Peru has so many destinations and tourist attractions that many go unnoticed by the majority of national and international tourists. This is the case of the Valley of the Geysers, located in the department of Tacna.
This natural area has an ecosystem full of endemic flora species and is surrounded by a beautiful natural setting. If you plan to travel to Tacna for vacation, the Valley of Geysers has to be a mandatory point of tourism.
In the upper area of Tacna is the Valley of Geysers of Candarave, a tourist attraction little known by Peruvians themselves, but which deserves all our attention.
This is a mandatory destination for those who visit this region of southern Peru. The Valley of the Geysers of Candarave is located in the Vilacota-Maur Regional Conservation Area, at 4,300 meters above sea level. in the Calientes river basin.
There are 85 hot springs and their temperatures vary between 37º and 80ºC. That is why only some are considered for bathing, since thanks to their high concentration of sulfur they have healing and relaxing properties.
In this place you can see the mountain area, the Andes and the animals typical of this ecosystem.
To get to the Vilacota-Maure Regional Conservation Area, you must hire a tourism service from the city of Tacna, especially to go with a guide who takes care of the area. The road lasts 4 hours and on the way you will be able to appreciate the flora and fauna of the place.
In this area you will also find the Garganta del Diablo or lagoons such as Vilacota, Taccata, Ñeque, Camiri and Paucarani.
You must take into account that you are in a high place, so you must acclimatize and take, if necessary, pills against altitude sickness. In the same way, go with water, sunscreen, lip lipstick and moisturizer for the skin.
Located in the Vilacota - Maure Regional Conservation Area, at 4300 m a.s.l. no. m., in the Calientes river basin, this place is home to 85 hot springs formed in the past as a product of volcanic activity and whose waters, which exceed 80° C, produce large columns of smoke and unusual vaporization that dazzles the eye.
The Valley of Geysers is located in the Vilacota-Maure Regional Conservation Area. This, due to its great extension, covers the districts of Palca, Tarata, Ticaco, Susapaya and Candarave. It is in this last district where the Valley of Geysers is located.
The Valley of Geysers is located at 4300 meters above sea level. in the Calientes river basin. The tourist attraction of this valley are the 85 hot springs that are found there. Its waters are temperate and oscillate between 37°C and 80°C. Also, due to its high concentration of sulfur, these waters have many healing and relaxing properties.
Upon reaching the Valley of Geysers, visitors are captivated by the imposing Andean horizon that surrounds the area. During the tour, it is possible to observe a large amount of endemic flora, such as the yareta and the tola, species that can grow in places of high altitude. After a few minutes of walking, the gases in the sky indicate that the first geysers are close to being discovered.
Upon arrival, one witnesses the unique color that these natural sources provide. Due to their high concentration of sulfur, some are used as thermal baths, as they have relaxing and healing properties that help treat diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism.
Nearby is the trapezoidal bridge where many visitors take the opportunity to take pictures accompanied by the spectacular landscape of the Andes Mountains. On the other hand, we recommend you also visit the geological formations located in the surroundings of the valley, among which the so-called Elephant Stone stands out.
The Vilacota - Maure Regional Conservation Area also has other highly attractive points of interest. Here, you will be able to discover volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, stone and ashlar churches, as well as herds of alpacas and herds of wild vicuñas. Created in 2009, the objective of this conservation area is to protect the Maure river basin, the region's main source of water and habitat for several endangered species.
The Vilacota Lagoon is one of its main attractions, as well as the so-called Garganta del Diablo, the Cota geysers and the Conchachiri waterfalls. Very close to there is the province of Tarata, a quiet town full of greenery at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters that attracts for its spectacular landscapes.
To enjoy this wonderful destination, you must first travel to the Tacna region. From Lima, it is approximately 22 hours by bus and the ticket costs 130 soles. If you want to travel by plane, the price is 200 soles and the travel time is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Once in the Heroic City, you should go to the Plaza de Armas where you will find various tourist agencies that provide transportation to Vilacota - Maure. The tour lasts 4 hours and costs 210 soles per person, including transportation, guide, and lunch. During the journey you will be able to appreciate the Queñuales Forest and the Yucamani volcano, as well as several Andean species, such as the surí bird, the taruka or Andean deer and the vicuña.
