Since we left the United States, Stevie and I had the dream of driving through the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes.
We were determined to start this spectacular adventure at the source, so we drove into Venezuela to the tiny town of La Puerta…. “The Door”. (click here to remember that adventure)
Since then we’ve covered a lot of ground, traveling the Andes through Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and now Peru!
The best part of driving in the Andes is that you never know what you’re going to see, but you KNOW it’s going to be epic.
Of course things don’t always go smoothly. Sometimes the road just “disappears,” leaving you hours of back tracking.
This road fell into a 400 foot abyss, forcing vehicles from both directions to turn around. I really thought the Sprinter could make it on the far right, but Stevie wouldn’t let me near it.
On the upside, I’m probably going to live a lot longer with her in my life.
We back tracked and made our way to the Cañon del Pato. The Cañon del Pato is the northern entrance to the Cordillera Blanca mountain range. It was formed by the river where the north end of the Cordillera Negra range (to the west) converges with the Cordillera Blanca mountain range (to the east).
It is a steep, narrow, granite rock canyon that is nothing short of breathtaking.
The road winds along a steep river that has potential for insane kayaking.
I’m talking fully committed all-in class 5 kayaking. If this thing had water in it, the drops would be huge. To give you some perspective, the road is about 200 feet up from the river in this photo.
But, due to this dam at the entrance of the canyon, it doesn’t have water in it. So sad. Nothing hurts me more than to see a river on a leash. Especially when there are so many other alternative energy options.
Anyway, the canyon itself is a spectacular site, but it’s the tunnels that steal the show.
There are 25 to 30 of these hand chiseled tunnels that have been cut into the side of the mountain a good 200-300 feet off the deck.
Since the road is so narrow and the tunnels so long, you’re supposed to tocar your bocina when you drive through, whatever that means…
We were a little nervous in the first few tunnels we went through. I doubt they are built to any specific engineering standards.
I would say this was one of the coolest drives we’ve done in a long time.