Colca Canyon, Peru


Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River and is located about 100 miles from Arequipa. The canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. The valley is still inhabited by the Collagua and the Cabana cultures. Their main language is Kechuan. The local people still maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.

For our adventure into the Colca Canyon we decided to do a guided two days one night with Carlitos Tours. It was very well organized. Carlos, the owner of Carlitos Tours met us at our hotel 2 days before to discuss the details of our trip. Carlos gave us excellent recommendations for things to see and do in Arequipa. He even met us the next afternoon to take us on a tour of the market and to an authentic Peruvian restaurant. Carlos also took us to the Cruz del Sur ticket office- not an easy place to find if Carlos had not taken us.
We were taking the over night bus from Arequipa to Cusco, which left the day we got back to Arequipa from the trek.
Carlos did all of this for us out of the kindness of his heart and his love for sharing his city and country with others. What a nice guy! The guide we had for the trek was very knowledgeable about the canyon and its inhabitants. He spoke both Spanish and English.
The trek was an incredible hike just absolutely beautiful and it felt good to get out doors. The hike itself is pretty intense but for those not up for hiking the whole duration can opt for a mule. We brought a camel backpack for water and it was plenty since once in the villages you can get more water and the tour provides you with lunch.
I highly recommend the two days one night trek it gives you the feel of the canyon and what life is like for those who live there. The trails can be done on your own but if it’s your first time into Colca Canyon I would recommend a guide, it makes the experience more special and stress free.
The stopping point for the evening was very humble. The highlight definitely was the pool! Who isn’t hot and sweaty after hiking all day. There is a bar but I guess ice is hard to come by because the drinks were warm.. Yuk
I am an outdoorsie person. I love to backpack in the mountains and rough it, but the room we slept in that night was definitely the most I have ever roughed it. Each room was an individual hut thus it was not insulated from the outside world like scorpions and huge black spiders which I made Jamie kill all before I could sleep (at least the ones I could see). At least a tent you are fully protected. I covered myself head to toe before getting in the bed and took a Benadryl to sleep.
I actually slept quit well and at 5am we were back on the trail! On the way back to Arequipa we stopped at a hot springs- felt amazing after two days of hiking and a village to eat lunch and shop the market

We arrived back to Arequipa around 6pm just in time to catch the over night bus to Cusco- a 10hr bus ride get comfy