To get to Vilacota-Maure you have to take a tourist transport from the city of Tacna. This tour lasts approximately 4 hours. Thus, along the way you will be able to appreciate the Andean ecosystem and several species of flora and fauna that are currently in danger of extinction.
In this conservation area, you will find forests of queñuales, tolares, bofedales and grasslands. In addition, you will be able to observe the most important species in the area, such as the suri, the taruca, the vicuña and others.
In addition to hosting the Valley of Geysers, Vilacota-Maure also has several beautiful lagoons such as Vilacota, Taccata, Ñeque, Camiri and Paucarani.
Likewise, the Valley of the Geysers, although it has an unparalleled beauty, is not the only area of geysers in Vilacota-Maure. If you loved the Valley of Geysers, you can also visit La Garganta del Diablo, or Cota Geysers. This natural attraction is located in the Huiltavira annex, in Candarave. To access it, you have to take a trekking route that starts on the trail from Huiltavira to Kalachulpane. At the end of the journey you will find a narrow rock formation where you can see geysers expelling hot water and gases into the sky. When these fall, they form a small stream of temperate waters. Without a doubt, it is a natural spectacle that no one should miss.
Another place that houses the Vilacota-Maure conservation area is the Conchachiri Waterfalls. This site is located at 4250 m.s.n.m. on a rocky slope near the Maure River, in the province of Tarata. It has a shallow drop, but with wide proportions. Just the sound of the water colliding with the lower part of the fall is a sublime experience for the tourist.
Likewise, another important waterfall is Calachaca, which is located in the Ticaco district. This waterfall is known as the Skull, because its waters cross a long geographical feature. Very close to there, there is also a recreation center that has thermal baths.
If you are visiting the Valley of Geysers or any other of the nearby natural attractions, you have to take the opportunity to try the delicious typical dishes that Tacna offers.
A dish that you will find in every corner of Tacna is the spicy tacneña. This stew has been prepared since the beginning of the Republic. This dish is cooked over firewood and is accompanied by “marraqueta” bread.
Likewise, another dish that you cannot stop trying is rice with duck. This one is inspired by Spanish paellas and incorporates various Peruvian flavors.
Finally, the tacneño marinade is a dish with which the gastronomic route in Tacna should end. The marinade was born with the purpose of preserving the meat for a longer time and, over the years, it has become one of the emblematic dishes of Tacna and Arequipa. For it to turn out well, the meat must be marinated for several hours. Its preparation includes boiled and fried pork meat in a clay pot using firewood. Potato and sweet potato are usually served as a side dish.
In addition to the Vilacota-Maure conservation area, Tacna has many other tourist attractions to offer.
One of them is the Swamp of Ite. This is 95 km. from the city of Tacna, at the mouth of the Locumba River. It is one of the largest swamps in the country along with the Villa swamps in Lima. It is also the second largest in all of South America. This place is the main attraction in terms of flora and fauna, as it is home to a large population of waterfowl such as the white heron and the red duck.
26 km. from the city of Tacna, are the petroglyphs of Miculla. These can be covered in 30 minutes; They show drawings and traces of animals and people. Also, very close to there is a suspension bridge 65 meters long. To get to Miculla you can take the buses that leave from the city of Tacna or hire a tourist service.
The Cathedral of Tacna is another tourist attraction that you can visit in the city. Its architectural style is Neo-Renaissance, inspired by the 19th century. It is the ideal place to observe religious art typical of the area.
Finally, in the city of Tacna you can visit the National Railway Museum. This is focused on the remains of the railway, of which 90% of original parts are preserved. In addition, it houses rooms with photographs of Tacna and Arica from 1929. The main rooms of the museum are the historical documentary room, the Peru room, the Philatelic room and the Hornas Foundry Area room.