Geocache the Yanamarca Valley of Peru
Get ready to geocache Peru! This GeoTour will take you on a journey around a valley high in the Andes and far from the typical tourist trail. You’ll see rural life as it is lived by everyday Peruvians. The valley offers a mix of the new, the old and the ancient. Explore all of it, from 600 year old pre-Incan archeological sites, to neighborhoods where farmers still plow with mules, to a local technical school where scientific studies are being conducted to develop new strains of potatoes.
What you are booking
Your booking reserves a local who will act as your guide/concierge for three days and is also an expert in the region’s culture and history, as well as a certified shaman, who will perform a shamanistic ritual with you before entering an ancient burial grounds.
In three days, you will be able to visit enough geocaches to receive the geocoin prize; you will need four days to see every single geocache.
Note! Transport and lodging is arranged separately – scroll down for more information or simply shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
The GeoTour was created by the members of the Yanamarca Valley Watershed Committee, a group working to fight environmental problems throughout the watershed of the Yanamarca River. This GeoTour will take you to reforestation projects, to a lovely wetland the committee is currently working to protect, and to springs, streams and rivers where you can observe the interaction between the population and the water system.
The 44 geocaches in this GeoTour cover a wide range of attractions in the valley. You’ll explore several archeological sites of the ancient Xauxa civilization, hike through a canyon with red towers of sandstone, meet an artisan who weaves fabric on traditional looms, take a walking tour of ten brightly-painted neighborhood chapels, view breath-taking vistas of the Andes, and much more.
The GeoTour offers more than a collection of geocaches in the same geographic area. You can download its passport, a scorecard on which you can track your finds. For each geocache you find and log, you earn a point. You can also earn points for frequenting businesses in the Yanamarca Valley. One of the objectives of this project is to bring income into this community where significant poverty exists. You can help by making a point to spend some of your tourist money right here in the valley by buying meals, employing a guide or driver or staying in a hostel here. Accumulate 30 points and you will earn a special trackable Geocoin as a memento of your visit! We have 100 geocoins to give out to the first 100 players who complete the challenge.
Download your Passport here and get ready to cache the Andes!
More About Attractions, Lodging, and Food
The Tunan Marca Remains
These pre-Incan ruins from the Xauxa (pronounced ‘show-sha’) civilization sit on top of a mountain overlooking the Yanamarca valley. Remains of round stone buildings cover several acres and are some of the only remnants of the Xauxa, an agrarian culture that farmed the valley floors and lived on the mountaintops and slept in a kneeling position. No joke. They also buried their dead in the kneeling position. The remains are a three hour hike from the town of Concho – if you are in the plaza, facing the church, follow the back right road up the mountain behind the town.
If you don’t want to hike up, you can call Oberdan Alvarez, cell 954-607-742, and he will drive you up to within a 15 minute walk of the remains.
This interpretive center includes paleontology, archaeology, and history from the valley. Exhibits include fossils (what are now massive Andean mountains used to be ocean), indigenous Xauxa artifacts, and pictures from various festivals and viewpoints around the valley. Open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9am – 1pm. Entry price: S/.1
Wetland Humedal Chocón
This wetland is surrounded by the ring lake of Laguna Tragadero, which is drained by a mysterious geological sinkhole that has been worshiped and revered for thousands of years (tragadero means “sinkhole”) and is home to 2 endangered bird species, 4 rare species, and 11 additional species of water birds that can be
Around the wetland are hillsides containing many medicinal plants, ancient pre-Incan terraces, and limestones containing fossils. In the four small villages around the wetland are adobe houses with red tile roofs where the locals live fairly traditional lives.observed year-round. Flamingos can also be observed October through February during their mating and nesting season. A few stay all year round, so you may see them March through September if you’re lucky.
Shutuy Malca Remains
The Incas considered Shutuy Malca a satellite community that would not bother them if they sacked the Xauxa center of Tunan Marca. As such, in Shutuy Malca you’ll find some of the best preserved circular Xauxa buildings that exist. Near the remains, you can also see part of the of the old Inca road as it winds its way to Ecuador (anyone feel like walking to Ecuador?), as well as ancient llama corrals and amazing views of the Yanamarca Valley.
