Chivay is a good starting point for canyon hikes, both short and long. The view-embellished 7km path to Corporaque on the north side of the canyon starts on the north edge of town. Fork left on the La Calera Hot Springs road, cross the Puente Inca, and follow the fertile fields to the village. Rather than retracing your steps, you can head downhill out of Corporaque past some small ruins and descend to the orange bridge across the Río Colca toward Yanque. From Yanque, on the southern bank, you can catch a passing bus or colectivo (shared transportation) for the 7km return to Chivay (or you can walk along the road). For a quicker sojourn rent a mountain bike in Chivay.
To penetrate further west it’s possible to continue on up the northern side of the canyon from Corporaque to the villages Ichupampa, Lari and, ultimately, Madrigal. Occasional combis (minibuses) run to these villages from the streets around the main market area in Chivay. Another option is to pitch northeast from near the Puente Inca and follow a path along the river to the villages of Tuti and Sibayo.
Want to dangle terrifyingly over the Río Colca while entertaining bathers relaxing below in La Calera Hot Springs? Then try the canyon’s most modern sport – zip-lining. The start point is just past the hot springs, 3.5km from Chivay, but you can organize rides with one of the agencies in town or directly with Colca Zip-Lining.
Though it’s a tiny town, Chivay has plenty of budget guesthouses to choose from and a growing number of excellent-value midrangers. The most convenient cheapies are on Siglo XX, off the plaza, for about S50 for a basic double.
There are no fancy eating options in Chivay. Tour groups tend to head to a (perfectly fine) buffet restaurant for lunch and one with a show for dinner. For menús (set meals), in the market is where to eat with the locals for as little as S5, while traveler-geared restaurants around the plaza offer good menús for S12 to S20.
Drinking & Nightlife
Chivay gets dark and cold as soon as the sun vanishes and the only nightlife is a drink with meals on the plaza. Save any dancing urges for Arequipa.