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Colca Valley: 5 must-see tourist attractions on your trip to Arequipa

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Colca Valley: 5 must-see tourist attractions on your trip to Arequipa

The Colca Valley offers dazzling nature, a living culture, and delicious cuisine as well as relaxing hot springs. You can enjoy experiential tourism as well as adventure sports.


The Colca River Basin is located in the northeastern corner of Arequipa. The highest point in the basin is the snowy Ampato at 6,300 meters above sea level. and the lowest where the Colca and Andamayo rivers converge at 970 meters above sea level.


This valley has a great diversity of flora and fauna, highlighting the condor, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon and the mountain partridge; also finding tarucas and deer.


Due to its terraces, the Colca Valley represents one of the most impressive cultural landscapes on the continent.


The place is the repository of an enormous natural and cultural heritage, clearly highlighting the survival of two fundamental ethnic groups: Collaguas and Cabanas.


How to get to the Colca Valley?

To get to the valley, you must first go to the bus terminal in Arequipa. From there you take a bus to Chivay, four hours from the White City, for S/20.


The ticket from Lima to Arequia by bus lasts approximately 17 hours and the ticket starts at S/50.


Travel Tips

  • Due to the height of the Colca Valley, it is advisable to stay at least one night in the city of Arequipa to acclimatize and not suffer from altitude sickness.
  • The ideal is to leave very early to enjoy the view of the canyon and the flight of the Andean condor.
  • Remember to bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, snacks, water, warm clothing, and cash to buy crafts at local markets.

Where to Stay?

As we already told you, you can stay in the city of Arequipa. Because Arequipa is a very touristy city, accommodations and hotels vary in services and amenities. There are hostels with prices from S/30 in shared rooms.


If you want to be closer to the Colca Valley, you can stay in Chivay, a town located 3700 meters above sea level. This has hostels with affordable prices, and also luxury hotels like the Colca Lodge.


  1. Chivay

The capital of the Caylloma province, Chivay, is the largest town in the Colca Valley. Located four hours from Arequipa, it is the place with the most hotels and restaurants, and offers numerous cultural attractions for visitors.


Colca Valley


Chivay has a simple Plaza de Armas, which has the Chila Mountain Range as a background. In it you can see four columns with protective condors, as well as its old church. Some days you can find witti dancers, the traditional Arequipa dance.


On the other hand, there is also its market, rich in artisanal delicacies, fresh crops, alpaca textiles and souvenirs from the valley. Likewise, Chivay has a planetarium and hot springs, just 5 minutes from town.


  1. Colca Planetarium and Observatory

Located in the Sol de Sacsayhuaman passage in Chivay, this planetarium is attended by Mr. Dante, a passionate about astronomy. It has various equipment with which you can observe the Andean sky, its stars, planets and nebulae.


The data

Admission costs S/25 and the explanation of what will be seen, available in English and Spanish, lasts approximately 45 minutes.

The planetarium opens Monday to Sunday from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.


  1. La Calera Hot Springs Complex

The La Calera hot springs bath, just 4 kilometers from Chivay, is the ideal place to relax surrounded by the Andean mountains and landscapes. With 5 medicinal water pools, most of them exterior and one of them covered, it offers tranquility and well-being. Its waters are rich in iron and sulfur, which is why they contribute to the treatment of diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism.


Peru Tourist Attractions


Take note

The entrance to the complex is only S/15 and the public is served until 7 p.m.

In pool number 5 you can enjoy massages for an additional cost.

It is preferable to attend this complex very early or late in the afternoon, due to the influx of people.


  1. Cruz del Cóndor Viewpoint

This magnificent viewpoint is located 40 kilometers from Chivay and the ideal is to visit it very early (4:00 a.m.) to choose a good place and photograph the magnificent condor during its flight. This animal is visible between 8:00 a.m. and 10 a.m., when it leaves its nest. The Cruz del Cóndor has a cobbled oval from where you can also observe the Coropuna and Ampato volcanoes.


Tourist Attractions in Arequipa


On the other hand, the Mirador de Los Andes is also nearby, at 4910 meters high. From there you can see the entire Volcanic Mountain Range and purchase various textiles made with alpaca and llama.


  1. Trekking tours

This is one of the most complete ways to get to know the beauties of the Colca Valley, since the hikes take place through the hidden towns of the valley. They can last between 3 and 7 hours and involve entering rocky paths to enjoy the biodiversity of this landscape, the snowy mountain range and the Colca River.


Hiking routes can include visits and stays in the towns of Cabanaconde, Sangalle or Yanque. These packages, for the most part, promote experiential tourism, since they allow visitors to share with locals, who offer their homes as lodging and restaurants.



  • To enjoy the canyon's vegetation in all its splendor, it is ideal to visit it between the end of February and the beginning of April.
  • Get to know the Typical Dishes of Arequipa
  • Arequipa gastronomy is recognized throughout the world for its originality and great flavor. You should try the typical dishes such as guinea pig chactado, corn lagua, sarapela soup and alpaca chicharrón. You also cannot miss the desserts such as the purple corn mazamorra, lucuma and sancayo, among other delicacies that will enrich your palate.

It should be noted that in Chivay, where there are more food establishments, you can get menus from S/9.



  • The Church of the Immaculate Conception is a beautiful example of the Baroque that dates back to 1690 and is one of the most important in the Colca Valley. This is located in Yanque.
  • The ruins of Uyo Uyo are located 20 minutes from Chivay, in Yanque. You can visit this ancient citadel, where the Collaguas lived.
  • The hot springs of Chacapi, 2 kilometers from Yanque, reach temperatures of 35 °C and are very good for health due to their richness in calcium, sulfur, chlorine and magnesium.

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