EscapeSouth America

Arequipa & Cañon de Colca

By July 9, 2019 No Comments

When-Where-Why?

To start our second trip to Peru we chose to land in Arequipa. Since Arequipa we have chosen to spend three days in the second largest canyon in the world: the Colca Canyon.

We left in July 2019.

Arequipa

Arequipa is the capital of the Arequipa region. This beautiful city was founded during the colonial period.

From its historic center, on a clear day, one has the chance to admire three volcanoes.

The buildings are of baroque style and were built in a white volcanic stone (the sillar). Its historic center is around Plaza de Armas, an elegant square with a neoclassical cathedral from the 17th century.

* There is an airport in Arequipa that serves many destinations in Peru. It takes about 30 soles to reach the city center by taxi.

* Arequipa-Cabanaconde

There are two companies that leave from the bus terminal. One proposes departures in the morning at 9:30 and the other at 3pm. There is approximately 7h bus. One way costs 18 soles.

* Arequipa-Puno

Several companies offer departures to Puno. Some are at 3.30am, 5.30am and 2pm. The best is to go there the day before to reserve your place.

* The Posada Del Misti

We took a double room with private bathroom.

The place is very clean. There is breakfast included.

It is very well located.

Address: Paz Soldán 205, Arequipa, Peru

* Plaza de Armas

It is the main square around which you can admire buildings with colonial architecture and a beautiful church of the nineteenth century. In its center there is a nice garden. You will find something to eat and agencies to organize your excursions.

* Santa Catalina Convent

Magnificent convent dating from 1579, World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has been restored many times following earthquakes. It is very large and very different from the convent we are used to seeing elsewhere. It looks like a mini city inside the city. The nuns who lived there had very large apartments and had a special kitchen with their own crazy. They were known elsewhere for making their good breads and pastries. The architecture of the convent will remind you of southern Europe, especially Andalusia. His colors live made me think of the Riads of Marrakech.

Plan well two hours to make the visit. It’s so beautiful and nice that you will not see the time pass!

Opening hours: Tuesday & Wednesday from 8 am-8pm / Other days: 8 am-5pm

Price: 40 soles

Address: Santa Catalina 301, Arequipa 04001

* Mirador of Yanahuara

Mirador a little disappointing. There are electric cables that ruin the view of the volcanoes. It is not high enough to really appreciate the view of the city. However we can see the volcanoes.

* The Nueva Palomino

Great traditional restaurant. It is excellent and hearty (take a dish for two!). The restaurant is pretty and huge.

Address: Leoncio Prado 122, Yanahuara 04000

* The French girl

The headquarters of the French in need of pancakes.

Address: Santa Catalina 413

Cañon de Colca

The Colca Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world with 3400m depth.

Its highest point is 4 350 m high. Hikers will have the chance to get close to the Colca River in the valley.

* Arequipa-Cobanaconde

From the Arequipa bus terminal.

Two companies make departures including one at 9:30 am.

Duration: 7h

Price: 18 soles

* Cobanaconde – Chivay

Duration: 2 hours with stops on the points of view.

Price: We went through an agency that included the other ticket for Puno so the rate is variable.

* Puno-Chivay

There are several companies that make the trip. We went through MyTourPeru via an agency on Arequipa.

Duration: 7h

Price: 30-40 USD to negotiate with agencies.

Here is our itinerary over 3 days in the canyon. There are many other possibilities. You can go there for a day or two days. We advise you to do at least two days to enjoy the landscapes and accommodation with the thermal pools 😉

Jour 1 : Arequipa – Cobanaconde

* Bus: We take the bus to the Arequipa terminal.

Time: 9:30

Cost: 18 soles each

Duration: 7h.

* Hotel: Villa Pastor

Type: Double bedroom with private bathroom. No breakfast.

Rate : 40 soles.

Address : Plaza de Armas S/N, 054 Cabanaconde, Pérou

Day 2 : Cabanaconde-Llahuar

Hike: Nice descent for 2 hours then false flat and again a descent to the bridges. After the bridges continue to the left (small shown treacherous). At the bus stop follow the Llahuar sign. You will cross a ghost village, cross a bridge and arrive at Llahuar lodge (otherwise continue to the right of the lodge).

Trail type: Pebbles and trail.

Duration: 4 hours for good walkers.

Difficulty: Easy-average.

Tip: Leave early in the morning, around 7am. You will avoid the crowd and high temperatures.

Bonus: When you reach the two bridges, cross the most to your right and follow the path to the right: it has geysers!

Hotel: Llahuar Lodge

Great place to relax. Rooms in small private cabanas and shared showers and toilets. There are hot water pools available that face the river. Breakfast is included and they offer lunch, dinner and other meals.

Address :Plaza En la unión de los ríos Colca y Huaruro, 9999 Cabanaconde, Pérou

Day 3 : Llahuar – Fure

Hiking: Hiking quite difficult. You go through the path just behind the Llahuar lodge and it will climb for at least 45min. Then it will be more or less flat. When you arrive at the church of Llatica, turn right and go down to cross the bridge. The path will be indicated but not clear. You will go to the left. If you take too long the river in the cactus try to turn back and go up two floors higher. You will fall on the right path that you will follow to the end. From there it will go up slowly but surely then at 45min you’re going to fuck! Once in Fure, rest and go see the beautiful waterfall Huaruro. There is less than 3 hours return (the way is more difficult than the return because of the sun but it is still much flatter than the arrival at Fure).

Trail type: Rocks.

Duration: 3h with average pace and sun.

Difficulty: Difficult.

Tips: Leave really before 8am because at 9am you will already be exposed on all the rest of the way and it is. Really hard to climb under a blazing sun.

