Arequipa to colca canyon; Peru is a unique country full of natural wonders and attractions, that has much more to offer than the Inca site, Machu Picchu. So our trip to the beautiful, old Spanish colonial city of Arequipa with the trip to Colca Canyon became another Highlight of our previous trip! The Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon on earth with a depth of up to 3,400 meters and even deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
How to get to colca canyon?
Our starting point was one of the most
beautiful cities in Peru: Arequipa. Our Hostel was located in the
center, near the Plaza de Armas and after only a few hours we fell in love with
the charming city. The buildings were built almost all in a Spanish style and
the background, you can see snow-capped mountains around.
On the same day, we informed ourselves in
several travel agencies in the center about the various tours to the main
attraction in the area, the Colca Canyon. “If you Arequipa and don’t go to
Colca Canyon, that’s whether you’re in Cusco and don’t visit Machu Picchu.”
There are several different tours to and from
Calco Canyon. From simple day trips by Bus to three – to four-day Colca
Canyon trekking tours in the Canyon itself. Since we had already booked a
permanent accommodation in Arequipa, we decided against a multi-day Tour
and for a one-day Tour by Bus to Colca Canyon. The Tour cost was $ 15 per
person and included the trip, an English Speaking Guide, breakfast and entry to
Trip to colca canyon
The next morning we started by Bus early at
3:30 am. We were picked up at our Hostel and started the tour to Colca Canyon
with a bag of coca leaves, plenty of water and warm blankets, which we received
from our Guide at the entrance to the Bus.
Since we decided to take the one-day bus tour,
it was already clear to us at the beginning that we will be sitting on the Bus
for a very long time on this day. After about four hours of a bumpy ride and at
least some sleep, we reached our first stop in Acoma. Here there was in a small
Restaurant, a standard Peruvian Breakfast of bread and jam, cheese,
butter, juice, coffee, and Coca tea.
After an hour’s bus ride, we visited the small
town of Maca. The city is characterized by its Spanish church and is located
near the volcano Sabancaya.
Continue for another hour in the direction of Cruz
del Condor. The Cruz del Condor was the most distant stop of the Tour and
was also a highlight of the trip. The viewing platform offers an incredible
view of the gorge and is also called the valley of the andean condor. Only here
you can shoot a unique photo of the cruz del condor, which fly almost floating over
the canyon. The viewpoint is a tourist Magnet and at almost any time the
rush is great. Nevertheless, we could get some wonderful pictures of the giant
animals with a wingspan of up to three meters.
Colca canyon tour
As the vantage point was the most distant point
on the day Route Arequipa
To Colca Canyon, our bus journey then slowly declined.
However, the long journey was interrupted every few minutes, as several stops
with viewpoints were inserted. So we saw not only the Incan terraces and
the Colca Canyon river. We were also allowed to taste a cactus fruit and
enjoy the view of the breathtaking Valley. The countryside with its many
terraces and mountains reminded us of Bali.
At lunchtime, we arrived in the small town of
Chivay. It was possible to have lunch in buffet form for 20 Peruvian Sol. The
Buffet was very rich and from Appetizer to Dessert, everything was there. Only
drinks had to be paid additionally. But because we had to eat provisions here
and in the 30 minutes something the city is explored, we decided against the
Near Chivay is the small town in Calera. There
are the Hot Springs, so hot springs. In the middle of nature, you can enjoy a
total of three pools both a pleasant water temperature of 38 degrees and a
wonderful view. Tips: The entrance to the thermal baths is not included in the
tour price, but only cost 15 Peruvian Sol, which is equivalent to about 4
euros. A good hour you could stay here and recover from the Tour a bit.
On the way back, a stop was also placed at the
highest point of the route, in Patapampa at an colca canyon altitude of 4,910
meters. Here, the thin air was felt and the breathing was heavier. From here we
had a fantastic view of three volcanoes. The middle of the volcanoes with the
name “Sabancaya” is currently active (August 2019). With some luck,
you can see there an Eruption and black rising smoke. We were lucky and were
able to observe two minor eruptions with our own eyes after only a few
minutes-an an indescribable experience!
