The sophisticated town of Arequipa will welcome you, wine you and dine you. Its pearl-coloured rock will fascinate you and the originality of its cuisine will stimulate your appetite – even at 2,400 meters (7,874 feet). Discover the world of Alpaca fiber and talented yarn-weavers. Dive into the world of the Andes, where time seems to stand still. The world’s second-deepest canyon, Colca, is a surprise for all visitors to Peru. Chivay, Cabanaconde, and Yanque will evoke a deep appreciation of how these communities live life at very high altitudes. Panoramic views, sacred mountains, and grand terraces are few of the surprises that will impress you in the land of the Andean condor.
DAY 1. La Ciudad Blanca (The White City)
Welcome to the colonial and refined city of Arequipa. Today is a day to acclimatise before heading into the Andes. After a briefing at your hotel about the tour, we take a trip to one of the most important religious monuments in Peru: the Santa Catalina Monastery. Practically a citadel, the Monastery was founded in 1580. In colonial times, it was used to receive nuns from the wealthiest Spanish families. Our local guide will share with you some intriguing stories about the lifestyle of the nuns of that time.
Lunch in Arequipa, opportunity to taste some typical arequipeños dishes.
Next, we head to a sillar “workshop” (a demonstration and overview of working with the pearl-coloured volcanic rock that gives Arequipa its nickname, the White City). We then continue our tour with a visit to the Alpaca Museum. (Alpaca are South American cameloids from which we get one of the finest fibres in the world, very similar to cashmere.) Here, we can see how alpaca fibre is traditionally woven–a method still alive and well even today.
The day continues with a cuisine demonstration of some typical arequipeños dishes, where you can show off your cooking talent and even learn a few new skills!
Later, you are free to wander about the city centre and do some shopping. This is, in fact, a good opportunity to buy some alpaca garments, considering the fact that Arequipa is the centre of alpaca yarn production in Peru– and the world! (More than 80% of the world’s alpaca yarn is produced here.) There is a wide variety of shops from which to choose and we will be more than happy to advise you on where to buy your alpaca garments.
Have your camera ready to go, as you will be marveled with the spectacular view of the Plaza de Armas (the main square) in the evening. Take time to enjoy the beautiful lights and sights of the Plaza de Armas, as well as the bars and many fine restaurants that populate Arequipa’s downtown.
Day 2. Colca Canyon – Chivay – Cabanaconde
After breakfast, we set off to the Colca Canyon (3,191 meters, 10,460 feet), the second deepest canyon in the world (twice the depth of the Grand Canyon in the U.S.). On the trip (around four hours in length), we drive across Pampa Cañahuas in the Aguada Blanca National Reserve, inhabited by vicuña and alpaca. We also see lakes, altiplano birds, and herds of alpaca. The view will take your breath away – metaphorically and actually, because of the altitude. Before descending to Chivay (the provincial capital of the canyon), we pass, in fact, one of the highest points on our tour at 4,830 meters above sea level (approximately 15,800 feet!). We are here at the Mirador de los Volcanes (Viewpoint of the Volcanoes), from which one can see the Arequipa volcano chain: Hualcahualca, Sabancaya, and Ampato (all above 6,000 meters–about 20,000 feet in height).
In Chivay,we will have a taste of Andean cuisine: quinoa, alpaca, and mazamorra.
Next, we continue our trip to Cabanaconde; along the way we see striking landscapes and some of the deepest spots of the canyon. After arrival and transfer to the hotel, we explore two stunning viewpoints along the rim of the Colca Canyon from where you can spot the Oasis de Sangalle – a rather famous location where trekkers begin their descent into the valley. A bit later, we stop to visit some local artisans, to watch how they make their traditional clothes. At night, it’s time for some delicious Andean food and a private traditional music performance.
Overnight in Cabanaconde in a very comfortable 3 – star hotel.
DAY 3. Cruz del Condor – Arequipa
After an early breakfast, we depart to “Cruz del Condor” (Condor´s Cross) and – considering the fact that Cabanaconde is just 15 minutes away – we will in all likelihood avoid the crowd of visitors coming from Chivay and Arequipa! Then, with just a little luck,we will enjoy watching majestic condors soar across the sky and above the rim of the canyon.
We stop in several Andean communities: Yanque, Achoma, and Maca; before we reach Chivay, where we will enjoy a buffet lunch.
After a buffet lunch, we return to our transportation and start our journey back to Arequipa.
Transfer to Arequipa airport to board the flight to Lima or Cusco, or to the hotel of your choice. In case you decide to spend a few extra days in Arequipa, or head to Puno, we will be delighted to organize any supplementary excursions.
Price of the tour (per person):
- USD $280 / EUR €235* / GBP £185*
* Due to the volatility of European currencies, prices expressed in Euros and in Pounds Sterling have been rounded up and may change from time to time. In Peru, the American Dollar is the benchmark for international transactions but we accept payments in Euros or Pounds Sterling as well.
**Single supplement USD $70 / EUR €60 / GBP £50 additional.
The Tour Includes
- Transportation (shared). If you require private transportation please let us know
- All entrance fees
- Accommodation, in very good hotels
- All tours with professional English-speaking guides (Italian, French, and German) can be organised at your request
- All breakfasts
- Optional: English, French or Italian speaking tour leader at your request
*At your request, we can organise your flight from Arequipa to Lima.
- International and national airfares to and from Peru
- International and national departure taxes at airports
- Other meals
- Personal expenses, such as telephone bills, laundry expenses, beverages, etc.
- Insurance against theft, loss
- Other extras not specified