If there is one thing I love then it is travelling off the beaten path to places that usually only locals know about. The black waterfall of Yura Arequipa is such a place and it is so remote that the only way to reach it is by trekking through a river bed.

When my Peruvian friends told me about this trek I could hardly find any information about it on the internet. I even went to local tour agencies to ask if they offered tours there, but all of them said no and that it was too dangerous. At that point I had lived in Arequipa for a few months, knew some Spanish, and I thought that if locals go to this waterfall all the time, it can’t be that dangerous. My friends and I decided that it would be a nice little adventure, so we hopped on a small collectivo bus in Arequipa and jumped off 1.5 hours later in the small town of Yura. We asked some locals how to get to the waterfall and they told us to go right after the playground and then just follow the path. It sounded easy enough and so off we went. The locals were right and the path was clearly marked. We walked past some Star Wars - like scenery for about an hour before the scenery changed and everything became more green. yura arequipa mountains yura arequipa tammy yura arequipa path on mountainAfter a while we came across a little stream and saw a waterfall. I thought that was it, but it turned out that there are in fact three waterfalls along the way, but to get to the black waterfall we had to hike through the canyon river. That little stream I admired earlier actually turns into a raging river after it rains and dangerous flash floods are not uncommon. After a bit of apprehension and seeing a few locals heading the same direction we decided to follow suit, and I am so glad we did. Yura arequipa path

yura arequipa

Reaching the first waterfall

The scenery in the canyon was unreal and reminded me of something out of Jurassic Park. Moss-covered canyon walls, surreal plants, and a river bearing new surprises after every corner - it was incredible. At first I had my shoes off as I figured that it would be nice and refreshing to wade through the cool water. The stones in the water were fairly sharp though and I couldn’t really balance myself very well not being able to tread wherever I wanted to, so I decided to put my trusted boots back on. I have trekked in wet boots in jungles plenty of times before, and while it is a bit horrible at first you soon get used to it.

yura arequipa waterfall and tammy

The second waterfall and me wading through the canyon river

yura arequipa trek through river

Left: That’s how you confidently walk through a canyon river. Right: That’s how you don’t!

yura arequipa riveryura arequipa river canyon yura arequipa trekking through river After about 30 minutes of trekking through the river we finally made it to the magnificent black waterfall of Yura Arequipa. I have never seen anything like it. The water of course is not black, but it seems like it as the stone behind the waterfall is black. It would have been the perfect backdrop to an episode of Lord of the Rings, that’s how surreal it looked. Some locals were brave enough to shower under the waterfall, but you could tell they were struggling to keep under it for very long due to its sheer power and the freezing cold water.

yura arequipa black waterfall

After following the river for a while you can finally see the incredible black waterfall

yura arequipa men under waterfall The black waterfall of Yura is a beautiful spot and the adventurous trek through the canyon makes it even more appealing. I felt like Indiana Jones at times, and thoroughly enjoyed the fact there were only a handful of people there. If you like off the beaten track adventures, then you should head to Yura while you are in Arequipa.

Useful tips:

  • Getting there: Take a collectivo from Puente Grau in Arequipa marked Yura. The journey lasts 1.5 hours and costs about 1.50 Soles.
  • Finding the walking trail: When you get off in Yura walk down the street until you see a playground on the right hand side. Immediately after the playground turn right. It doesn’t look like a path at first, but it soon turns into one.
  • Length of the trek: It takes about 2-3 hours to get to the waterfall, depending on how fast you walk.
  • Shoes: Water sandals are ideal for the river section, so bring some if you don’t want to walk barefoot or get your shoes wet.
  • Hot springs: If you arrive back to Yura by lunch time you can have a dip in one of the many hot springs in the area, before heading back to Arequipa in the evening.

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About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

13 Thoughts on “Trekking to the Black Waterfall of Yura

  1. What Stunning images!! I love exploring off the beaten path places during our travels, this hike sounds wonderful..Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Great post! We are huge waterfall chasing fans. Thanks for sharing.
    Mike recently posted…How to see the British Museum in an HourMy Profile

  3. Haha when I was looking through the first set of pictures I thought of Jurassic Park too!
    Diana recently posted…A Garden, a Historic Village, and A Japanese Central Park (Day 4 of 2014 Japan Tour)My Profile

  4. Appreciating each bit of it! In this incredible blog, you have make some extraordinary substance and contains truly facts.

  5. Fantastic pictures!!
    Great post and site! Glad we came across it through instagram 🙂
    One Modern Couple recently posted…Published in ParadiseMy Profile

  6. Looks like a lot of fun! I would love to go some time.
    Fabiana recently posted…Places to Visit in London’s Notting HillMy Profile

  7. This trek is really picturesque and amazing, Tammy! Did you need a guide or the trek is really well marked that you can do it by yourself?

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