8. From Arequipa: 2-Day Trekking Tour to Colca Canyon
Embark on a 2-day trek to the Colca Canyon, twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and an incredible sight. Look out for more than 100 kinds of birds, over 300 types of plants and more than 30 types of cactus. Head to Condor’s Cross for the best viewpoint in South America for seeing the Andean Condor, a gracious bird that can have a wingspan of up to 3 meters and weigh up to 12 KG.
Day 1: Arequipa - Chivay - Condor’s Cross - Sangalle
After an early morning (around 3:00-3:30 AM) pick-up from your hotel, head to Cabanaconde in the Colca Canyon. This is approximately a 6-hour drive from Arequipa, and on the way you’ll stop for breakfast. Continue to Condor’s Cross for a panoramic view of the canyon and the famous Andean Condor. Arrive at the beginning of your trek and start a downhill hike for about 3-hour from 3,300 to 2,100 meters above sea level into the canyon.
Upon arrival, have lunch and take some time to rest in San Juan de Chuccho. Continue your journey and pass by the towns of Cosñirhua and Malata. Hike further into the canyon until reaching Sangalle, the deepest part of the canyon and 1900 meters above sea level. Sangalle is a lush green oasis with a tropical microclimate and some simple accommodation. Here you can enjoy the swimming pool after a long day of hiking. Enjoy dinner and spend the night here
Day 2: Sangalle - Cabanaconde - Chivay - Arequipa or Puno
Leave early morning (around 5:00 AM), and start hiking uphill for about 3-hour back to Cabanaconde town using torch lights for illumination. Enjoy spectacular views of the sunrise and eat breakfast upon arrival at Cabanaconde.
Head towards Chivay, viewing pre-Inca terraces, archaeological ruins, and colonial towns on the way. Around noon, arrive at the hot springs. Optionally take a dip in the hot springs and relax in waters of 38°C. In Chivay, have a buffet lunch in a local restaurant (not included).
After lunch, start your return to Arequipa. On the way, you will descend from 4830 to 2325 meters above sea level, passing by a national reserve and Pampa Cañahuas. This is is a habitat for the four species of South American camelids (llama, alpaca, vicuña, and guanaco). Arrive in Arequipa late afternoon and be dropped you off next to Santa Catalina Monastery.
If you choose the option to be dropped off in Puno, you will leave from Chivay after having lunch. You’ll arrive around 6:45 PM in Puno. You will also make a stop in Pampa Cañahuas to have great views of the local landscapes.