Welcome to El Valle de los Volcanes
The 65km-long valley surrounds the village of Andagua, near the snowy summit of Coropuna. Visitors seeking a destination full of natural wonders and virtually untouched by travelers will rejoice in this remote setting. From Andagua, a number of sites can be visited by foot or car. It is possible to hike to the top of the perfectly conical twin volcanoes which lie about 10km from town, though don’t expect a clear-cut trail. Other popular hikes are to a nearby mirador at 3800m and to the 40m-high Izanquillay falls which are formed where the Río Andahua runs through a narrow lava canyon to the northeast of town. There are some chullpas (funerary towers) at Soporo, a two-hour hike or half-hour drive to the south of Andagua. En route to Soporo are the ruins of a pre-Columbian city named Antaymarca. An alternative way to enter the valley is by starting from Cabanaconde, crossing the Cañón del Colca, then hiking over a 5500m pass before descending into El Valle de los Volcanes. This trek requires at least five days (plus time for proper acclimatization beforehand), and is best to attempt with an experienced guide and pack mules.
There are several cheap and basic hostels and restaurants in Andagua, including the recommended Hostal Volcanes. Camping is also possible, though you will need plenty of water and sun protection. To get to the valley from Arequipa, take a Reyna bus to Andagua (S45, 10 to 12 hours) which departs from Arequipa around 4pm. Return buses leave Andagua around 2pm. Some tour companies also visit El Valle de los Volcanes as part of expensive tours in 4WDs that may also include visits to the Cañón del Cotahuasi and Chivay.