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Named after the ancient storehouses that dot the terraced river valley, the Colca Canyon has been inhabited for thousands of years. It is famously twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, reaching depths of 11,150 ft (3,400 m). Plummeting valley views, volcanic peaks, soaring condors, grazing vicunas, and hot springs await those who venture here.
The Colca Canyon appeals to travelers in search of Peru’s timeless natural landscapes. Make your journey here even more incredible by booking a stay at the gorgeous Belmond Las Casitas or the Colca Lodge.
Choices for dining in the Colca Canyon are limited, but more than adequate for a few nights. Most Colca Canyon lodges offer on-site restaurants serving a la carte or buffet style meals. Towns such as Chivay and Yanque offer a greater selection.
Your travel advisor can arrange private or shared transport to Colca Canyon to/from Arequipa or Lake Titicaca (Puno). This is the easiest and most comfortable way to get to your destination.
Colca Canyon does not have a public airport. Visitors must travel overland from either Arequipa or Puno.
From Puno/Lake Titicaca
Belmond Andean Explorer
Long distances and steep roads separate the towns and main attractions of the Colca Canyon. Inca Expert packages include transportation for all tours so you can sit back and enjoy the sights.
Hiking options: On arrival to your hotel, ask the concierge for a map of local hiking routes. These trails can get you to hot springs, archaeological sites, and viewpoints over the Colca Valley.
All visitors to Colca Canyon must pay a 70 soles entrance fee. You can buy the ticket at any checkpoint. Hold on to the ticket, as park officials will ask to see it at various checkpoints along the typical tourist route.
Chivay has an ATM on the Plaza de Armas. The smaller towns of the Colca Canyon do not yet have ATMs. It is a good idea to stock up on cash in Arequipa or in Puno before you travel to the Colca Canyon.
For a taste of high altitude Andean trekking, many travelers choose a Colca Canyon trek as away to experience more of the deep canyon. The most popular route departs from Cabanaconde and descends to the oasis resort town of Sangalle. The slope is unrelentingly steep whether you are going up or down — usually 2 to 3 hours for the descent and 3 to 4 hours for the ascent.
May to November is the high season for tourism to the Colca Canyon. The weather is warm during the day and cold at night. Be sure to make reservations for accommodation in advance. The end of the rainy season (April and May) is also a great time to visit because the terraces will be brilliantly green with crops and flowering plant life.
Many towns of the Colca Canyon are higher in elevation than Arequipa (7,661 ft or 2,335 m) and about the same as Cusco (11,150 ft or 3,400 m). Take the same precautions as you would in Cusco – stay hydrated, avoid heavy meals or alcohol on your first days at altitude, and drink the local remedy, coca leaf tea. Take a few days to acclimate before attempting any strenuous activity.