Arequipa & Colca Canyon 4-Day Tour

  • A four-day snapshot of two of Southern Peru's most appealing and exciting locations. 

  • Explore the beautiful White City of Arequipa, then visit the stunning Colca Canyon nearby.

  • 2018 prices from £275 / $US 379 p/p, including 3* accommodation, transport guides & entrance fees. 

Arequipa is Peru's second largest city, and with its beautiful Colonial centre (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), a stunning natural setting at the foot of El Misti volcano, and almost continual year-round sunshine, it is a natural tourist destination.

Whilst here, you will have a half-day walking tour to get your bearings and learn something of Arequipa's rich past. You then have a day free for further exploration, either within the city or in the easily-accessible countryside. 

Colca Canyon is located about 160 km (100 miles) northwest of Arequipa, a four-hour drive away in the heart of the Andes mountains. At a depth of 3,270 m (10,725 ft), it is one of the deepest in the world - more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It is one of the best places in Peru to see the iconic Andean Condor, the largest flying bird in the world.

As well as Colca's natural attractions, the valley is steeped in pre-Inca, Inca and Spanish Colonial history, that can still be seen today in the stepped terracing, colourful local costumes and Catholic churches. 

4-day Arequipa & Colca Canyon Itinerary:

Day 1: Arequipa: Arrival & Airport Transfer; Half-day City Tour on Foot

Santa Catalina combines beautiful architecture with serene gardens and courtyards.

On arrival at Arequipa airport, welcome and transfer to hotel.

This afternoon, you are taken on a Walking Tour of Arequipa. You start by walking around the emblematic Plaza de Armas, dominated by the Cathedral, and the nearby streets, and then up to admire the facade of San Francisco Church

You then head to Santa Catalina Monastery, founded in 1580, at the time of Viceroy Toledo, where you can walk around the cloisters, picturesque streets and squares, which have remained intact over the centuries. At the same time, you learn about the lifestyle of the select group of nuns who inhabited it. 

Next, you head to the beautiful Barrio del Solar district and visit the Church of the Company of Jesus, the oldest example of religious architecture made with the typical white stone of the region, ashlar.

Overnight at Hotel Casa Andina, or similar. 

Day 2: Arequipa: Free Day (B)

Buffet breakfast in hotel. 

Rafting on the Chili River is a fun half-day option.

You have the whole day free to explore Arequipa and its surroundings. There are plenty of adventure activities - such as mountain biking, hiking and rafting - available. 

For the more sedate, a coffee or meal overlooking the beautiful main square is highly recommended. And you shouldn't leave Arequipa without paying a visit to Juanita the Ice Maiden, the well-preserved frozen body of an Inca girl, found on a nearby mountain and thought to have been sacrificed in the late 15th Century. 

Overnight at Hotel Casa Andina, or similar. 

Day 3: Drive to Chivay in VIP bus (B)

Buffet breakfast in hotel. 

Vicuñas, whose wool is highly valued.

You start this morning from your hotel, where you will be picked up and driven 164 km (102 miles) to Chivay, Colca Valley’s most important town, located at 3,650 m (11,975 ft) above sea level. 

Along the way, you will pass through the village of Yura, which has hot springs, and across the Aguada Blanca & Salinas National Reserve, filled with towering mountains and volcanoes, such as Chachani and Ubinas, as well as rolling plains, where vicuñas and guanacos roam, and a variety of birds, including flamingos, roost. 

We drop you at your hotel, where you have the rest of the day free to explore and acclimatise. There are a number of natural hot springs dotted through the Colca Valley, including La Calera in Chivay, which are great places to soak ... and feel the medicinal benefits!  

Overnight at Hotel Casa Andina, or similar. 

Day 4: Cruz del Condor - Chivay - Arequipa (or Puno) (B)

Breakfast at hotel. 

The cross at Cruz del Condor.

After breakfast, we make the 42 km (26 miles) drive to the Cruz del Condor lookout point, which at 3,320 m (10,892 ft) above sea level, affords the best views of the canyon. If weather permits, you should see the majestic flight of the Andean condor

Also, if we have time, we stop at three other lookout points on the way: Choquetico, Antahuilque, and Tunturpay, to see other interesting sights, such as hanging tombs, the maqueta stone (an artifact that shows the layout of the surrounding terraced hillsides); and the Lake of Three Colours.

After spending time at the Cruz del Condor, we return to Chivay, stopping at three valley towns: Maca, Achoma, and Yanque. 

We have lunch at a local Chivay restaurant (not included), and then begin the return trip to Arequipa.

Once back in Arequipa, we drop you off at your hotel or at the airport for your onward flight. 

Alternatively, you can continue to Puno from Chivay, in order to explore Lake Titicaca

End of services. 


What our clients say about the Arequipa & Colca Canyon itinerary:

“We really enjoyed our trip to the Colca Canyon. Our guide was great and very informative.

The stay at the Colca Lodge was excellent, we wish we could’ve stayed another night, the trip over to the lodge from Arequipa wasn’t the most exciting, maybe because the weather wasn’t great – but the day after was brilliant, we enjoyed visiting the local towns and got to the condor pass just at the right time to see LOTS of condors!

We also stopped at a lot of interesting vantage points with great views across the canyon which was fantastic.

Our onward trip to Puno was handled well and was completely stress free!

Overall a great trip and thanks for organising so well! Thanks again.
— Andy Williams & Stacey Smith - Hackney, London
Once again, a thousand thanks for helping us to have a great trip - this time to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon. As usual, your advice on where to go and how long to spend there was invaluable.

The hotels you suggested were perfect - the Casa Andina Select in Arequipa has a terrace overlooking the main square and the Cathedral, where we spent many happy hours sipping our drinks, reflecting on our day’s sightseeing and deciding which of Arequipa’s many fine restaurants we should eat in next.

The Colca Lodge was delightful, especially the thermal pools, and we took full advantage of them. It may have looked odd, sitting for hours in water with my hat and sunglasses on, but it felt wonderful!

[The] guides and transport were excellent - all the guides we met were enthusiastic, friendly and knowledgeable and the service was extremely efficient.

The journeys to the Colca valley and to see the condors were exciting - we saw a volcano [Sabancaya] erupting, and we saw condors flying, as well as wonderful vast, wild landscapes.

We are both really grateful for your advice and help in organising our trips.
— Elana Dallas & Alastair Hatchett - Highbury, UK