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Date Place Comment
Mirador Laguna Paron

Amazing lake. One of the most beautiful we’ve seen. Note: if you are driving your own vehicle up to this lake, we advise to arrive before 10am. Not many people during this time. However, don’t plan to start to leave until after 1:30pm. Before that time, you’ll likely run into all the tourist vans coming up. And because the road is narrow, it’ll be tough for you to drive down while they are driving up.

Informal toll

No toll here, at least when we drove through.

Entrance to Laguna Paron

Still 5 soles! And if you have a tall vehicle, be careful not to smack the raised gate like.

Tablachaca Canyo

Have to disagree with the previous comment. Yes, the Cañón de Pato has the best scenery as you drive along the base of the cañón. But if you decide to take the 3N through Tablachaca, you are rewarded with much more diverse views of the cañón. You will also ascend and descend with incredible views. Tablachaca is also more of the ‘adventure’ than Pato.

In our opinion, the view is ‘probably’ better if you’re driving south on the 3N since you’re descending more often. But just our opinion.

An 100 Road closed 7 am to 5 pm

It’s 2022 and there was no visible construction. Mostly asphalt road and quite smooth. Dry season it’s a fantastic drive. If we still the wet season, I might think twice about driving down here. Lots of potential landslide opportunities.

Water tap next to the street

Nice looking water spigot and sink. A good place to stock up on water if you’re low.

Road works

It’s 2022, no more road works here. It’s smooth(ish) sailing! 20-30km/hr

Road construction

Construction is mostly finished, except for the curves. But no construction equipment on the road. Totally passable. The paved parts are super nice right now. Dry season was easy to drive.

In general, if this is the wet season, I’d expect some landslides.

Information for really big rigs

This road is fine. Mostly paved and very smooth. If it’s the dry season, this is a great drive. If it’s the wet season…watch out.

Large pullout with scenic views

We didn’t camp here but had lunch here. Very large pullout (and good 10-20 meters from the main road. Amazing views over the cañon. Only downside is you’re not hidden from the roadside. But still a good spot.

gravel pit by the river

Slept here in our van for the night. You should know that right at the main road, someone put a pile of rocks to ‘probably’ prevent people from driving down to this riverside area. You can easily bypass this rock pile in your vehicle, but just so you know, someone doesn’t want people to come down here. Probably a farmer.

But we camped here anyway. And it is windy until the early evening.

People said they made a campfire at night. Please don’t do this. The area is windy and very dry. When we arrived, we had to put out someone’s camp fire because it wasn’t properly extinguished and one of the pieces of wood was still on fire. Pretty dangerous in this dry environment.

We were undisturbed all night.

River camp

Very nice place to spend the night. Mostly flat and quiet at night. Although there just be a nearby village down the small road because people and cars are sometimes passing by. Best spot to camp if you’re in the area.

Bikepacking route. Do not enter big landslide

It’s 2022 now and the road is fine. It’s mostly dirt and gravel so we were driving about 20-30km/hr. We drove in the dry season and is easily drivable by virtually any vehicle. Wet season can be a different story…

Ruinas Marcahuamachuco

If you are in this area, this is such a nice archeology site to walk around. If you’re here in a weekday, you’ll likely be walking around all by yourself.

Still free to enter.

We camped overnight in the parking lot. It isn’t super flat, but if you parallel park along the edge you can find some flat areas. Best if you have some levelers. AWESOME views.

Primax Gas Station

The gas prices here are probably not the cheapest, but you do get a free nice car wash (including the chassis). We just put in 30 soles of gas and still got the complimentary wash.

The washing guy was very nice. Tipped him 5 soles because I’m a gringo.

Agua Thermales

The private hot pools are very HOT. 4 soles per person. Recommend coming here in a weekday then you can use the private pool for practically as long as you want. During the weekend you are limited to 20 minutes.

The parking area just in front of the private hot pools belongs to the hotel and car camping isn’t allowed there. Free camping is in the larger parking lot besides the football/basketball court.

Quiet at night and nobody bothered us. Dirty, but usable, bathrooms are in the far corner of the parking lot.

Hospedaje Patron

This is possibly the heat place to stay in the area. Large grassy area to park, hot water shower in the rooms (if it’s sunny all day), and there is even a cabana to do the dishes. Lots of water on site. Must he the strongest WiFi in northern Peru.

The owner (Angel) is a awesome guy. He raises his roosters for fighting and has over 50 roosters in his ranch.

This place seems much nicer than the Hacienda San Antonio close by.

Weekend might be a bit loud because Angel sometimes invites his friends over and plays music.

But overall, we would absolutely stay here again.

Gallito de las Rocas

Still 10 sol per person. If you’re under 3m, you can even park under a roofed garage in the back. Very nice if it’s rainy season.

Water is very cold, prepare yourself. Clean toilet.

The restaurant that you park behind plays good music. So if you’re a fan of 80s and 90s music (think Titanic movie), then you’re in luck!