Our last stop was in Submay. Here we observed
several flocks with (Baby)alpacas and Lamas and were able to shoot one or the other
picture of them. From this point on, the Bus went back to Arequipa for a good
Finally, we arrived very tiredly and happy at
about 18:30 clock again in our Hostel. The bus ride was very long, but the
landscape of Peru compensates a lot and makes even a total of almost 12-hour
bus ride a real experience.
Colca canyon trek
We can answer this question with
“yes”. Even though we did only take a one-day Tour to Colca Canyon by
Bus, and in a short time we were able to marvel at the various stations, we
were completely overwhelmed by nature. In our opinion, the city of Arequipa
should not be missed on any trip to Peru. Arequipa to colca canyon is
once again another Highlight that you will not forget so quickly and is one of
Peru’s top attractions!
If you have enough time, you should plan
several days for the Colca Canyon. To experience the gorge and the
nature-intensive is worth the hike through the mountains on our way to Cabanaconde.
For the two – to three-day Trekking Tour, however, you should only
decide, if you are not a hiking Amateur.
The walks extend to more than 1000 meters
difference in altitude. It is also worth booking the Tour on-site in Arequipa!
The prices are here with the same offer a lot cheaper compared to all internet
After our flight over the Nazca Lines, we drove
on the same evening with a night bus to Arequipa. The ride was very winding,
the road was bad and so for those with a sensitive stomach very exhausting. We
thought about going straight to the canyon but rejected this plan to give us a
break. At the terminal, we briefly planned and informed us about tours to the
Colca Canyon. Surprisingly, these were very cheap, so we booked a tour directly
in the terminal.
From the terminal, we drove with two taxis to
Peru, like most countries in South America, has
experienced a tremendous rural exodus. The growth within the cities focused
mostly but only on the capital. While Lima has 10 million inhabitants,
Arequipa, Peru’s second-largest city, has just under 1 million inhabitants.
Arequipa is at 2400 meters.
The Chachani volcano, with a height of 6057 meters, borders directly on
the city. Around Arequipa, there are several volcanoes. In 1784 the Misti broke
out and caused great damage in Arequipa. The city has recovered from this and
was quickly rebuilt. In Arequipa, there are many colonial buildings, which
contribute to make Arequipa the most beautiful city in South America.
Arequipa what to do
We visited the historic center of Arequipa
again with a free walking tour. At the main square is the cathedral. To make
the church seem larger, it was not built frontally but laterally to the main
square. The entrance is thus on the side.
Our guide shared general information about
Peru, such as the country’s geography, and much about Arequipa. The city is
surrounded by volcanoes and is located in an earthquake area. The conditions
are therefore not optimal, but Arequipa has developed into the second-largest
city in Peru.
Arequipa to colca canyon
While Lima is considered the largest and most modern city in Peru and Cusco is the capital of the Inca culture, Arequipa combines both. During the tour, for example, we stopped at a church at the front of which Christian and indigenous symbols were used. This mixture should help the local population to win Christianity. Many other Christian representations were also adapted to the local culture. For example, at the last supper, Jesus and his disciples feed guinea pigs, which is considered a delicacy in Peru and eaten at celebrations. At the end of the tour, we were able to taste Chicha, an indigenous corn beer.
In addition to the guided tour, we explored the
city alone and stopped at several churches and the Santa Catalina Monastery.
This looks more like a fortress from the outside. Unfortunately, we missed the
time for a visit, because of the size you should plan for half a day.
Colca canyon trip
Arequipa to colca canyon:
In Arequipa, we spent only one day. On the second day, we started our tour in
the Colca Canyon early in the morning. We were picked up at 3 am at the hostel
and drove towards Colca Canyon. We had to cross the volcano area. This made
itself felt especially by the enormous difference in altitude sickness to
Arequipa. The highest point was 4900 meters and the whole area was covered with
snow and ice. For these temperatures, we had not prepared, but we drove down to
the Colca Canyon again over 2000 meters and the temperature rose again. The
Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world, twice as deep as
the Grand Canyon.
From Cabanaconde we started the descent into
the canyon. We had great views of nature. For lunch, it was the first time traditional
Aplaca meat. In the descent, we passed several small villages until we finally
arrived in San Galle in our accommodation. The small village is located deep
down in the canyon right on the river. We enjoyed a cool refreshment in the
pool of our accommodation and had dinner. The next morning started again early
and we started the ascent without breakfast. Breakfast was waiting for us. We
left before sunrise. It was a strenuous but very nice climb.