jueves, 1 de febrero de 2018

Petroglyphs of Toro Muerto and Valley of the Volcanoes

In the beautiful and fertile valley of Majes we'll find Toro Muerto (district of Uraca, with capital in Corire), where we can arrive in about 2 hours and a half by bus from the city of Arequipa (163 km away).

The enclave of this place is surrounded by green fields and the river Majes, where besides being able to taste a dish based on its famous shrimp (except closed from January to March), you can visit the Jurassic Park of Querullpa (Aplao district) or its fascinating Petroglyphs, which is for many people the largest representation of rock art in the world.

These drawings carved on the rocks date from 800 to 1000 A.D. (Huari and Chuquibamba cultures) and represent plants, animals such as condors, foxes, alpacas, anthropomorphic beings or geometric forms occupying a space of about 5 km.

Petroglyphs of Toro Muerto, Arequipa, Volcans Valley
Fotos: rupestreweb.info
The discovery of these petroglyphs took place in 1951, thanks to the work of Peruvian archaeologist Eloy Linares and is, since 2002, National Cultural Heritage. Although its exact meaning is unknown, it seems that these drawings represent the everyday life of the inhabitants of the area, being a constant the dancers with masks that seem to cry and address the apus (gods of nature) asking for some kind of favor.

To get there you can hire a tourist service of 4x4 vehicles from Arequipa, although a cheaper option is to take the Arequipa-Corire bus service, get to the control post of the Regional Direction of Culture and walk to our destination. We can also continue to the village and take a taxi for about S/ 50 round trip (US$ 14).

Petroglyphs of Toro Muerto, Arequipa, Volcans Valley

If you don't want to spend the night in Corire, it is advisable to leave Arequipa at 4.00 am and arrive in Majes at dawn. After having a good breakfast we will head towards Toro Muerto in a walk of about three hours. The road is full of mosquitoes and at midday the heat can be strong, so don't forget:

Wide-brimmed hat or cap.
Insect repellent.
Abundant water.

If you want to sleep in the area, in Aplao we will find some hacienda houses with lodging (booking in advance), and in Corire, we can find Willy's Hostel, a simple hotel with personal rooms around the S/ 40 (US$ 11). Telephone: (054)47 2046.

Valley of the Volcanoes

Near the Petroglyphs of Toro Muerto and the fertile valley of Majes, we find another essential destination if we are or we head towards the White city of Arequipa: the Valley of the Volcanoes.

This enclave located 377 km from Arequipa and 145 km from Aplao, has incredible geological formations, highlighting its lava flows of up to 84 inactive volcanoes and its valleys fertilized by volcanic ash.

Valley of volcans, valley of volcans Arequipa, how to get the valley of volcans

This valley has an average height of 3600 meters above sea level, having Antaymarca hill as a natural viewpoint. The visible volcanic cones, produced after different eruptions, show that the activity produced dates from thousands of years ago, the last being in the early seventeenth century.

The lava rivers displaced the Challahuire river towards the east side of the valley, forming the Chachas lagoon, which later takes another 20 km between lava flows to the Mamacocha lagoon.

Among the towns that can be visited in the Valley of the Volcanoes is the original town of Andagua, from where you can make an excursion walking about 10 km to the twin volcanoes with a perfectly conical shape or to the funerary chullpas of Soporo, two hours walk or half by car.

Valley of volcans, valley of volcans Arequipa, how to get the valley of volcans

Other attractions that we can visit are the waterfall of Shanquilay, the thermal waters of Huancarama in Orcopampa, or the archaeological zone of Antaymarca, with a pre-Inca citadel.

As with the rest of the tours, you can reach the valley by renting SUVs with guides in the city of Arequipa. The economic option is to take buses from the company Andalucía at 2.00 am, 6.00 am, 12.00 pm or 2.00 pm and depart to Cabanaconde, cross the Colca Canyon and then pass 5.000 meters to descend to the Valley of the Volcanoes.

For this excursion we recommend a specialized guide and mules, in addition to sunscreen and water as indicated above.

On the way back we will have time to enjoy the second most important city in Peru: the White City of Arequipa.

Abelardo Platos, Peru Travels Blog
February 2018

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