2,378 msnm. / 3,952 msnm.
The department of Apurímac is located in the south, limiting with Cusco, Arequipa and Ayacucho. Since a rough topography has placed it between high mountains and deep cliffs, only through titanic efforts the winding roads have been build.
Located in the Sierra, the weather in Apurímac during the greatest part of the year is rainy and with low temperatures. It is adviced to travel from June through October.
Apurímac has an extension of 22,654 km² (7,970 sq ml), and a population of around 371,000 people.The capital is the city of Abancay, a spring like city with narrow streets, and white houses with tin roofs or red-roof tiles.
A Brief History
Little is known about its origins, although, chroniclers state the fact that the first settlers were formed by tribes of several regions that originated from the Quechua culture. The legendary Chancas settled in the region of Andahuaylas. This group of tribes are known in history as rebel and fearless warriors of the ancient Perú.
Chronicles relate that the Chancas prepared themselves for years to conquer the imperial city of Cusco, but only on account of the great figure and strategy of Inca Pachacutec, the Inca empire did not yield.
By the time the conquerors established the first political organization of the Colony, almost the whole extension of the actual department was under the jurisdiction of the authorities of Huamanga; nevertheless, there is no recollection on the foundation of cities and towns.
The best men and women of Apurímac participated in the struggles for emancipation and independence. One of them was Mateo Pumacahua, who led a movement that extended to Andahuaylas.
Let us also mention Micaela Bastidas who, together with her husband José Gabriel Condorcanqui –Túpac Amaru II– faced torture from the Spanish oppressors and put down her life on behalf of liberty.
At the beginning of the Republic, Abancay belonged to Cusco. It was not until April 28, 1873 that a law was given to create the department of Apurímac, based on the provinces of Andahuaylas (Ayacucho), Antabamba, Aymaraes and Cotabambas (Cusco), and naming Abancay as its capital.
Main Attractions in Apurimac
Saywite Archaeological Complex
Located at the north of Abancay, it reveals the existence of millenary cultural centers. The famous Saywite stone, considered as the scale model of the Tahuantinsuyo, is almost round and convex, 4 mt diameter (30 ft), with multiple carvings depicting people, animals and plants grouped by natural regions.
An imposing natural wonder that rises at the foot of the city of Abancay.
Rafting and Camping on the Apurimac
After exploring Cusco, the impressive Inca capital, we head off into a seldom-visited river Canyon – the Apurimac. Three days of class II-IV rapids lie ahead as we make our way, with all our supplies, down through a land of weird and wonderful rock formations. Expert training is given so that even novice crews can meet the river’s challenges, and nights are spent camping on white sand beaches surrounded by nature. It’s a unique rafting experience not to be missed. Andean foxes, otters and pumas have all been spotted on the banks of the river, making this an excellent choice for wildlife lovers with or without previous rafting experience.