Orientation

Piura, Peru, Alto Piura

Canchaque

This mountain town in Alto Piura is known as the “Organic Coffee Capital of Piura” – a title that is self-appointed but also fitting. Besides its coffee, Canchaque also boasts multiple beautiful hikes to waterfalls, petroglyphs, and a cave known as “the Devil’s hiding spot.” Canchaque is often overlooked by tourists on the way up to Huancabamba, but it is an excellent place to stop for a day or two to enjoy the hikes, the natural beauty, the organic coffee, and the locally baked sweets.

 

Activities

Los Peroles de Mishahuaca

Piura, Peru, Alto Piura

Los Peroles de Mishahuaca

Multiple mini-falls (peroles) drop down the mountain to create little lagoons, which are perfect for swimming. Enjoy an excellent view of the valley from the bridge over the largest fall or a respite from the sun on the shores of the lagoons.

Hike Length: 40 minutes each way;1.3km from Canchaque

Price: Free!

How to Get There: From the plaza, face the church and walk past it, up the hill. Follow the road and after about 35 minutes, you will see a sign that says ‘Peroles’ pointing you to the right. Follow the trail and you will see the waterfalls and the bridge after about 5 minutes.

Chorro Blanco Waterfall

A 200 meter waterfall about two hours hike from Canchaque. The hike up is a great way to enjoy Canchaque’s surrounding environment. As you ascend, you will see an increasing number of animals, medicinal plants, and fruit growing from the trees around you.

How to Get There: From the plaza, face the church and walk past it, up the hill. After about five/ten minutes, you will reach an area called La Villa – take the road marked for Maraypampa (green sign); follow trail for 40 minutes and you will reach a sign that says ‘Los Portreros.’ From here, you can rent a horse or mule to bring you the rest of the way up; S/.15. From there, follow the path north (up; note that there are two paths – both will get you there) 1.5 hours.

Hike Length: 2 hours each way; 5.9km from Canchaque

Los Peroles de Agua Blanca

A series of mini-lagoons and natural water slides, this is one of the best ways to beat the heat in Alto Piura. Relax on the rocks or slip-slide from pool to pool after a beautiful hike through the forest.

How to Get There: From the plaza, face the church and walk past it, up the hill. After about five/ten minutes, you will reach an area called La Villa – take the road marked for Maraypampa (green sign); follow trail for 40 minutes and you will reach a sign that says ‘Los Portreros.’ From here, take the road to the east (right). In about an hour, you will reach a town called Pampa Minas and in another hour, you will reach Agua Blanca.

You can also take a car to Pampa Minas and then hike about an hour to Agua Blanca. The car should cost around S/.20 but it will depend on the driver. There should be cars in the Canchaque plaza – ask them about going to Pampa Minas.

Trip Time: 3 hours up; 12.1km

Piedra Tableada Cave

A gigantic cavern surrounded by many local superstitions, it is alternately known as ‘the Devil’s hiding place.’ We’re not 100% sure he’s not hiding there, but he’s yet to make an actual appearance, so you’re probably safe to go explore a bit.

How to Get There: 45 minutes from Canchaque – ask locals to point you to La Cueva Piedra Tableada.

Puente “La Chununa”

Piura, Alto Piura, Peru

La Chununa

Just ten minutes from the center of Canchaque, you’ll quickly transition from populated town to thick forest. The bridge is an excellent, shady spot to sit and enjoy the forest for a little while. It is so named for a beautiful woman that would appear around 6pm and drive men to madness. If you see her, say hello, but try to keep your head – she’s not real.

The Cerro de Huayanay Lookout

Just a 20 minute drive from Canchaque, this is perhaps the best place to enjoy the sunset. You can take any car headed for El Faique or Palambra (or just ask for Huayanay) – it should cost S/.1.50.

You can also walk 40 minutes towards El Faique and the Cerro will be on your right, just before Faique. There is a clear path leading to stairs that go up the Cerro.

Lodging

Hospedaje “El Alpino”

A cute little lodge owned by a local family, this is more than just a place to spend the night. You can also get to know local farming processes, including making cheese, making natural fertilizers, and growing organic fruit and coffee.

Price: S/.150 per night

How to Get There: From the plaza, face the church and walk past it, up the hill. Keep going north (up) and you should reach an area called ‘La Esperanza’. Ask anyone for ‘El Alpino’ and they will point you in the right direction.

Dining

Organic Coffee

Piura, Peru, Alto Piura

Harvesting Coffee

Canchaque is known as the Organic Coffee Capital of Piura. Locals began growing coffee here about 80 years ago and it is typically grown on farms in the shade of banana and orange trees. It is harvested from July to August and can be seen drying in the streets of Canchaque at any time of year. The best place to get it in town is at the restaurant on the plaza.

Local Foods

Canchaque is known for its pea and banana soup, as well as majadito (aka majote) – unripe bananas are cooked and smashed, fried pork on top

How to Get There

Piura, Peru, Alto Piura

Canchaque at Sunset

From Piura: Take a cab or moto-taxi to Terminal Castilla (should cost less than S/.4, but cabs will likely ask for S/.5). Enter the terminal and go to the far back left for a bus called Virgen de Asuncion. Morning buses leave at 6AM, 7:30AM, and 10AM; afternoon buses leave at noon, 3PM, and 6PM

Price: S/.10

Trip Time: 3 hours

From Huancabamba: Get on the buses going to Piura and tell them you’re getting off in Canchaque (‘bajo en Canchaque’)

Price: S/.15

Trip Time: 4 hours