Most people who visit Peru will visit the Colca Canyon to see the Condors, I’m not sure however how many people venture down into the bottom of the Canyon to the Sangalle Oasis, something that if you don’t mind a hike and roughing it for a bit is well worth it.
You can get to the Oasis from the small town of Cabanaconde, take a short bus ride there after you’ve finished watching the Condors from the popular viewing point. We ate at an early lunch at the ‘Villar Pasta’ which seemed to be the only place in Cabanaconde before following local directions to find the path down to the Oasis. Head past the Hostal Valle del Fuego from the Plaza to find the trail, its is pretty easy to find, starting off through fields (this is probably the point where you could go wrong so might be a good idea to ask a passing worker) the trail then starts its winding descent don’t the canyon side.
The walk down into the foot of the Canyon descends 1,300 metres and takes about 2 hours, it seems to go on for ever, the Oasis is in constant view for much of the trail tormenting you as you descend. The Oasis itself is really lovely and a huge contrast to the dry dusty and rocky landscape of the surrounding valley. Green grass, a huge array of pretty flowers and palm trees and a swimming pool set between two huge rocks. It’s perfect for relaxing by the pool with a good book.
Accommodation consists of thatched roof adobe huts alongside the river, our hut had an extremely saggy bed that one morning we found we had been sharing with a scorpion! Facilities are pretty basic, no electricity and you have to cook over a wood fire, whilst we where there some guys bought a sheep of the oasis owner for $20 and slaughtered for dinner. You can pay Sebastian to make you a meal, we took some dried pasta and noodles with us.
Getting back is obviously a lot harder than the descent, we made the climb amid rain thunder and lighting, quite an experience, about 3/4 of the way up we saw 3 condors gliding around, we reached the hostel in Cabanaconde 3 1/2 hours later.
A stay at Sangalle Oasis will cost S/20 a night (about $3 or $4) and is well worth it.