The Colca Valley is a destination that combines the wealth of natural settings, villages and people of ancestral customs, hot springs sources and excellent scenarios for adventure sports such as rafting and kayaking, mountain biking, mountaineering, trekking, horseback riding and for the observation of Andean birds. The visit to the Colca Valley, combined with the Colca Canyon, is the most popular excursion from Arequipa. The Colca Canyon is located in the northeastern end of the Arequipa Region, province of Caylloma, 165 kilometers from Arequipa and 40 km from Chivay main town and capital of the province of Caylloma. The highest point of the Valley is the inactive Ampato volcano (6288 masl), and the lowest is the confluence of the Colca and Andamayo rivers (970 masl). The Colca Valley is 100 km long and occupies only one sector of the Colca River basin, between the districts of Callalli and Huambo. The route to the Colca crosses the slopes of Chachani and crosses plains full of ichu and yareta, samples of the Andean vegetation. In these places also live alpacas and vizcachas, which are beautiful camelids typical of the area.The valley of the Colca possesses an unparalleled beauty, in the valley archeological legacies of the Collaguas, ancient inhabitants of the region, bucolic colonial towns of living culture, mysterious petroglyphs, caves where pre-Hispanic colcas and terraces in the which is currently planted.
Day 01: Colca Canyon
Day 02: Colca Canyon Trek - Arequipa
The Colca Valley, also called the Valley of the Collaguas, in honor of its inhabitants the Collaguas, who dominated these lands from pre-Inca times, famous for being accomplished artists in textiles and stone sculptures, during the colonial period they worked as masons and " hayllis "music composers. The current native residents of this valley are heirs of the ancient trades and traditions of the Collaguas. It is of special interest and beauty its colorful clothing, which stands out in its parties. The Collaguas and later the Incas, built large deposits of food and grains called colcas, for which the valley also takes its name. Colcas built in stone and because of their geographical location had the property of refrigeration and conservation of food. Many of these colcas can be visited and one of the most impressive to visit is the Colum Pumunuta, which is located in a frozen cave. Throughout this region stands out and impresses the beauty of the landscape that form the platforms, which are the banks of earth in stepped form along the mountains used for planting, some with artificial irrigation and others by effects of rains , technique used by the Incas, and which are currently maintained and are in full production, there are more than 60 thousand hectares of pre-Hispanic terraces. From here you can also appreciate the volcanoes and snowcapped Ampato 6,310 m.a.s.l, Coropuna 6,425 m.a.s.l, Solimana 6,117 m.a.s.l, and the Huallahualca 5,025 m.a.s.l. among others. From Pinchollo the route of the geysers and thermal baths. The valley, being in a volcanic geographical area, has a large number of hot springs, in the villages of the valley and some hotels in the area have thermal baths for visitors. Archaeological sites in the Colca Valley:
This first day we will see: the "Cross of the Condor" the road passes to the edge of the canyon. Then down the Colca River to a depth of 1,200 meters while the wall of the front, reaches 3,100 meters high on whose summits are seen the perpetual ice and below the condors fly majestically. Experiences of previous visitors indicate that the panorama that is observed from there is "spectacular".Another important point of our visit is The Viewer of the cross of the Condor, is a privileged place to observe the depth of the canyon, the vegetation and above all, the flight of the condors, the true king of the entire area of the Colca Canyon. In addition, in the distance you can see the Coropuna and Ampato volcanoes, which add beauty to the natural landscape. Without a doubt, from the Viewer can take some of the most beautiful photographs.
This second day we will visit the most important site of our tour: The Colca Canyon, known and recognized for being the Canyon of the deepest on earth, formed by the river of the same name and by the practice, in recent years, of adventure sports, such as canoeing and paragliding. There are 14 stepped villages along the valley, full of life and color.
When it comes to preparing a trip to the Colca Valley in Peru, it is necessary to take into consideration the clothes you will use in this area. To know what type of clothing is the most appropriate, you should keep in mind the characteristic climate of this area of Arequipa, characterized by being similar to that of the Andean areas. In general, a mild or cold climate is experienced throughout the year, depending on the season. However, it has 2 quite marked periods that are between April and November and then between December and March.
Between the months of April and November the temperature in the day ranges between 15 and 20 ° C, while at night the temperature drops to 0 °C. Here the most recommended is to bring light clothes for the day and jackets or jackets for the cold night, as well as sunscreen and hat.
For the months that go from December to March, the changes of temperature are not so strong, because the present cloudiness prevents the penetration of the rays of the sun, reason why the temperatures oscillate between 5 and 10 °C. These are months of heavy rain in the Colca Valley, so it is recommended to use thermal and waterproof clothing. Also include sports shoes.
Travel time from Arequipa to Chivay takes approximately 3 hours by bus.
Chivay is the main point of arrival, the place has amenities such as restaurants, hotels, hostels, etc. Place where you have connections with different towns, and you can also plan your stay more to visit other sites that you might not have planned to visit.
You can buy a ticket to Cabanaconde, if you do not plan to get off at Chivay, or if you want to do the trekking on your own. See schedules and departure of buses here. The travel distance from Arequipa to Chivay is 164 Km and 3 hours approx. And the distance from Arequipa to Cabanaconde is 220km. with an average of 5 hours of travel by local bus, where the trekking routes begin. Cabanaconde offers lodgings, hostels and restaurants in smaller proportion, but it is possible to find a place to stay.
The culinary art in the Colca is varied but its main characteristic is the high seasoning and spicy, if it is vegetarian there are restaurants in the Colca specialized in vegetable food, with elements of the place, national and international.
The Colca Canyon offers the adventurer a rugged geography with beautiful landscapes, real challenges, which will make this place the exclusive space for adventure, excitement, and adrenaline. Being able to take walks, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing, walk with burning llamas, observation of flora and fauna, observe geyser, waterfalls, visit prehistoric areas and archaeological sites.
Wear light clothes during the day, but at night wear a jacket because it increases the cold, if your visit is scheduled for the months of December to March, it is advisable to bring thermal and rainwear for the rainy season, sports shoes, a good sunscreen and hat.
The best season to visit the Colca are the months of April and May. Why? These are the months when the rains are no longer so persistent, and are the months when the greenery of the landscapes becomes more attractive. You can visit during the rest of the year taking the weather recommendations in the area.
To start the walk is from the village of Cabanaconde, where the beginning of all treks (trekkings) to the Colca Canyon.
If you go on hikes, wear a hat, comfortable shoes, jacket because there are usually strong wind currents and small trunks, a sleeping bag for the night, pack what is necessary in case of long walks; Since carrying many things can be too heavy and uncomfortable, worry about bringing food, drinks and tent if you are not accompanied by a guide.
If you have any type of problem in your health, do not hesitate to notify the guide or take precautions. In case you have altitude sickness (soroche), it is very easy to avoid it, just rest and relax the first day of your stay.
The official currency of Peru is Nuevo Sol (S /.). The US dollar is accepted in most accommodations, stores and restaurants according to the exchange rate that prevails during the day (Soles per dollars). The euros have acceptance in some establishments. It is advisable that you pay in national currency.
Most tourist establishments accept credit cards. The main cities of Peru have ATMs that accept different types of card, being the most accepted credit cards American Express, VISA, Diners and Mast