To get to the remains, you can take a colectivo (shared taxi) from Jauja. If you don’t want to mess around with time, we can arrange for a taxi to pick you up.
Transport While in the Yanamarca Valley
You can arrange to have a truck transport you around the valley for the following prices:
1st Day: 120 soles (about $40)
2nd Day: 140 soles (about $46)
3rd Day: 170 soles (about $56)
The community is working on getting bikes for geocachers – please contact us if you are interested in renting a bike instead and we can check their status!
Basic accommodations in a local resident’s house, surrounding a nice patio restaurant (described below). Expect a bed in a private room, but a shared bathroom. To get there from the plaza, take 2 de Mayo street, go north 3 blocks, turn left and it’s right there.
Price: 25 soles per room (about $8) (btw the owner, Edgar, stressed that he didn’t care if you put more than two people in a room, though more than two will definitely be snug).
Phone: 964-810-785 (Movistar); RPM #955-900-563
Your guide, Chasqui, has a guest suite, designed in harmony with nature and to be totally silent and private.
Price: 30 soles for individuals, 60 soles for couples
Maria Nieves Hotel in Jauja
If you want better than basic accommodations, you will have to grab a car back to Jauja and stay in the Maria Nieves Hotel. There are solid rooms with warm water, a nice sitting room with antique furniture, and a nice owner, who can make you breakfast if you request it.
There are also many hostels in Jauja, if you want something cheaper in Jauja and don’t mind searching around a little.
Recreo Huerto in Acolla
A cute patio restaurant with funky decor. Every available space on the wall is occupied by a plant, taxedermied animals, artisan jars, or caged birds. Food is typical Peruvian menu, with a heavier than normal emphasis on potatoes (which are ubiquitous in the Yanamarca Valley and consumed with every meal).
Prices: 10 soles (about $4) for lunch or dinner; 6 soles for breakfast (about $2); Specialty plates, such as fish or rabbit cost something closer to $8.
Restaurant Shaday in Acolla
Another patio restaurant with slightly more variety of lunches, including chaufa (Chinese-style Peruvian food). Located one block north of the plaza on a street named Primero de Mayo.
Plaza Restaurants in Marco
There are two restaurants in the plaza in Marco, both of which serve typical menu lunches.
Micuy Wasy (next to Elkinet internet)
Inexpensive family food, they specialize in breakfast and lunch, but are open into the evening. Phone: 961-561-962
Breakfast and lunch only. The owner, Otilia Farfan-Ramon likes interacting with tourists and will set up special meals if you call in advance. Phone: 942-604-283
Price: $5.00; special dishes up to $15
How to Get There
From Lima: Take a cab to the Yerbateros bus station; the fare will obviously depend on your starting point, but you are not likely to be lodging near this station, so the ride will probably cost $10-15. You want buses going to Huancayo; they will be marked and there will be plenty of men yelling destinations at you, one of which will be Huancayo. Tell the bus helper that you are getting off at Jauja (pronounced ‘how-ha’). You don’t need to speak Spanish to do this, just say Jauja about four times.
(CAUTION: This bus station is in a dangerous area! The station itself is safe, but do not wander outside its walls while waiting for your bus to leave.)
Trip Time: 7 hours
Price: This will vary, depending on which company you take and which seat you choose. Expect to pay S/.15-20 for seats upstairs (not as comfortable) and $30-40 for seats downstairs (very comfortable).
From Jauja: Once you’re in Jauja bus station, look for cars lined up against the wall and ask for Acolla (pronounced ‘acoya’). Someone will direct you into a car, which you will share with other residents (expect 4 to sit in the back seat and don’t be surprised if they put people in the trunk). Tell the driver Acolla Plaza and he will bring you either there or within two blocks.
Trip time: 20 minutes
Price: $1.50 or $2 at night