When visiting the distrito de Kumpirushiato, it feels like you are entering another world. Nestled in between Echarati and Kimbiri, this area of La Convención is an adventure to get to. The road is closed by the Peruvian military, which only allows users to leave Quillabamba in the dead of night. These vampire hours only add to the adrenaline when hitting the roads at high speeds. Guided only by the moonlight, our vehicle barreled down the winding road as the jungle foliage zips by.

It takes about 6 hours to reach Kumpirushiato from Quillabamba, but the long drive is well worth the sacrifice. This is one of the most pristine parts of the Peruvian high jungle, and it’s only recently been opened up to the rest of Peru. Kumpirushiato was just recognized by Peru’s congress on December 9th, 2020, so this area has only had a municipality for 3 years. What was once only governed by native communities finally gets to become a part of the national corruption, so it’s an interesting transformation to become a part of.

While the pros and cons of Kumpirushiato joining Peru’s government structure are never-ending, there’s no denying that it has potential. This once-forgotten piece of the selva has gorgeous waterfalls, canyons, native communities, and cacao plantations. Its natural beauty is enchanting, and its native communities such as the Comunidad Nativa de Shimaa provide a glimpse into cultures that are quickly getting erased by modernization. All of this is just a mountain climb away from VRAEM, the most militarized part of Peru that’s infamous for Narcoterrorism and rampant cocaine production. 

It’s an interesting contrast to experience since these dualities are what make Kumpirushiato such a unique place to visit. The area was opened up to tourists in the last year, and they are hitting the ground running. Emissaries of the newly founded municipality are promoting tours in Quillabamba and Cusco with surprisingly well-filmed promos of their delightful lineup of waterfalls and activities. We were lucky enough to hop on the first official tour they hosted this year, so get ready to explore Peru’s newly opened jungle adventure!

Top Places to Visit Around Kumpirushiato

Attraction #1: Catarata Ozonampiato – After reaching Kumpirushiato, our first stop was the poblado de Kepashiato. This native community is nestled right off the main road going to Cielo Punco, the entry point into VRAEM. After going about 12 minutes outside the community, we hiked into the jungle down to the waterfall. The path was bustling with exotic insects and lined with fruit trees, which made getting through feel like a mystical experience.

It was well worth the excursion since we were greeted by the Catarata Ozonampiato. This majestic waterfall is over 10 meters tall and fills a basin that looks like it was carved by the gods. A few of the people in our group decided to get in the water, and pretty soon almost everyone joined in. Given the fact that the jungle sun was taking no prisoners, it was too hot for us to refuse. As its water cascaded over us, it was impossible not to feel orgullosos de ser peruanos. Peru is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, and it was an honor to be one of the first groups of outsiders to visit the Catarata Ozonampiato.

Attraction #2: Cañon de Garganta del Diablo – After spending the night in the Comunidad Nativa de Shimaa, it was time to hit the road. This took us even deeper into the jungle to the Sector Siangiveni in Cielo Punku. Despite being in the middle of the selva, this area is 1,350 meters above sea level. This unique location allows Mother Nature to bless visitors with the best of both worlds. Boasting an incredible amount of wildlife and exotic animals, this mountainous part of the jungle sets the stage for countless waterfalls.

Even though the cataratas were tempting, we were on the hunt for the canyon. After hiking down from the highway, our caravan was in the Garganta del Diablo. This rebellious canyon was carved by torrential rains that can only be found in the jungle. In some parts, the walls are 50 meters tall, which creates an enchanting labyrinth that seduces only the most valiant travelers to explore. It’s nestled in between the native communities of Manitinquiari and Andoshiari, which makes it the border between the two tribes. To make it even more hypnotic, the entire canyon was lined with tiny waterfalls. They provided just enough water to create a fine mist that drifted down and made us feel like we were in a different world. Photos don’t do it justice, so come experience it for yourself!

Attraction #3: Tinajas del Amor – The final attraction on the Ruta Agroturística de Cielo Punko was the Tinajas del Amor. Like the Garganta del Diablo, these swimming pools were carved out by hundreds of years of thunderous jungle rains. Against all odds, the water eroded perfectly formed pools in the massive granite rocks. Given their strategic position, the tinajas arguably couldn’t have been planned better. Even with intervention by humans. 

The Tinajas del Amor is yet another masterpiece that the Pachamama has blessed the Peruvian jungle with. By this time, it was late in the afternoon. The heat was reaching hellish crescendos, so the only logical next step was bathing in the tinajas. In contrast to the surrounding selva, the water was invigoratingly cold. These rivers flow down from glaciers nestled up the Andes and make their way down to the jungle. Bathing in these waters gives you access to the eternal power of the apus, so indulge in this gift of the gods!