GPS Track Details
Difficulty: 4/5 - Hard
Track length: 9.42 Kilometers
Total Ascent: 310 Meters
Total Descent: 708 Meters

E-8. Lambanuma pass - Cerro Sananangui - Vilcabamba

Distance         9.4 km

Time               4.0 hours

Altitude          1530m - 2270m

Ascent            335m

Descent          735m

Rating             Hard 4/5 (Difficult passages)

Start               Lambanuma pass 1990m (pass on the Yangana road)

End                 Tourist office Vilcabamba


Cerro Sananagui, 2270m, offers in my humble opinion the most rewarding viewpoint in the whole of the Vilcabamba valley, exceeding Cerro Mandango-views by far.  360° views on Vilcabamba, San Pedro de Vilcabamba and Malacatos to the north, PN Podocarpus to the east, Piscopamba valley and the distant road to Valladolid to the south, and Filo de Taranza, Cerro Mandango, Cerro Colambo and the several ranges of the Cordillera Occidental to the west-northwest, reward the hiker.

An interesting approach to Cerro Sananangui is from the Lambanuma pass to the south west, on the Vilcabamba-Yangana highway. I would put this hike to my favorite-list, if it weren’t for a couple of really difficult passages on the otherwise nice and rewarding trail.

Hiking-directions: Get any bus going south from Vilcabamba, or a pick up taxi (ca. $3.-) and get off at the highest point of the Lambanuma pass, where you see the big, green street sign, “Bienvenidos a Vilcabamba”. (See photo N° 01). Right across the street, you find a big metal gate. Sneak past the gate between the concrete pillar of the gate and the rock wall on the right. 100 meters uphill, in front of the farmhouse, turn right and follow the wide trail, passing a barbed wire fence. After about 10 minutes along this trail, which parallels the highway below, switch back onto the ridge and follow the well defined trail. Always staying near the ridge, you pass a small antenna with a couple of white dishes, about half an hour after your start on the Highway. Just 15 minutes after the antenna, there is a pointed rock wall apparently blocking your trail. Here you have to overcome the biggest obstacle on the whole trip, which is a natural trench you have to cross, without finding any convenient spot to do so. So I had to leap about 5 feet (see the detail on photo N° 07) over the trench, in order to get onto the trail on the other side. What follows is a short scramble up and around this pinnacle Rock. Once you have overcome this obstacles, the going is much easier. In places the trail crosses through dense bushes, but where a cow can pass, it shouldn’t be a problem for a human being. About 25 minutes after the big obstacle, the distinct trail veers away from the ridge to the left, which is easier to follow than the bushy ridge. When you come to the spot right below the prominent group of Pine trees on the ridge top, scramble up through the pasture to this Pines. Now continue on the ridge all the way up to the geological marker and top of Cerro Sanangui.

In order to descend to Yasanga and Vilcabamba, retrace again to the group Pine trees and cross onto the ridge which descends in a northwesterly direction. This ridge ends at a fenced coral, where you have to sneak through a hole in the wire fence. Follow the trail to your left. It contours around a ravine and eventually meets the Yasanga road. From here, just following your nose, you’ll reach town in about an hour.


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