One Day At The Colca Canyon (Itinerary & Tips)
Visiting the Colca Canyon is the most popular thing to do in the city of Arequipa, Peru.
Every year, thousands and thousands of tourists go there to hike and see the majestic giant condors. In 2019, I was one of them!
In this post, I will share my Colca Canyon day trip review.
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What is the Colca Canyon?
The Colca Canyon is located in Southern Peru and is considered to be the second deepest canyon in the world.
It is home to the Andean condor and used to be inhabited by three ethnic groups: the Kollowas, the Cabanas, and the Ccaccatapay.
Facts about the Colca Canyon
- Today, the Colca Canyon is the third most visited attraction in Peru.
- The Colca Canyon altitude is 4500m above sea level.
- It is twice as deep as the Great Canyon
- No passable roads existed between Arequipa and Chivay until the 1940s
- You can take a Colca Canyon day trip or hike the canyon for up to three days.
Best time to visit the Colca Canyon
It is possible to visit the canyon in any season but the condors are usually more active in the months between March and June.
Colca Canyon Day Trip Review and itinerary
Going on a day trip to the Colca Canyon is an amazing way to see all the beautiful sights the canyon has to offer.
Next, I will tell you about my experience.
1st stop: Chivay
We woke up at around 3 am and the van from the tour agency picked us up at the hostel. It was freezing cold!
First, we headed to Chivay to have breakfast in a local restaurant. In this part of the journey, I had already started feeling a lot of dizziness due to the altitude.
The breakfast was simple but very tasty. They had bread, dulce de leche, and several kinds of tea.
We rested for a bit and then the bus headed towards one of the canyon’s most famous viewpoints: Cruz del Condor.
2nd stop: Cruz del Condor
The first and most famous stop in the Colca Canyon day trip is Cruz del Condor. There, we had a privileged view of the canyon and of the ten giant condors flying around us. It was spectacular!
They say spotting condors is not guaranteed in the experience, but we got very lucky.
After Cruz del Condor, the next stop was the village of Maca.
3rd stop: Maca
The stop in Maca was very quick since the idea was mainly to visit an artisan market and get some souvenirs.
As my friend and I had no plans to do any shopping, instead we went for a walk… And found a very nice lady with a little baby alpaca.
This little guy is Lucho, the fluffiest and most adorable alpaca in the world.
Next, we headed to the hot springs in Yanque.
4th stop: Chacapi Hot Springs
The last stop was the Chacapi Hot Springs in the district of Yanque, where you have the option of bathing in the hot springs for 20 soles.
I honestly didn’t find the idea very appealing so I ended up just hanging out and taking pictures until it was time to reunite with the group.
The place was gorgeous! It reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones. After that, the bus took us back to our hotels in Arequipa.
To illustrate my journey a little better above is the map of the Colca Valley.
Is a Colca Canyon day trip worth it?
I would say: absolutely! You can’t travel to Arequipa and not see the canyon.
The day trip is quite exhaustive but super fun. The views are amazing and it was awesome seeing giant condors up close.
The only thing is that you will get to a very high altitude quite fast, and that can sometimes make you sick. If you can, try to stay in Arequipa for at least a couple of days to acclimate before going on the Colca Canyon tour.
Here are some great and reliable Colca Canyon tours:
Finding a place to stay in Arequipa
If you haven’t booked your accommodation in Arequipa yet, no worries! These are some of my favorite hotels in the city:
That’s a wrap! I really hope this post helps you with planning a day trip to Colca Canyon. As I previously mentioned, I really loved the experience and I am sure you will too. See you soon!