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Colca Canyon Tours; Ultimate Travel Guide 2024


The Colca Canyon trek is not easy. The altitude and the steep climb in and out of the canyon make it a challenge. However, it is one of the best things to do in Peru offering stunning views and the chance to see the majestic Andean Condor; one of the largest birds in the world. There are a variety of tours available in Arequipa, but they differ in quality and activities. From one day tours that do not include the Colca Canyon trek to 3 day tours that include two nights inside the canyon.

In this post you can learn all about the Colca Canyon trek and some advice to consider when booking your Colca Canyon tour. “Is the colca canyon trek necessary?”  “How many days do I need for the Colca Canyon trek?”  “Can I do the Colca Canyon trek on my own?” Read this article to answer these and any other questions you may have.

We offer the best Tours and Trekking in 1, 2, 3, or 4 day tours! A great variety of Colca Canyon excursions and tours and hiking for travelling to the the Colca Canyon with fixed daily departures from Arequipa, Chivay, Puno or Cusco, in small groups and tailor made tours from one to four days.

In Arequipa region, the Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world. It is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Colca has an elevation of 3,400m/11,155ft at it’s deepest point.

The Colca Canyon was formed by the erosion of volcanic rock caused by the Colca River. the Colca Valley and Canyon is located in Arequipa city in south Peru in the heart of the Andes.

Private tours to the Colca Canyon are very popular as it is the second deepest canyon in the world. Trekking, adventure, rural or cultural tour are available and you will discover the natural viewpoints of the Colca Canyon.

Private and Group Colca Canyon Tours

The Colca Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru. I’ts beautiful Andean landscapes, condors flight, the impressive giant hummingbird, llamas, vicuñas and alpacas all contribute to its popularity. Find the information related to this natural wonder located in the Peruvian Andes,on the SAM Corporations Peru websties. We offer escorted and organized tours to the Colca Canyon from Arequipa, Chivay, Cusco or Puno.

The Colca is a must-see during your vacation in Peru, famous for epic Andean viewpoints, great hiking, Condor spotting and hot springs.

Adventure, Cultural and Trekking to Colca Canyon starting from Arequipa

  • Departing from Arequipa, the journey to the Colca Valley begins with a drive northeast by Yura, towards the volcanoes Chachani and Misti.
  • After about 2 hours, the bus stop at Pampa Cañahuas for watching wild vicuñas and then at Patahuasi to enjoy a traditional coca tea.
  • The final stop at Patapampa overlook (4,910 meters) where you can watch the mounatins range and take photos of the andean landscape.
  • The private transport arrives to Chivay, where you can taste local lunch.
  • After lunch, embark on a short guided walk through Coporaque, Yanque or Canocota town or take rest for relaxing in the natural hot springs and end the day at your lodge.

Colca Canyon Tour Departure From Arequipa, Puno or Cusco

  • A journey to the Valley usually takes about 3 hours by tourist bus, across the high Andean plateau, reaching a high point of 4800m/15,748ft at the “Mirador de los Volcanes,” which offers fine views of several volcanoes that soar to more than 6,000m/19,685ft.
  • You can find different ways for discovering the Colca Canyon. The tour options offered depends on the kind of service: private or shared. The 2 two day/one night or three 3 day/two night trip visiting: National Reserves, South American camels, (lamas, alpacas, vicugnas) and natural viewpoints.
  • Enjoy our trekking activities inside the canyon with our customized tour itineraries for discovering the Colca.

Tour private and shared tour service:

  • Colca Canyon One-Day Tour
  • Colca Canyon 2 Day/1 NightTour
  • Colca Canyon 3-Day Cabanaconde

Trekking into the Colca Canyon

Trekking in the Colca Canyon is difficult and these itineraries are specially designed for adventure travellers who want to go to the extra mile of the Colca Canyon.

The Trekking paths into the Colca Canyon have been used since the pre-Inca period and are still used today by the local population. Treks can range from 2, 3 or 4 days.

Why should I visit the Colca Canyon?

Because the Colca is the world’s second deepest canyon in the world, slightly shallower than its near neighbor, the Cotahuasi, and twice as deep as the more famous Grand Canyon in the United States. Colca is replete with history, culture, ruins, tradition and customs.

Geography in the Colca Canyon

“Colca” is the name of the canyon, river and valley located in Caylloma province at approximately 100 miles northwest of Arequipa City. The province border Cusco and Puno, two important regions in the southern Andes.

The average distance from the peaks of the mountains to the river is 3,109 meters. This fact makes It one of the world’s deepest canyons. However Cotahuasi Canyon is a few hundred meters deeper.

Colca Canyon Weather

The weather is the typical of the Andes.

Dry Season

  • From May to November

Rainy Season

  • From January to March


  • Daytime highs: 20°C (68°F) Night average: 10°C (50°F)
  • During the day, temperatures vary with the height. The lowest portions of the valley can get quite warm in the dry season, specially on hiking trails.

