If you are like me and live for breathtaking landscapes and great trekking territory, then your trip to Peru is not complete without an adventure to the Cañon Del Pato (Duck Canyon) and its surroundings, located in north central Peru in the Ancash region around 8 hours drive North of Peru’s capital, Lima. The scenery around this area is simply spectacular where the landscape consists of the Cordillera Negra (Black Range) mountain range and the Cordillera Blanca (White Range) mountain range, the steep and rocky walls of the Duck Canyon that reach over 1,000 meters in height, which runs down to the Rio Santa (Santa River), and the Callejon de Huaylas (Corridor of Huaylas), the valley that runs in between the two Andean mountain ranges. The Cordillera Blanca range is the world’s second largest mountain range behind the Himalaya, so it provides some of the best and toughest climbing territory you can find.
The Rio Santa forms part of the road, which runs between the cities of Huaraz and Chimbote and there are a whopping 35 tunnels cutting through the Codillera Negra mountain range, which were built by an old mining company back in the 1930’s to make the journey along the Rio Santa possible. Due to the forces of the river a Hydroelectric plant was built in the Cañon del Pato and is now responsible for supplying electricity to the vast majority of north central Peru and also helps to bring electricity to the people living in remote areas.
There are a number of ways to travel in this region and if you are brave enough to rent a car then you need to take extra special care on some of the roads, as they are not made for 2 cars or vans to pass at the same time, which can get the heart racing at times. For the people that do rent a 4×4 and drive through the area, they have said that it is one of their favorite road trips. Alternately, you can take a ‘combi’ bus, which is the term used for a small privately owned van that runs as a bus for people at a cheap price, or you could opt for a more comfortable journey on a tour bus, which is generally safer. If you are starting out from Caraz then you get a bus that departs in the morning and travels along the Cañon del Pato route until it reaches Chimbote on the coast. Hiring a mountain bike in Caraz can also be a great alternative for a day trip.
If you feel like more of an adventure and going off the beaten track, then you can go on one of the many treks in the area. The most popular treks is one that starts off in a town called Santa that is north of Chimbote and takes you through some magnificent scenery in rough terrain and alongside the Rio Santa into the Duck Canyon. The trek is not as long as the well known Inca Trail treks, but will still probably take you around 10 hours to complete and a good pair of lungs, so take comfortable footwear and clothes, and plenty of water.