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Valley of Apurimac

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Valley of Apurimac

The Apurímac River is one of those well-kept treasures of Peru that all lovers of physical activity outdoors and contact with nature should paddle sometime in life.

The word Apurímac comes from the Quechua language and means “gentleman who speaks” According to the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, the Apurímac river was also called Capac Mayu, which means “Main River”, in order to highlight its importance on the other torrents. The Spanish Pedro Pizarro helps us understand the place that this river occupied in the Andean worldview, affirming in its chronicles the existence of a temple and oracle, close to this tributary, that were removed during the conquest.

The section that is commercially navigated is located on the border between Cusco and Apurímac. However, this river is born in Arequipa, in the thaw of the snowy Mismi (5597 meters above sea level), and flows from south to north until it flows into the Amazon, the longest and largest river on the planet.

The Apurímac river canyon is truly a natural sanctuary that allows you moments of authentic connection with yourself and teaches you to dimension the importance that we should give to things. It is not so difficult to break the routine if we dare to take the opportunities that are presented to us to do something new and recharge with good energy.

Valley of Apurimac

The valley of Apurimac start near the town of Pichigua and the Apurímac canyon in Checa, forming a rugged and extensive territory of 260 km. The maximum altitude of the populated territory reaches 3600 masl and its lowest point, at the mouth of the Pachachaca River, at 1400 masl. It offers three types of climates: puna, inter-Andean valley and wooded mountain. The mountains that are located to the west of the river exceed 4,000 masl, to the east of the valley is the Vilcaconga mountain range (Escobar 1977: 657-59). This rugged and difficult configuration has different entrances and exits, all formed by the drains of the lakes that make interconnecting channels and pathways for walkers who find valleys, platforms and narrow spurs that end on steep slopes and fast and stormy waterfalls over the river (Escobar 1977: 668). The valley of Apurimac are narrow places not suitable for large population settlements. They are therefore suitable niches for shelters, temporary hiding places and escapes to the other side of the mountain range.

Tourism in the Valley of Apurimac

The Apurímac department as a tourist destination in Peru, has as its maximum exponent the Apurimac River, ideal for the practice of Canoeing in Peru, it presents an abrupt geography, formed by narrow and deep valleys, with impressive chasms, cold plateaus and high peaks. The Grand Canyon of the valley of Apurimac stands out, which marks the limit with the department of Cusco.

Abancay, capital of Apurímac, is a beautiful colonial-style city protected by the imposing snow-capped Ampay (5235 masl), located in the national sanctuary of the same name. The sanctuary houses, in addition to other snow-capped mountains, mountain forests, beautiful lagoons and species of flora and fauna such as the intimpa, the Andean fox and the taruca.

The inhabitants of the department are mainly engaged in agriculture and are descendants of various groups that were characterized by their warrior spirit. The area was the subject of bloody clashes between two enemy towns, the Chancas and the Incas.

From Abancay numerous excursions can be made; such as the Saywite archaeological complex; and the imposing Valley and Canyon of the Apurímac Riverparadise for canoeing and hiking.

Another important city of Apurímac is Andahuaylas, a typical Andean city, with a Plaza de Armas and narrow valleys.

Apurimac River

Apurimac River in Perú

The Apurimac River in Perú is one of the main rivers of Peru, it is part of the main course of the Amazon River, it has its origin in the Andes mountain range and it is the dividing line between the departments of Cuzco and Ayacucho. It is excellent for boating and sport fishing.

Origin of his name

The name of Apurímac merits its wealth, which in the Quechua Inca language is Apu – Rimac (Talking God). Apu, in Quechua, means “sir.” The Apu Rimac is the “Oracle or Great Talker”, considered to be the most powerful of the Inca oracles, who spoke through the tremendous rapids of the river.


The Apurimac River in Perú is one of the main rivers of Peru, which constitutes the upper part of the Ucayali River course, and part of the main course of the Amazon River.

Peru is undoubtedly a varied and privileged country and has 85% of the world’s microclimates and therefore a similar percentage of all the world’s flora and fauna, the Andean highlands, the melting of the mountain chain of the Andes, provoke the formation of lakes, lagoons and rivers throughout the Peruvian highlands, which generates an excellent habitat for the development of the three varieties of trout in Peru: the golden trout, the rainbow trout, and the brown trout and the sardines and fish that our ancestors, the Incas assumed and still here in Cuzco – Peru, it is found in some rivers called Jahuaco fish, which have caught fish (trout) weighing from 2 to 10 kls . In the spining (butterfly) and fly fishing lagoons, however, it is possible to find specimens weighing 500 gr. At 2 kg. Almost in all the mountain rivers, but in some rivers there are still good specimens such as the Apurimac River, fishing is recommended between the months, from May to October, especially with butterflies using the numbers from 1 to 3.

Origin of the Apurimac River in Perú

The Apurimac River in Perú has its origin in the Andes mountain range, in the Nevado Mismi mountain (5597 m), between Cuzco and Arequipa, 650 kilometers southeast of Lima and 160 km west of the Lake Titicaca basin, being the most distant from the Amazon basin.