Altitude Sickness:

  • Here are some things you can do to prevent yourself from getting altitude sickness
  • Gradual acclimatization to altitude is important if you are traveling to high altitude areas Symptoms of “soroche” can include fatigue, headache, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing and insomnia
  • The mountain sickness can progress to high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema, both of which constitute life-threatening medical emergencies
  • Take time to rest much more than usual
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking and eat lightly
  • Make sure you are drinking enough water
  • Coca leaves (tea and chewing) are good for helping you to adapt to the altitude.

The Best Place to See Condors in Peru

Peru’s Colca is not only the second-deepest canyon in the world, but also one of the best destinations in South America for watching Andean Condors.

This is easily accessed by car from the colonial ‘White City’ of Arequipa.

Most visitors book on a tour from Arequipa, a beautiful colonial city with churches built from a white volcanic material called sillar.

While traveling from Arequipa you pass the Aguada Blanca National Vicuña Reserve, where you can see herds of vicuñas.

Also, see viscachas, a native rodent that looks like rabbits. Then we will find the Patapampa Pass and the Mirador de los Volcanes in-route to the Valley.

Chivay is the main village from where we can access to the two sides of the Canyon and is where most tours spend the night.

Colca is fertile and inhabited valley with pre-Columbian terraces and traditional Andean villages.

The Collagua and Cabana peoples who lived here for at least 2000 years, built an ingenious terracing system on the valley.

The smoking Sabancaya Volcano looms at 5976 meters is one of the most active volcanoes in Peru, next to the Sabanacay volcano is the Ampato at 6288 meters, this is where the famous ‘Ice Mummy Juanita was found.

The River Colca descends from 3500 meters in Chivay reaching 2200 meters at Cabanaconde, the small, last village in the canyon.

On road from Chivay to Cabanaconde is located The Mirador Cruz del Condor, the best location to spot the Andean Condor.

The Andean condor is a national symbol not only of Peru, but of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador and plays an important role in the folklore the Andean regions.

Considered the animal of the spirit world according to Incan cosmology. Visitors will be able to see the birds fairly close.

Many people choose to experience a two-day trek. Be prepared, this is for those who love trekking. However, less enthusiastic trekkers can always take a mule ride or take a short trail for accesing to the Oasis in Sangalle.

It doesn’t matter the way you choose to experience it, here you will see some of the most beautiful Andean scenery in the world.

How to visit the Colca Canyon Tours?

The most popular way to visit is on a full-day tour or a 2-3-4 day hike, organised from Arequipa, Puno, Chivay or Cusco. The best way to get from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon, is booking a tour which includes pick up from the hotel in Arequipa.

Most Colca tours start in Arequipa city, but is possible to start in Puno, Cusco or Chivay.

The tours include transport, accommodation, food and a guide.

However, if you’re not a fan of organised day tours and you prefer to travel independently without a tour guide and a group of tourists we can arrange a van and a guide for you personally.

List of hotels in Colca Canyon: Colca Lodge, Belmond Las Casitas del Colca, Pozo del Cielo, Killawasi Lodge, Casa Andina Colca, Kuntur Wassi, La Granja del Colca, Tradicion Colca, La Casa de Mamayacchi, Kollawas Home Inn, Aranwa and Las Casitas del Colca.

Packing List for the Colca Canyon Tours

  • Documentation.
    Bring your original passport. You will need it both to start the Inca Trail Tour and to enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.
  • Day Pack (30L)
    Bring a comfortable daypack with snug straps to wear while you hike. SAM Corporations Peru and most of the companies offer extra porter to carry you things too
  • Reusable water bottle.
    Carry a reusable water bottle in your daypack. Another option is a hydration pack, like a CamelBak, which is a super convenient way to stay hydrated.
  • Clothing.
    Layers, layers, layers. You’ll pass through many different climates along the trail and dressing in layers is important. Pack lightweight pants, short- and long-sleeve shirts, a warm fleece jacket, underwear, and socks. Temperatures really drop at altitude when the sun goes down. To stay warm, thermal undergarments, a warm hat, and gloves are recommended.
  • Footwear.
    Comfortable hiking boots or walking shoes are a must. Also pack shower sandals.
  • Rain gear.
    Be prepared with a rain jacket and pants or poncho. Rainy conditions aren’t to be expected during the dry season, but it’s better to be prepared.
  • Sun protection.
    Pack a hat, strong sunblock, and glasses for protection against the sun.
  • Flashlight.
    Headlamp (with extra batteries) or small flashlight to use at night while camping.
  • Comfort.
    Light-weight travel towel to shower with and a small travel pillow for your sleeping comfort. Some trekkers may prefer to bring walking sticks, they are especially helpful in downhill sections.
  • Toiletries.
    Toothbrush, toothpaste, travel shampoo, tissues, toilet paper, wet wipes, insect repellent with deet, and any personal medications.
  • Snacks.
    You may want to bring extra (or diet specific) high energy snacks, such as some cookies, protein bars, chocolates, or nuts.
  • Money.
    Bring local Peruvian currency (Soles) in your wallet so that you can tip your trekking team.
  • Camera.
    Of course, don’t forget your camera, with extra battery packs and memory cards – No Electricity along the trek.

Gallery Colca Canyon Tours; Ultimate Travel Guide 2024

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