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Colca Canyon

Pierre and Barbara
December 27th, 2019 · 4 min read
Home > Peru > Colca Canyon

Tips 👏

  • You can do a day tour from Arequipa, but that involve a lot of driving and early pick-up, we don’t recommend.
  • Take your hikking shoes since some of the sites need a bit of walking.
  • Commute during the day since the road is impressive.
  • Bring your swimsuit, there’s thermal water pools in Yanque.

🏠 Accommodation

We stayed at the Killawasi Lodge in Yanque and that was very good, more below.

🚲 Getting there

We took a tourist bus from Puno of 8 hours, more below.

⏱ Duration

We stayed two nights and that was perfect.

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Getting there 🚎

Initially, we planned to grab a bus in Puno to Arequipa, and then do a day trip to Colca Canyon. After checking google maps, that didn’t seems much optimal, so we searched alternatives:

  • Day trip from Arequipa: that’s easier and cheaper, however very time restricted and super long day.
  • Two days trip from Arequipa: much better since late pick-up, more time to enjoy the area, but not super efficient if coming from Puno.
  • Two days trip from Puno, up to Arequipa: There’s a bus from Puno to Chivay, the town nearby the canyon, stopping in touristic places, going back to Arequipa the next day.

We’ve opted for option three, and got it organised by the Killawasi Lodge via their Whatsapp. They proposed us a package for 85$ including:

  • Pick-up in the Puno hotel.
  • Bus ride up to Yanque with guide and touristic stops on the way.
  • Free hike of 3 hours in Yanque to see ruins and surroundings.
  • Tour back to Arequipa to see the condors and the view of the canyon.
  • Discounts on the hotel rooms.

That was for us the fuss-free option with a honest price regarding the lenght of the trip. After few messages, we paid the deposit and agreed to leave the next day.

We’ve got picked up at 6:45AM in Puno, direction Yanque. We actually were the only one in a giant bus, which was perfect for us (probably due to holidays). We started a nice nap of 2h30 until the first stop, Lagunas Lagunillas. We stopped for 15 minutes to admire the view on the artificial lake, higher than the Titicaca but way smaller, to then carry on for another 2 hours until Patahuasi, a small village where we grabbed an Inca tea.

We then boarded a small minibus to Chivay, and stopped to take pictures with lamas on the way. At some point, we reached Volcano Point, at 4900m elevation, where we saw around 8 volcanos in the landscape, including some active. From there, we started our last descent to Chivay via a very scenic routes, where we started to see the canyon. Once in Chivay, we left the group and got transported to the Killawasi Lodge in the cute village of Yanque.

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Killawasi Lodge 🏡

That was perfect place for a little retreat while travelling. This lovely lodge have nice and big bedrooms, all coming with a lovely terrace, private bathroom, heating and WI-FI. The breakfast is massive and served with eggs in the common area. You can also find any kind of mates for free (anis, coca…) available all day. They offer to do laundry for a fee.

The common area is actually a restaurant during the day, called Quinoa, where guests but also tourists can come and enjoy a nice lunch or dinner. It’s actually the best restaurant in the village, serving international food for a reasonable price. After food, you can either go back to your room and enjoy your private terrace or chill in the hammocks close to the restaurant.

They also propose horse riding, mountain bike and free hike everyday of three hours to show you the surroundings (more about that below).

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A day in Yanque 👙

We started the day in the afternoon with calm by visiting the main plaza of the village, with a beautiful church and some people selling local products. From there we walked 20 minutes to Tumbas Shininea, an impressive suspended bridge on top of the canyon. It’s the only bridge in Yanque, at the north of the village.

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From there, we walked other 20 minutes to the bottom of the Uyu-Uyu ruins. To get to the top, we walked extra 30 minutes of steep path but worth it. It’s an old inca village where we saw houses with a nice view on the canyon, some with still the roof on top.

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After that, we took a cab for 20S to the thermal waters of Chacapi. We did the bath in little pools of 38°C water on the shores of the canyon (you can rent a towel and get change over there). We also enjoyed the nice view on the rock bridge while relaxing. We then went back home after with another cab ride for 10 soles.

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On the way back, we also saw some pretty bad-ass ziplines. If that’s your thing, checkout Colca Gravity, no idea about the price tho. Note that you can also do all this itinerary by walk or bike if you feel sporty.

Colca Canyon Tour 🦅

After an early wake up, we got picked up by a tourist bus coming from Chivay at the hotel at 7AM. On our way to Cruz Del Condor, we did several stops in local villages and miradors to appreciate the view.

Around 8:30AM, we arrived at Cruz Del Condor, where we appreciated the view from 1600 meters of the canyon, with stunning mountain in front of us. We stayed there two hours in total, and spotted three condors flying over us of 3m wide, including a teenager one. If condors is your thing, come in June/July when there is more of them.

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After enjoying the insane view, we jumped back in the van and stopped few kilometres below to do a little hike on the side of the canyon of 30 minutes, the best to take aerials pictures. Our guide showed us the Mismi Peak, which has been discovered recently as the origin of the amazon river with its glazers.

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We then stopped in the little village of Maca, where we tried the local cactus fruit but also the delicious Colca Sour, same as Pisco Sour, but with the cactus fruit! The best 7S ever invested in a cocktail, still my favourite cocktail!

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A bit tipsy, we carried on up to Chivay where we stopped for a buffet lunch of 30S and then took the same road as from Puno to Arequipa, where we arrived around 6PM.

This is the basic Colca Canyon tour, you can also opt-in for doing hikes or rafting, but if you’re chill and a bit lazy like us, that does the job!

Our 2 days stay in Arequipa, check again Puno, or go back to the main Peru post.

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