Monday, June 29, 2015

Pala Qu'ala

I'm on the theme of Lima day trips to the Andes lately.

Probably because the Andes are so pretty! And surprisingly close to Lima are beautiful, lesser known, verdant areas full of farmland and waterfalls. I love the fact that I live on the East side of Lima so close to the pretty part of the Limeñan Andes. 

This past weekend we went with a group of volunteers to San Jerónimo de Surco - also just called Surco - in the Huarochirí province to hike to the waterfall Pala Qu'ala (also spelled Palakala). The trip was pretty painless - go to Chosica (I describe the process of how to arrive there in my Markahuasi blog here) to Parque Echenique. At the Parque, you get off and immediately take a right on the road behind the plaza, which is where the buses going to Surco are located. These buses have a final destination at Matucana (also a pretty hiking spot), so they will have Matucana written on the side. It's S/3.50 one way to get to Surco.

When you get off at Surco, it's pretty apparent how to find the trail to Palakala. You walk straight down the road from where the bus drops you, and there should be a hut with tourist information where you pay an entrance fee next to the Municipalidad building. No one was manning the hut, so we went without paying the fee :/ but I believe it's super minimal, maybe S/2. The trail was easy to find, you just walk to the end of the road where the bus drops you off, hang a right, and keep walking till you see the sign pointing you to Palakala. From there, just follow the red arrows, they're pretty clear. 

Follow me!

Palakala is waiting for you, keep going...
Let's go, you can do it!
However, don't trust the little signs on the way up. It'll tell you "you're close!" "you're SO close!" "you're almost there, keep going!" ...even when you're only a quarter of the way done! We were just a little frustrated when the trail kept going.

Waterfalls along the way
More waterfalls along the way

But all in all, beautiful easy-to-mid level hike that was around 7 miles (11.2km) roundtrip - another sign not to believe, when you get there, it says it's 9km, and on the internet it said it was 5km. It's 7 miles total!! We were going kind of slow, and total hiking time was 5 hours. But the incline is not steep, and experience hikers could do it in 3-4 hours.
Palakala! Final destination reached!
The waterfall was kind of small, but very lovely and refreshing. This part of the Andes is always beautiful, in sum a lovely weekend hike.


  1. I am thrilled over your experiences, your love of life, and exhilaration over the beauty of things that others might otherwise miss. You are an inspiration to me. Dad