For people who enjoy backpacking in the mountains and beautiful hot springs, this is the ideal multi-day trek. You'll have a local guide who will help you discover Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, with stunning views of the Andes.

Highlights

  • Explore Peru's famous Colca Canyon in four days
  • Trek through high-altitude mountain landscapes
  • Swim in the natural pools in Sangalle deep in the canyon
  • Catch sight of high-flying condors and other wildlife
  • Taste local cuisine in the towns of Chivay and Cabanaconde 
  • Visit Llahuar, a typical village of Andean farmers that live in the canyon

Overview

On this 4-day trek, discover a canyon filled with rivers, verdant forests, and an ancient agricultural tradition. You'll visit villages and farms located at an elevation of 2,800 meters in the impressive rock canyon of the Colca. During the trek, you'll have the chance to interact with friendly Andean farmers and taste the typical foods of the region. Enjoy afternoon swims in natural pools and waterfalls before camping overnight in tents in beautiful natural campsites.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Lima

Lima's Plaza Mayor

¡Bienvenidos! Welcome to Lima, Peru's largest city and central metropolitan hub, and home to one-third of the country's population. Located at the site of a pre-Columbian indigenous Ychsma settlement, which was conquered by the Inca empire in the 15th century and later by the Spanish conquistadores, Lima has a fascinating history and a diverse mix of cultures. Amerindian, European, Afro-Peruvian, and Asian—especially Chinese and Japanese—influences make Lima a dynamic and exciting city to explore. 

Lima's breezy location on the Pacific Ocean and mild desert climate make it the perfect city for exploring on foot. Head downtown to mingle with locals, stretch your legs, and grab a bite to eat in one of the many award-winning restaurants. 

Suggested activities include

  • Explore the historic center of Lima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site packed with fascinating Spanish architecture. Start with a scenic tour of the colonial downtown, which emanates from the main square. Stroll over to the 16th-century Cathedral, which took 80 years to construct and was built in the grandiose style of the Spanish Empire. 

  • Visit the Casa Aliaga, a colonial mansion granted by chief conquistador Francisco Pizarro to Jerónimo de Aliaga, one of his captains, in 1535. This is the only house from that era that still belongs to the same family. 

  • Stroll around the Pueblo Libre district to the privately owned Larco Museum of pre-Columbian art, housed in a beautifully restored viceregal mansion built over a 7th-century pre-Columbian pyramid. The museum boasts a vast pre-Colonial collection of gold and silver artifacts, as well as pieces of erotic art.

  • In the evening, head to the eclectic "Love Park" in the upscale coastal district of Miraflores, where you can admire a huge kissing statue and beautiful mosaic walls.  The park is built on the cliffs of Chorrillos and is a perfect place to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Pacific. 

  • Enjoy a nightcap at an open-air cafe or restaurant in the diverse Miraflores neighborhood.

Day 2: Arrival in Arequipa & Arequipa City Tour

Arequipa's Plaza de Armas

This morning you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Arequipa. Upon arrival in Arequipa, you will be greeted and taken to your hotel to settle in.

In the afternoon, you will start your city tour with an escape to the past, walking through the Monastery Santa Catalina. Then continue the visit toward to the Compañia Church, famous because of its incredible Baroque style and the colorful Cupula of Saint Ignacio. Then head to Arequipa’s Main Square, visiting its peculiar Cathedral with their Neo-renaissance style. After, head towards the traditional district of Yanahuara, with its beautiful plaza and views of the volcanoes Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. 

After your tour, head back to your hotel in Arequipa for the evening.

Day 3: Arequipa - Chivay - Cabanaconde - Llahuar

Colca canyon
Condors flying over Colca Canyon

This morning, get an early start for your scenic drive to Condor Cross. You'll have the chance to take a break and walk to a viewpoint to see condors in flight. You'll continue driving for a couple of hours as you take in views of the canyon on your way to Cabanaconde. From the mountain town of Cabanaconde, you will begin your Colca Canyon trek at the trailhead.

After a 5-hour trek, you will arrive at Llahuar, a typical village perched at 2,100 meters. In the afternoon, relax in the village's thermal baths, or take advantage of the surrounding alpine lakes and go fishing at sunset. After dinner, rest in camping tents.

Day 4: Llahuar - Fure

Colca Canyon
Terraces leading down into the Colca Canyon

After breakfast, you'll begin a 4-hour trek towards Fure where you'll pass by the small town of Llatica. Once you arrive at Fure (2,800 m), you'll stop for lunch. In the afternoon, it's another 2.5 hours of hiking to the base of the Oruro waterfalls. This is a great place for photos and a quick rest. After dinner, you'll spend the night in camping tents.

Day 5: Fure - Sangalle (Oasis)

Oasis Sangalle in the Colca Canyon
Oasis Sangalle in the Colca Canyon

After breakfast, you'll begin a trek to Sangalle, known as "the Oasis". Along the way, you'll have the chance to stop and look at the local plants with your guide and learn more about Andean vegetation. You'll arrive at Sangalle, a place built by a small community of Andean farmers, to have lunch.

After lunch, enjoy a refreshing dip in the natural swimming pools. The temperature in the pools is around 18ºC. After a relaxing afternoon, take a walk at sunset while dinner is prepared for you. Camp overnight in tents to experience Andean mountain life.

Day 6: Sangalle - Cabanaconde - Cruz Del Condor - Chivay - Arequipa

A traditional hotel in Chivay
A traditional hotel in Chivay

Today, you'll leave very early from Sangalle at 5:00 am to start your ascent to Cabanaconde. Today is your most challenging day of hiking because you'll be following a steep path that takes approximately 3 hours to climb. Once you reach the lookout mountain peak, begin walking down a steep trail that leads you to the town of Cabanaconde.

After a satisfying meal in Cabanaconde, board the bus to return to Chivay for lunch. After lunch, depart for Arequipa. Upon arrival in Arequipa, check in to your hotel for some well-deserved rest. 

Day 7: Departing Peru

Evening view of Arequipa's Plaza de Armas

This morning, transfer to the Arequipa airport for your flight back to Lima, and transfer to your homeward-bound international flight. ¡Buen viaje! 

Map

Map of Colca Canyon Trek
Map of Colca Canyon Trek

Recent Trip Reviews

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Tarin

Colca canyon trek - 4 days, Peru - Jul 4 - Jul 9, 2018

Traveler: Tarin F. - Local specialist: Clara Gies

The tours themselves were not bad but the specialist Clara should be avoided at all costs. Slow to respond, repeatedly failed to answer questions (or gave me incorrect information), and provided misleading descriptions (ex. My 2 day "kayak trip" was about an hour alone in a kayak with a guide and no group before being dropped off to travel by motorboat the entire trip). She sent me a list of things I'd need a long time after I'd left home, 2 days before the trek, so I couldn't get any of them. Please, please do not book with Clara.