Leymebamba Museum

Very cool little museum. Yes the price is 30 per person, a little steep. But the mummy section is worth the cost of entry. We also had a guide follow us around and explain many of the artifacts and mummies, which was nice. Garden is also very tranquil. This is also a community run museum, not funded by the government. So it’s a good way to support local efforts.

SOAT La Positiva / MAPFRE Jaen

Drove directly here from the border. Started the application process at 2pm. Was told we would receive it the next day between 4-5pm. But we actually received it at 6pm on the same day. Very nice! SOAT lady also very nice and patient.

209 SOL for 3 months for a 2018 Ford Transit van.

Camped out by the river for the night.

Immigration / Customs Ecuador

Immigration office and aduana open up at 8am. Well…more like 8:10am (it’s a small sleepy border)

Ecuador side took 1.5 hours (5 minutes todo immigration and the rest to cancel the TIP). The aduana has to send photos by phone of your documents to another border for processing. So it was a lot of waiting.

But everyone is nice. Clean-ish bathrooms out the back, by the river.

La Hormiga (La Balsa), Ecuador to San Ignacio, Peru

Very nice and pleasant border crossing. Everyone is as described. Process took us 1 hour (5 minutes for immigration and the rest for TIP). Just like Ecuador side, the TIP guys move SLOW. Oh well!

Aduana might ask you for vehicle insurance, but if you don’t have one, just insist you will buy it in Jaen. There were no police checkpoints to Jaen for us.

Pucapamba

Nice place to spend the night before crossing into Peru. Although, if it’s rainy season, you may want to park on the road and walk on the green grass to inspect for muddy areas before driving in.

No showers or bathrooms or electricity that we found. But there are bathrooms in the nearby tienda in the back corner of town. So you can buy some beers or snacks from the tienda in exchange for toilet privileges.

Casita Torre del Agua

This place is now closed to campers. Decided to focus on long term rentals once pandemic hit. No longer an Overlander option.

Ta’Lico (Best Chinese Food North Of Peru)

Grew up in China and this place is legitimately the best Chinese food we’ve had so far. Specializes in Sichuan food.

The picture menu is for locals. But there is a Chinese only menu (just a piece of paper) where the real food is.

Woman speaks well enough English. Get the “twice cooked pork”!

Cabañas Yanuncay

This place is nice enough, but this place has so much potential to be more.

Unfortunately, if you’re taller than 2 meters, you have to park away from the house. And this place is more like a glorified grassy parking lot than a ‘campsite’. But still, it’s the most nature you can get in a city.

Bathroom is clean and very hot water shower. Although it’s a bit of a walk to the house from the parking lot.

Humberto is really nice and even offered us vegetables from his garden. Home made granola also available ($3.50/bag). Also there are 3 VERY friendly German shepherds on site. We stayed 6 nights. Would stay again if in Cuenca.

$5 per person.

Eagle Condor Farm

Very nice place to hang out and relax in Alausi.

We parked right on the stone parking lot and it is (mostly) flat. Clean composting toilet, hot water shower, and electricity provided. Water is 15 gallons for $4. Free wood is provided for campfires.

The entrance gate is a little narrow, so in the near future it can be hard to enter if you’re longer than 7 meters or wider than a sprinter van. But they have plans to widen the gate in the near future.

$5 per person per night. 3 friendly dogs on site. And a couple cars wandering the grounds at night.

Monica is a very nice host and Angel, the grounds keeper, is friendly as well.

We bought a whole bushel of kale from Monica on the day we left.

Would stay again!

Abby's Hideaway

We really enjoyed our stay here. Perfect setting next to the river, inside the canyon. Level grassy area, which we loved. Bathrooms are clean. If you want electricity, you’ll need to park closer to the kitchen area.

Only issue was the bathrooms. It seems the camping showers are warm-ish and nothing is being done to make them hot. We were offered to use the shower in the cabin next door, which is HOT. However, if someone is using the cabin, you may not be able to use the shower.

Also, it’s a steep path down to the grassy area. Our RWD Ford Transit did it, but we worked it. If you have a heavy FWD van (Promaster/Ducato) you may want to park by the roadside and walk down to assess. Especially if it’s rainy season.

Beautiful views. Would stay again.

Cark Park at 4580 m

The road is still quite good all the way up to the parking lot. Most vehicles should have no problem. The last 100m near the top the road does get quite bumpy in some areas so just be aware on where your wheels are.

We recommend to park in the lower parking lot. The upper one is smaller and less flat.

Centro de Tourismo Shalala

Stayed here for one night. The person here charged us $7.50 per person to camp, even though the ticket said $5. Said it was extra to use the bathrooms and the mirador. Meh.

Place is ok, cold showers and didn’t say we could use the hot shower in the cabana, as mentioned below. No wifi. Clean bathrooms.

Not sure what the benefit of staying here versus the parking lot by the lake. But it is easy access to the lake from here and our cat LOVED it.


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