Whether on horseback or foot, Uyo Uyo village is one of the top and easily accessible places to visit while in Yanque.
Whenever anyone asked me about it, I pointed to the other side of the Colca Canyon: “You see, it’s right there!” So close to almost reach but getting there requires some walking down and then up again. Of course I was the lucky one to go there always on horseback, in 3 of 4 cases it was white mare called Nieve who was a great ride, if only I let her go fast enough, in all other cases she could get quite moody. 🙂
Crossing the Sifon bridge
The trail starts through the village, passing by the main square of Yanque and descending towards the Sifon bridge. Crossing it is an experience of itself, especially when the wind blows through the narrow valley and you see that deep drop with roaring river below. Even the horses tend to be hesitating to step on it and the first time I took tourists there (and didn’t know my horses well), I made sure to take apples with me to reward each of the horses once they beat their fear. It worked! 🙂
From the bridge or from the other side of the valley we could admire the “colcas” – mud and stone caves that served for storing crops or seeds.
And then the climb starts but the horses, especially Nieve push hard to get up the main road very fast. A little gallop brings us to the side of the hill and on its plateau spreads the Uyo Uyo village. The last climb is to be done of feet – a little exercise after all – while the horses take rest, having a selection of mountain plants, growing in this area.
The history of the village goes back into the past, 500 years ago. That’s when the tribes of Collaguas and Cabanas settled here and established their headquarters at this village. Visiting the ruins of the villages is like a journey into those times, seeing those stone houses where people lived, the main square where they gathered, the old but still fully functional water channels and the cascade fields below, so perfectly thought-through that the water from the hills gets distributed into all its parts.
The village of Uyo Uyo as seen today was also influenced by the Inca culture, we can notice the typical stonework on these houses. In the 16th century the Spanish conquistadors arrived and created towns throughout the valley, such as Yanque. Ever since, the Uyo Uyo together with other similar villages became abandoned. However, many locals still speak Quechua, the language of Cabanas.
The way back, passing the thermals
Back on the horses, we have a fun ride ahead. The road is wide ,after all it serves as a back road to Chivay and one has to watch out for cars, but when its empty we can let the horses run and they sure enjoy as much as us. Except for Caramelo perhaps, he doesn’t like to spend too much of his energy. 🙂
Just above the thermal spas, we look for a tiny path to descent towards an old stone bridge across the Colca river one more time.
There are three thermal baths in Yanque. First one, located right next to the two bridges, is more like a swimming pool with warm water. Many families with children come here and at times, this gives me headache and claustrophobia. 🙂
The other two, proper hot pools a little bit down, right by the Colca river. The water is warm enough to relax your tired muscles but if it gets too hot, one can always cool down in the nearby river. All three thermal baths charge 15 soles for tourists and 5 for Peruvian and locals (like us). 😉
One more gallop up the road that leads back to Yanque village and then zig-zaging through the tiny streets all the way back to the stables of Tradicion Colca. That’s all, I hope you enjoyed the ride. 🙂