When you’re in Arequipa, you can’t miss a trip to Colca Canyon (Cañon del Colca), a stunning natural wonder that’s twice as deep as the USA’s Grand Canyon. This overnight trip is a great way to get there and experience southern Peru’s beautiful highland landscapes, villages and wildlife. You’ll visit a wildlife reserve and admire colonial architecture in two highland villages; see and learn about Andean condors; walk on the base of a volcano; and, of course, enjoy spectacular views of Colca Canyon. Transport and two lunches are included in the tour price but overnight accommodation is not; please see Additional Information below for more details.
Day 1: Arequipa – Colca Valley (L)After pickup from your hotel by minivan or coach, depending on group size, you’ll make your way north of Arequipa to the Colca Valley. The spectacular drive to Colca will have you glued to your window as you drive through two skirts of volcanoes - Chachani and Pichu Pichu.Pass through the Pampa Cañahuas Vicuna Reserve, where you’ll see vicunas (a relative of the llama) roaming freely in the highlands. Then drive past typical Peruvian villages on your way to the town of Chivay, where you’ll enjoy lunch and then have the rest of the day free to relax, get acquainted with the town and your accommodation, and have dinner on your own. If you wish, visit the nearby hot baths (own expense; your guide can provide information on this if you’re interested); if you have chosen to stay at the Colca Lodge Hotel, you can enjoy its private hot springs. Overnight: Your selected accommodation in Chivay or at the Colca Lodge Hotel (not included)Day 2: Colca Valley – Arequipa (L)Wake up early for the highlight of your day – a glorious view of Colca Canyon. Head with your guide to the Condor Cross viewpoint, which 3,960 feet (1,200 meters) high boasts fabulous views of the canyon, one of the deepest in the world. In addition to the canyon vistas, you’ll also hopefully catch sight of condors flying through the air. Symbols of the Andes, these enormous birds have wingspans of up to 10.5 feet (3.2 meters), and Condor Cross is one of the best places in the area to see them! Next, visit the villages of Maca (Achoma) and Yanque, where you can admire their well-preserved colonial churches before enjoying lunch and relaxing on the drive back to Arequipa, where your tour ends.