Day 1. Arequipa – Pampa San Miguel – San Juan de Chuccho
San Juan de Chuccho
Cruz del Cóndor
Our trekking tour to colca canyon begins early. We pick you up from your hotel at 3:00 a.m. and set off (unless you require a private service), by bus, to Colca Canyon (the second deepest canyon in the world). The first stop is in Chivay (a 3-hour bus ride) where we have breakfast. At an elevation of 3,650 meters above sea level (12,000 feet), Chivay is our departure point to the Cruz del Condor (Condor Cross), where we enjoy – with a bit of luck – watching the flight of majestic condors for about an hour.
After this near-mystical experience, we travel for about 20 minutes to Pampa San Miguel (3,280 meters – 10,760 feet), the departure point for our hike into the canyon. Our trekking experience starts here.
Starting at 3,280 meters, the first leg of our hike ends after 3 hours (please note that the hike can take up to 4 hours and in some cases up to 5 hours; therefore please take sufficient water with you) when we arrive at the first community which we visit, San Juan de Chuccho. At this point, we are at 2,300 meters (7,545 feet) and we have descended about 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). At San Juan de Chuccho, we cross over the Colca River via a suspension bridge and explore the surroundings. Our guide will introduce us to some medicinal plants and fruits that grow in the area. We then have lunch, cooked by our guide.Here, we spend the night with a local family and enjoy our simple and traditional Andean food.
Day 2. Cosñirhua – Malata Oasi – Oasis Sangalle
After breakfast, we begin our trek through the Colca canyon. We walk for one hour until we get to the small village of Cosñirhua (2,660 meters – 8,727 feet). Then, we reach another small village situated inside the Colca Canyon: Malaga!
After 2 additional hours of hiking, we make our way to the oasis and then arrive at Sangalle. Here, we are at an altitude of 2,160 meters above sea level (7,086 feet).
In Sangalle, we rest and spend some time relaxing in the swimming pools (20°C – 68°F). We have lunch here and enjoy a free afternoon, playing volleyball or simply dozing in a hammock. Or, you can join the guide and go for an hour-long hike around the oasis.
We have dinner and spend the night in cabins with private bathrooms.
Day 3. Cabanaconde – Chivay - Arequipa
End of the Tour
National Reserve of Salinas
This part of the trek is indeed the most challenging! We wake at 5:00 a.m. and from an elevation of just 2,160 meters, we hike up to the community of Cabanaconde, located at 3,280 meters (10,760 feet). This portion of the hike will take approximately 3 hours, depending on your pace. Before beginning the trek you will receive some snacks to help you with the hike.
Once in Cabanaconde, we have breakfast but shortly afterwards head up by bus, once again, to Chivay. On the way, we stop at the Wayrapunku viewpoint to appreciate the Inca and pre-Inca terraces of the town of Maca. Afterwards, it’s time to relax a bit more as we visit the hot springs of La Calera, a very enticing mineral bath (bring your swimsuit!).
We venture back to Chivay for an Andean buffet. We have lunch and travel back to Arequipa, stopping at El Mirador De Los Andes (Lookout of the Andes at 4,900 meters – 16,076 feet) to observe different nearby volcanoes and the surrounding mountains. The volcanoes you will see are: Ampato, (and the location where Momia Juanita was discovered); Coropuna, Solimana, and Huallahualca. The four volcanoes have a height ranging between 5.000 and 6.000 meters above sea level (16,404 and 19,685 ft).
Our last stop is in the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca. Here, you get to know the endangered vicuña (a camelid that produces the finest fibre in the world and which is now under government protection), as well as alpaca and llama.
We arrive back in Arequipa around 5:00 p.m.