Hotel: Furewassi Hotel

Small, very modest cabanas facing the canyon. The hostel is run by a very friendly family. They offer breakfasts, lunches and evening meals for less than 15 soles; it’s very good and hearty! There is a toilet and a shared shower but it is very clean. There is another accommodation a little lower but it is even more basic. The owner runs a “mini-market” with some fruits.

Day 4 : Fure – Oasis Sangalle

Hiking: You walk along the mountain is super beautiful. It goes up and it goes down then it becomes easy when approaching Belen. When you arrive in the heights of Belen it rises slowly, you will feel it! There are some places in the shade. Then you can go down to Sangalle, a sign will tell you.

Trail type: Pebbles and track.

Duration: 3-4h.

Difficulty: Medium.

Tips: As for other days, leave early!

Bonus: Do not go down to Sangalle at the first sign that you will see on your right. Continue your route and go through the village of Malata. We consider the views from Fure and Malata as the most beautiful! From Malata you will see the terraces, it’s splendid! It will take you an hour, but are you an hour away by leaving very early?

Hotel: Eden Lodge

In the middle of the oasis. This hotel has a large swimming pool. There are cabanas with and without showers, it depends how much you want to pay!

Day 5 : Oasis San Galle – Cobanaconde

Hike: Well, this is the hardest part! It only goes up in zigzag. There is no surprise, you can see the road from a lot of places from the other side of the canyon.

Trail type: Pebbles.

Duration: 3h

Difficulty: Very difficult. Elevation of 1100m.

Tips & Warnings: If you take the bus to Puno at 9:30 am from Cabanaconde, plan wide, 4h walking if you are an average walker or in uphill difficulty.

Bonus: For the lazy, it is possible to rent the services of a mule!

You do not have a lot of time, that’s what you can do as well (these are suggestions based on what we did and the information we had, there are many more surely but I do not not know) :

* Option 2 days and 1 night

* Day 1: You arrive in Cabanaconde the day before or with the first bus (it leaves at 3.30 am from Arequipa and arrives at 9am). You leave directly for Llahuar (4-5h walk). You sleep in Llahuar and enjoy the baths.

* Day 2: You make the opposite way to Cabanaconde. If you have to leave with the 9am bus go to the front of Llahuar.

 

* Option 2 days and 2 nights in the canyon

* Day 1: You arrive in Cabanaconde the day before or with the first bus (it leaves at 3.30 am from Arequipa and arrives at 9am). You leave directly for Llahuar (4-5h walk). Sleep in Llahuar.

* Day 2: You leave very early for Fure and the waterfalls. There is 3h of walking (not easy especially if it’s hot). You arrive at the lodge, you eat and you rest and then after you go to the waterfall (3 hours of maximum walk back and forth, it’s easier). You sleep in Fure.

* Day 3: Wake up very early; Return to Llahuar to take the bus to Cabanaconde. It is 11am I think but check (he leaves Tapay around 9am then makes all the villages). If you go to Arequipa after checking before you have a bus the same day you will have to sleep in Cabanaconde or Chivay.

Or

* Day 1: You arrive in Cabanaconde the day before or with the first bus (it leaves at 3.30 am from Arequipa and arrives at 9am). You leave directly for Llahuar (4-5h walk). You sleep in Llahuar and enjoy the baths.

* Day 2: You go to the oasis of San Galle through Malata to have the most beautiful views (4-5h walk). You sleep on the spot. Another option is to go to San Juan (after Malata).

* Day 3: You make the road to Cabanaconde (4h of minimum walk in big climb).

Or

* Day 1: You arrive in Cabanaconde the day before or with the first bus (it leaves at 3.30 am from Arequipa and arrives at 9am). You leave directly for Llahuar (4-5h walk). Sleep in Llahuar.

* Day 2: You leave very early for Fure and the waterfalls. There is 3h of walking (not easy especially if it’s hot). You arrive at the lodge, you eat and you rest and then after you go to the waterfall (3 hours of maximum walk back and forth, it’s easier). You sleep in Fure.

* Day 3: You leave Fure very early and you go either to Belen to get the bus to Cabanaconde or to Malata to get the bus. He arrives around 10 am I believe (to be confirmed) in Malata. The views from Malata are very beautiful.

 

* Option 3 days and 2 nights (for athletes or those who want to see more)

* Day 1: You arrive in Cabanaconde the day before or with the first bus (it leaves at 3.30 am from Arequipa and arrives at 9am). You leave directly for Llahuar (4-5h walk). If you arrive early go spend an hour in the hot water baths of Llahuar lodge (10 soles) then continue the road to Fure (3h climb). You sleep in Fure.

* Day 2: In Fure there are waterfalls to see (3h walk) round trip, then you go to the oasis of San Galle through Malata to have the most beautiful views (4-5h walk). You sleep on the spot. If you do not want to go to the oasis, continue to San Juan (after the village of Malata).

* Day 3: You leave at dawn (4-5am) and you return to Cabanaconde to take the bus of 9:30.

You can eat in the lodges but it’s quite expensive. We had enough to make sandwiches from time to time but you have to wear everything that’s the problem!

Lots of water, sunscreen, a towel, a bathing suit (there are hot springs!) And a hat. Also take a headlamp. Also take PQ because some hotel cons will charge you the PQ! It shocked us this story!

Leave early (before 8am every day).

Do not rush, falling on pebbles in a canyon can hurt!

Do not leave without cash (and small cuts).

Do not book by booking, you will be well ripped off! Book locally or try to contact people on their website directly; there is at least 20 soles difference between direct booking and booking.

The park entrance costs 70 soles per person.

It is an obligation to have your ticket before starting the hike. You can be checked at any time so think about buying it when you arrive at the office in the main square. It is possible for someone to pick you up at the bus for you to buy.

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