Cañón del Pato

Huaraz & the Cordilleras

If you continue north from Caraz along the Callejón de Huaylas, you will wind your way through the outstanding Cañón del Pato. It’s here that the Cordillera Blanca and the Cordillera Negra come to within kissing distance for a battle of bedrock wills, separated by only 15m in parts and plummeting to vertigo-inducing depths of up to 1000m. The harrowing road snakes along a path hewn out of sheer rock, over a precipitous gorge and passing through 54 tunnels.

Gargantuan, crude walls tower above the road on all sides, and as the valley’s hydroelectric plant comes into sight you realize that it’s dramatic enough to house the secret lair of a James Bond arch-villain. The most dramatic stretch of the road is between Caraz and Huallanca, especially between tunnels 10 and 18, where the canyon is at its narrowest point.

If you're passing through on a bus, sit so that you’re looking out of the right-hand side of the vehicle (as you face the driver) for the best views along the way. However, the best way to see the canyon is by bike. Report to Pony Expeditions in Caraz for bikes and maps.