Colca Canyon trek: prices, tips and more information

The Colca Canyon is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Peru. It is located 160 kilometers by road from the city of Arequipa. Although it is possible to visit its viewpoints directly, many tourists prefer to do so by touring part of the canyon on foot. These hiking trails are challenging. Learn how much it costs, how is the walk and more information.

Trek cañon del Colca
Trek in the Colca Canyon – Arequipa


The Colca Canyon, Arequipa’s best tourist attraction

The Colca is one of the deepest canyons on the planet (depth of 4,160 meters). It is actually considered the second deepest after China’s Yurlung Zangbo.

In this tourist destination you can practice different adventure sports such as canoeing, cycling or trekking. This last tourist destination is the most requested by visitors.

The hiking trails are challenging as they go deep into the canyon and then ascend to the top where the most splendid viewpoints are.

The walk is approximately 15 kilometers. It lasts 2 days and 1 night of rest. On the route you can see beautiful landscapes, including the sighting of Andean condors.


Where is it located?

The canyon is located in the Colca Valley, Caylloma province (160 kilometers from the city of Arequipa).

The altitude varies from 2,900 meters to 4,500 meters above sea level.


How to trek in the Colca Canyon?

Paisaje del cañon del Colca
Landscape of the Colca Canyon – Arequipa

Most tourists choose to visit the Colca Canyon on a 1-day tour that includes transportation, guide and entrance fees. On this tour, the tourist will not have to walk much, as they only have to appreciate the canyon from its viewpoints (including the viewpoint of the condor).

Another option is to do a 2-day, 1-night hiking trail, either with a tour or on your own. This route is also 15 kilometers. It starts at the San Miguel viewpoint and ends in the town of Cabanaconde.


2 days trekking in the Colca canyon

The 2-day trek through the Colca Canyon covers an average of 15 kilometers. The route is circular (starts at the top of the canyon and ends there).

The route begins at the San Miguel viewpoint. It enters the depths of the canyon and then ascends to the town of Cabanaconde where the panoramic viewpoints of the canyon are.

This route requires a night of rest in a conditioned camp. You can spend the night there on an all-inclusive tour or on your own (paying directly for the service).

The route is not easy but it is not extreme either. The descent is up to 2 thousand meters above sea level. Then you must ascend to an altitude of 4 thousand meters above sea level. That is to say, the ascent (on the second morning) is challenging.

The descent on the first day is not easy either. A trekking pole is needed for the knees to reduce physical effort.

The heat deep in the canyon is also exhausting. The temperature can reach 23ºC.

However, despite this, this hiking trail is very adventurous and memorable. It’s worth the effort!

The entrance to Colca

How is the 2 day trek to Colca?

This is the route!

Travel to Cabanaconde from Arequipa – From Arequipa you must travel to the Colca Canyon. It is recommended to start at dawn because the trip takes almost 4 hours. The final destination is the town of Cabanaconde. The public transport bus trip costs 15 soles on average (part of the Arequipa land terminal).

Day 1: from the San Miguel viewpoint to the Sangalle oasis – From Cabanaconde you must travel to the San Miguel viewpoint by car. On the way you can see other viewpoints such as the famous ‘Mirador del Cóndor’. From San Miguel you descend for approximately 5 hours to the oasis of Sangalle. On the route you cross the bridge of San Juan de Chuccho, the town of Cosñirhua and the town of Malata. There you spend the night in one of the local lodges.

Day 2: from the oasis of Sangalle to Cabanaconde – From the oasis of Sangalle there is an arduous climb that takes 3 to 4 hours (it takes approximately one thousand meters of altitude). The walk is intense because of the morning sun. Along the route there are signs so there is no danger of getting lost. The end point is again the town of Cabanaconde. From there you can get public transport buses back to the city of Arequipa.


How much does it cost to trek in the Colca Canyon?

The 2-day trek through the Colca Canyon has the following approximate cost:

  • All-inclusive 2-day tour: approximately USD 60.
  • 2-day trip on your own: approximately 40 USD.

How is the weather in the Colca Canyon?

Cañon del Colca
Colca Canyon – Arequipa

The climate in the Colca Valley is very changeable.

In the rainy season (from November to March) the rains are more intense. The temperature in the upper part of the canyon varies between 5ºC. and 20ºC. In the lower part of the canyon it varies between 8ºC. and 23ºC.

In the dry season (from April to October) the rains are scarce. The temperature in the upper part of the canyon varies between 2ºC. and 21ºC. In the lower part of the canyon it varies between 9ºC. and 24ºC.


More tips for your visit to the Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon tours do not include entrance fee. Due to this, it is recommended to bring cash to make the payment of the ‘Entrance to Colca’ before starting the trek.

If you hike on your own you will come across restaurants, food stalls, drinks and more along the way. The last point of sale is at the ‘Oasis de Sangalle’, where the first night of the trek is spent.

During your hiking route, do not forget to bring with you: comfortable sports clothing, trekking shoes, hat (or hat), sunscreen, snacks, rehydrating drinks, documents and cash .


Questions and answers about the trekking route in the Colca Canyon

  • 1. Is it difficult to hike the Colca Canyon?

    The 2-day, 1-night trek covers 15 kilometers. It is a route that is not easy but not impossible either. It is recommended to be in good physical condition.

  • 2. How much does it cost to do a trek tour in the Colca Canyon?

    A hiking tour of 2 days and 1 night in the Colca Canyon costs between 40 and 60 dollars per tourist approximately.

  • 3. Can I trek in the Colca Canyon without a tour?

    Yes. The hiking route through the Colca Canyon can be done without a tour, on your own. For that, you only have to travel to the town of Cabanaconde and start the walk from the San Miguel viewpoint.

  • 4. What will I see if I visit the Colca Canyon on foot?

    During the walk you will be able to appreciate the beautiful landscapes of the Colca as well as the bridge of San Juan de Chuccho, the oasis of Sangalle and the famous viewpoint of the condor.

  • 5. How many kilometers is the 2-day trek through the Colca Canyon?

    The trek route is approximately 15 kilometers long. It starts at the San Miguel viewpoint and ends in the town of Cabanaconde.

  • 6. What is the altitude of the Colca Canyon trek?

    The altitude of the trek varies from 2,900 meters to 4,500 meters above sea level.

  • 7. How much does the entrance to the Colca Canyon cost?

    The entrance ticket to the Colca Canyon costs: 70 soles for foreigners, 40 soles for Latin Americans and 20 soles for Peruvians.

  • 8. When is the best time to trek to the Colca Canyon?

    The dry season (from April to October) is the best time to trek. The rains are scarce and that benefits the tourist when doing the walk.

  • 9. What should I bring for the Colca hiking trail?

    During the trek, do not forget to bring with you: comfortable sportswear, trekking shoes, hat (or hat), sunscreen, snacks, rehydrating drinks, documents and cash.

  • 10. Is it dangerous to trek in the Colca Canyon?

    The hiking route through the Colca Canyon is well defined with marked sections. It is recommended to follow these signs. The route is not dangerous but it is recommended to take precautions.

 

By Machupicchu Terra – Last updated, August 28, 2023


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