Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. The third most-visited tourist destination with about 160,000 visitors annually, it is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States at 13,650 (4,160 m.) depth, and it is promoted as the “Colca canyon,” although the walls of canyon are not as vertical as those of the Grand Canyon. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots, and towns founded in Spanish colonial times, still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. The local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.
DAY 1: AREQUIPA – CHIVAY
Our tourist car will come to pick you up at your hotel in Arequipa at 7: 30 to go in the direction of the national reserve of Salinas and Aguadas Blancas. In the route, you could see many herds of vicuñas, as well as Flemish roses from lagoons to more than 4000 meters of altitude. Then we have a short break on the Mirador of the Andes, at 4900 meters, from which we can observe several mountains and snowcapped volcanoes, including Mrs. ISMI, the most distant source of the Amazon River, overlooking the Colca Canyon. After that we descended rapidly to the village of Chivay, the largest town of the region. We have lunch in the village before we install in our hotel. In the afternoon, you can enjoy the hot springs of water thermo-medicinal of Calera, rich in iron, and renowned for their curative action against rheumatism and arthritis.
In the evening, we have several options for dinner, before going to enjoy a show of folk dances.
Optional excursion: For those interested, it is possible to visit the village of Uyo – Uyo, village built before the arrival of the Incas in the region. Its inhabitants continue their traditional way of life.
DAY 2: CHIVAY – CRUZ DEL CONDOR – AREQUIPA
Today we wake up early, and after breakfast at our hotel, we take the road in the middle of a magnificent landscape of agricultural pre-Inca terraces perched on the slopes of the mountains, yellow, green, ochre tones, snowy mountains overhanging the fertile valley, and colonial villages positioned long in long in the Valley, all magnified by the beautiful light of the morning.
Then we arrive early at the Mirador del condor, where we can spend about an hour and a half, during this time we will have the opportunity to observe the largest bird flying in the world “The Condor”, which uses currents of warm air from the morning to go up along the canyon.
It is also the perfect point to appreciate the depth of the canyon and also Coropuna and Sabancaya (the latter still active volcano). After that, we will be in the opposite direction, where we will have the opportunity to visit traditional villages like Pinchollo, Yanque and Maca, villages that were built in the 16th century by the Spanish, to take indigenous people there and to have a better control of them. The churches of these villages are demonstrations of the baroque-Métis style, mixture of Spanish baroque style with the Andean interpretation of the evangelist word. We will learn more about the Customs and culture of their inhabitants.
Then returning to Chivay, we have the visit of the town with its market and then lunch in the same locality.
In the afternoon, we take the return road until Arequipa, arriving at 17:30 hours.
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