Course of the Apurimac River in Perú

The Apurimac River in Perú flows to the northwest, running through the Cuzco and Ayacucho regions constituting the dividing line between these two departments, on the right bank is the province of La Convencion and on the left bank, the provinces of La Mar and Huanta

In its course it is distinguished, the Alto Apurímac of torrential waters and relatively narrow cause, which runs from the source to the confluence with the Pampas. And then the Bajo Apurímac, with calm waters and a wide channel, until its confluence with the Mantaro (at 430 meters above sea level) from this point receives the name of Ene, a point that marks the triple confluence between the regions of Junín, Ayacucho and Cuzco.

Further down, the Jan, having received the waters of the Urubamba River on the right, becomes the Ucayali River. For much of its 700 km route, it flows through narrow canyons and its path is interrupted by waterfalls and rapids.


The Apurimac River in Perú receives many tributaries that are named after the hamlets or arable land that they cross. The Apurímac route runs from south to north.

History of Apurimac River in Perú

Apurímac is the river that “speaks as lord”, whose sources are found in the Villafro and Huarahuarco lagoons, in the heights of the Vilcanota mountain range, identified by some geographers as the most remote origin of the Apurímac. The vast region crossed by the Apurímac River is of extraordinary historical wealth and formerly they gave this river the name of Cápac Mayu for saying that it was the prince of all the rivers in the world (Garcilaso).

Sport in Apurimac River in Perú


The Apurimac River in Perú is one of the best rivers in the world for canoeing, as it has the right conditions for practicing this sport: excellent weather, rapids and beautiful sandy beaches for camping.

Excellent place for sport fishing

For lovers of sport fishing, nature and adventure, the Apurimac River is the price place.

In this beautiful river you can fish for the night fish “Jahuaco”, this fish is only fished at night, as well as other species such as trout and sardines. You will also enjoy the excellent panorama, flora and fauna that are in the place.

Trekking in Apurimac Valley

Choquequirao (sometimes also as Choqequirau or Choquekiraw) is known as the “sacred sister” of Machu Picchu for the structural and architectural resemblance to it. The most famous routes are: Choquequirao Trek 4 Days, the Choquequirao Trek 5 Days or the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek.

Apurimac River Bridge

The Q’eswachaka Bridge of the Apurímac River is located in the Cusco region of Peru. Every year during the second week of June, hundreds of locals gather to build a new Q’eswachaka bridge over the Apurimac River, a remote place in the Andes.

The Apurimac River bridge Q’eswachaka is a spectacular Andean engineering work, 28 meters long and 1.20 wide, that persists despite modernity and was included in the UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.

The techniques and rituals associated with its renewal have been passed down from generation to generation from the time of the Inca Empire, between the 15th and 16th centuries, to the present day. Using only natural fibers and great dedication and teamwork, the community knocks down the bridge from the previous year and builds a new one in an epic three-day feat.

Ancestral tradition in Apurimac River bridge

The annual renovation festival of the Q’eswachaka Bridge, which crosses the Apurímac River, is celebrated in the Quehue district and was recognized by Unesco as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2013.

The peculiarity of this traditional festivity, in which around 1,000 residents of the Quechua communities participate: Hunchiri, Chaupibanda, Choccayhua and Ccollana Quehue, from the Quehue district, is the use of raw materials and traditional techniques.

The Q’eswachaka is the only suspension bridge made entirely of plant fibers that has been renewed annually since Inca times.

The ancestral ritual is developed following this program:

First day

This begins with the offering that is paid to the tutelary Quinsallallawi apu. Before, the residents of the four communities have already collected the main input for the development of the bridge, the “qoya ichu”. The Andean woman who is in charge of weaving the first soguilla or qeswa actively participates in the collection of this material. In the afternoon, the men form two groups, and they meet over both sides of the bridge and extend the soguillas or queswas from end to end, which are braided by the chakaruhac (Inca engineer) to assemble the qeswaska or greater braid.

Second day

This begins by untying the old ropes that are tied to stone nails, to which the new braids will be tied again and once finished, they will begin to throw the ropes from one end to the other. Braiding the ropes takes time as does tying the cables, finally the four thick ropes that serve as the base and the two railings or handrails are placed.

Third day

This day concludes with the assembly of the handrails and the surface of the bridge, which will serve to cross. Once finished, it begins with the opening of the bridge to the music and typical dances of the area.

Fourth day. It is the date of celebration. This day there is a beautiful indigenous dance festival by the residents of the four Quechua communities.

How to get to the Apurimac River bridge?

The Quehue district is located 180 kilometers from the city of Cusco. There is a paved road that reaches the Inca bridge itself.

To get to the place where the festival will take place, you can board the vehicles of the local transport service. The first section leaves the city of Cusco and reaches the town of Combapata, the second section from Combapata to Yanaoca; and lastly, from Yanaoca to the Quehue community (this last section does not have public transport service and they have to contract a local private service).

Apurimac River rafting

Apurimac Rafting: White-water river tours

The best destination to do rafting white-water river in Peru is the Apurimac river, below you can choose the best option trip for you!

Alternative trips to the Apurimac Rafting

In these activities, you can add the best destination of Peru: The lost city of the Incas – Machu Picchu.
Discover Machu Picchu by foot to the Inca Trail tours or alternative hike 2, 3, 4, or 7 days or also you could do the Machu Picchu tours from Cusco.

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