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How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
72 posts
How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

I will be arriving at Arequipa Airport at 11 A.M. I will be leaving Arequipa airport at 4:40 P.M for flight to Lima. How many nights should I stay to cover Arequipa and Colca Canyon tour?

I am tentatively booked for :

Day 1- arrive airport at 11 A.M

Day 2- full day for activity

Day 3 - be at Arequipa Airport for flight at 4:50 P.M

Should I add another day?

Will have already done the 4 day/3 night Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu before arriving to Arequipa.

Kamloops, Canada
Level Contributor
3,890 posts
47 reviews
1. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

If you get out and about right away on day 1 after arriving you could definately see a bit of Arequipa. Go hang out at the Plaza De Armas and definately tour the Santa Catalina Convent.

The 2-day tour of Colca Canyon that my wife and I did involved spending the first day driving to Colca Canyon and spending the night in Chivay. We drove through the Aquada Blanca Reserve and saw many wild llama, elpaca, and vicunas. You also travel from 2400 meters above sea level all the way up to almost 5000 meters on the way into the canyon before settling in at about 3600 meters which was a bit of a shock to our system. The second day was spent driving through the canyon towards Cruz Del Condor. We stopped many times to visit the smaller towns and for photos of the canyon before arriving at Cruz Del Condor where we had allmost 2 hours to view and take photos of the condors which were literally flying only a couple of meters away at times. After viewing the condors we drove back to Chivay for lunch before the tour headed back to Arequipa in the afternoon except my wife and I moved on to Puno insted. The tour was scheduled to arrive back in Arequipa around 6PM I think so the only way you could do a 2-day tour would be to arrange a much later flight on day 3 or add a day and fly out the next morning.

There are 1-day tours offered to Colca Canyon but it involves leaving Arequipa at 3AM and spending the majority of your day in a bus or small van. You basically get shuttled to Chivay as quick as possible to join up with the second day of a 2-day tour. It would probably make for a very long day and because of the darkness you most likely will miss out on seeing much in the Aquada Blanca Reserve on the way in but you will get to see a bit of it on the way back to Arequipa that afternoon. The biggest factor I think will be the altitude changes experienced over one day which may ruin it for you.

Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
72 posts
2. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

Thanks very much. Do you feel you had enough time for the 2 day one night or would you have rather stayed longer?

Kamloops, Canada
Level Contributor
3,890 posts
47 reviews
3. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

It might have been nice to have a bit more time to explore but in general we were happy with the time we had.

Lima, Peru
Destination Expert
for Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Peru
Level Contributor
18,948 posts
538 reviews
4. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

Its a 4 hour drive , each way , to Colca from Arequipa.

I would stay at least 1 night.

Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
5 posts
9 reviews
5. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

We just returned from the area and I think you need at least one night in Colca Canyon. Not only will it take you around 4 hours to get there (much longer if you stop to take photos of the wildlife and incredible scenery) but believe me you do not want to be driving these roads at night- no matter who is driving. Also, to make sure you have the best chance to see condors you have to be in the deepest part of the canyon no later than 7:30 - 8 am. by 9:30 it's over.

We stayed 2 nights but I think even 1 night is worth it. We spent 1 1/2 days in Arequipa but I think you could do it all in 1 day.

7 posts
6. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

A week would be great, but at minimum four nights... a night in Chivay after arrival by bus from Arequipa, day in Yanque (visit hot springs!), stop in Maca and then to Cabanaconde and Cruz del Condor plus a night or two trekking (Oasis, Lake Macara, etc.).

Full travel guide just up online (we just went there) - southamericaliving.com/travel-guide-to-the-c…

Email for more info, Molly

Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
4,337 posts
95 reviews
7. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

If u do the two-day colca tour, u would be back in Arequipa in the late afternoon. Definitely would be nice if u could add two more days. Arequipa is worth spending two days.

Level Contributor
11,773 posts
169 reviews
8. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

I had two nights and would have liked a third night.

I booked my transfer there with Giardino and they have the hotel Mama Yacchi in Coporaque, the hotel is just okay but there is a nice hike in the afternoon and I ADORED my tour guide, Elisabeth. Mama Yacchi may promise more than is delivered in the area of hotel dining, eg no promised bbq and a very limited and not so great dinner menu. The next morning we had to get up too early but there was time for hiking along the edge of the canyon to arrive at Condor Cross at around 9 am. I had them drop me off in Yanque and I did the afternoon hike to Uyu Uyu and stayed in Yanque at Killa Wasi (one of my new favorite hotels in Peru). I would have liked another night at that hotel, which was beautiful and had great food, and to visit some of the smaller towns at leisure. It is possible to get around by local transportation although some tour operators may not want you to know this.

Of course this doesn't include hiking down into the canyon or even visiting Cabanaconde. If you want to do that definitely will want more time.

Another good option to get between Arequipa, Colca Canyon (Chivay) and Puno is 4-M Bus. They only have an office in Arequipa and it seems best to book them through a hotel or an independent travel agent in Peru (be careful they may jack up the price).

I liked Arequipa quite a bit and I think two nights minimum, three better if you have time.

If you like food be sure to visit the market in the morning, a great time to try some local ceviche and Arequipa specialties. One of the nicer markets I've visited in Peru. Also had some tasty dishes at the smaller 10 to 12 soles lunch menu places (try an Americano plate of selections) than at the tourist restaurants which were bland and hugely disappointing.

Edited: 16 December 2011, 03:23
9. Re: How many days do I need in Arequipa for Colca Canyon tour?

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