How to get to the Colca canyon?
The Colca Canyon is one of the best tourist attractions in Peru. It is located more than 150 kilometers from the city of Arequipa. To get there, you must take a public service transport to the town of Chivay or the town of Cabanaconde, both belonging to the province of Caylloma. Learn step by step how to go to this incredible place and observe the deepest canyon in the world.
Definitely the easiest way to get to the Colca canyon is through an all-inclusive tour of 1 day or more. The average cost of a tour is 25 dollars per person (it does not include the entrance ticket that costs 70 Peruvian soles or 22 American dollars). If you are traveling on your own, you should only take public transport to the Colca canyon and buy the ticket. Both alternatives are valid to know this incredible place.
The Colca canyon
The Colca Canyon is the second most visited tourist attraction in Peru, only after Machu Picchu. It is a natural area with incredible landscapes and one of the deepest canyons in the world: 4,160 meters deep.
The Colca Canyon is located in the Andes Mountains. This impressive valley occupies an area of 100 square kilometers. Dozens of Andean towns such as Chivay and Caylloma inhabit its slopes.
To visit it, you must make a route of more than 3 hours from the city of Arequipa. Then you can go by bus or on foot to the different viewpoints of the Colca canyon.
Arequipa, the starting point
Arequipa, known as the ‘White City’ is the starting point to get to the Colca canyon. This city is located in the southern highlands of Peru, approximately 150 kilometers from Colca.
Arequipa’s land terminal is the place from where buses depart in the direction of the towns of Chivay or Cabanaconde. The address of the terminal is Calle Arturo Ibáñez 130.
If you are looking to make a trip of only 1 day, you should leave very early. There are services available at dawn and very early in the morning.
It should be noted that the city of Arequipa is located 2,335 meters above sea level.
How to get?
To get to the Colca canyon you must follow the following steps:
- Take a public transport in the land terminal of the city of Arequipa. The cost of the trip (to Chivay or Cabanaconde) costs 10 US dollars, approximately. The journey time is 3 hours on average.
- Once in Chivay, you must walk or take a private transport to one of the viewpoints of the Colca canyon.
- If you travel to Cabanaconde, you must walk or take a private transport to the Condor viewpoint, the most visited in the Colca canyon.
What to see on the way?
During the trip to the Colca canyon, the visitor can appreciate the following tourist attractions:
- The National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca – This area protected by the Peruvian State covers about 366,936 hectares. In its territory there are volcanoes, lagoons, mountains, Andean forests, grasslands and more. The presence of wild species such as vicuñas, animals with fine fur, stands out. The entrance ticket to visit this reserve is included in the Colca ticket.
- The Cordillera de los volcanes – It is called ‘Cordillera de los volcanes’ to one of the most famous viewpoints of the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve, from where you have an impressive view of the Misti, Chachani, Ampato, Sabancaya, Hualca Hualca and Mismi volcanoes. The viewpoint, also called Patapampa, is 4,800 meters above sea level, one of the highest points of the trip.
- The Colca Valley – The Colca Valley is an extensive area where several Andean towns full of tradition settle, bordering the Colca Canyon and the river of the same Name. In addition to the agricultural areas, the most emblematic landscapes are the wetlands, the queñuas forests and more. The most representative towns in this valley are Chivay and Cabanaconde.
An excellent option to calmly appreciate and enjoy the Colca Canyon is to take a trip of two days or more. For this, it is necessary to spend the night in one of the hotels in the towns of Chivay or Cabanaconde. The 1-day trip, due to its speed, does not allow you to enjoy the beauty of the Colca in time.
The town of Chivay has more and better hotel services. The town of Cabanaconde, on the other hand, is closer to the main Colca viewpoints, such as the famous Condor viewpoint. Most people choose to travel to Cabanaconde for a 1-day trip and to Chivay for a trip of more days.
The entrance ticket to the Colca Canyon has a cost of 70 Peruvian soles (22 dollars) for foreign tourists. Latin American tourists pay 40 Peruvian soles (12 dollars) for this same ticket. Peruvians pay only 20 soles ($ 6).
The 1-day Colca Canyon tour has an approximate price of 25 dollars per tourist (47 dollars if the entrance ticket is included). Tours can be purchased at any Arequipa tourism agency, either online or in person in the ‘white city’ itself.
By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, August 28, 2023