the Canyon, very popular traditions and festivities are maintained. Thus, in July the Music and Dance Festival takes place at the foot of the Tinajani. This event brings together not only hundreds of dancers from all over the region, but also national and foreign visitors who come with the desire to see the culture of the altiplano in action.
The Canyon is not only a beautiful natural setting, on the contrary, it is part of the region’s oral tradition. Thus, various legends about Tinajani have been inherited.
One of the most famous is the one that tells that the Inca Pachacutec was worried because the Collasuyo region was going through a drought, which meant that there was no food and that the inhabitants and animals were dying.
To counteract the drought, the Inca gathered the best fortune tellers, who responded that the cause of this phenomenon came from the presence of a devil that had taken possession of the region. Given this, Pachacutec sends his army to make three lithic jars in the Tinajani ravine so that the devil can purify himself in the cold waters and leave the region or remain prisoner within the waters.
The inhabitants say that in the rainy months the voice and groaning of the devil is heard trapped in the jars. However, other residents say that it is on cold nights when the devil bathes in the waters.
The temperature of the Canyon ranges from 19°C to -2°C, so it is recommended that when you go to visit you take warm clothes and also a light polo shirt. The ideal season, likewise, is between April and October.
The Tinajani Canyon is located 12 kilometers southeast of Ayaviri, province of Melgar, in Puno.
To get to this natural enclosure you have to go to Pucará, 2 hours from the city of Puno. From this point the route that goes to Cusco is traveled. On the way you will be able to observe a desolate scene but full of ichu, the typical grass of the Andean highlands, which gives it a yellowish hue to the eye. Likewise, you will be able to observe many undulating rivers that are reminiscent of those found throughout the Peruvian Amazon. At times, you may also see cattle running or eating grass in their natural habitat. When the Cordillera de la Raya begins to appear in the Andes and you see snow-capped mountains like Chimboya, you will know that you are approaching the Ayaviri district. When you get there, it will only take you 10 minutes to the entrance of the Tinajani Canyon. You can do this tour with a motorcycle taxi from Ayaviri.
You will be welcomed to the Canyon by a 93-meter-high rock, known among the locals as El Vigía. From there, you must undertake a walk that will leave you speechless.
The city of Puno is one of the most beautiful cities in the high Andean region of Peru. In the city, the Cathedral can be highlighted, which was built with stones from ancient ceremonial centers such as those of the Tiahuanaco and Incas. Likewise, inside the Cathedral you will be able to observe various canvases from the Cusco and Italian schools.
On the other hand, it is essential to visit the Plaza de Armas, the Church of San Juan and the Parque del Pino.
Lake Titicaca is the most visited site by national and foreign tourists who come to Puno. It is the highest navigable lake in the world, located at 3812 meters above sea level. It houses in its immensity several floating islands where you can meet and learn about various communities that to date preserve many of their traditions.
One of the many islands that Lake Titicaca houses is the Isla de Uros and, without a doubt, it is the most important and most visited. This island is made by Totora, a plant native to the region, which gives it the resistance to stay afloat. The Uros community is very receptive to tourists who visit the island, helping them learn about their customs.
To get to the Uros Island you can rent a boat ride from the port of Puno or take a tour from an agency in the city.
It is located 33 kilometers from the city of Puno in the direction of Cusco.
As its name says, in this place there is a large number of chullpas, which are constructions where the dead were buried in pre-Columbian cultures. Thus, the corpses were covered by plants and ointments were injected to keep them well preserved. They were also covered by looms, objects and foods that they liked when they were alive.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.