Peru: Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Select Experience Tour, Peru: Arequipa & Colca CanyonSelect Experience Tour, Peru: Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Peru

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

overview

The western Andes of southern Peru combine breathtaking scenery and fascinating history—where the exquisite colonial architecture of Arequipa, the “White City,” fronts a landscape dominated by towering, snowcapped volcanoes. Peru’s most elegant city, Arequipa is a UNESCO Human Heritage site known for its blend of Spanish-colonial influences and indigenous cultures. Travel on to Colca Canyon, the planet’s second deepest at more than 13,000 feet, where Andean condors soar and ancient terraced slopes fade into the distance below. This area is the “world’s alpaca capital,” the soft wool found in the handicraft markets of the region’s colorful and historic villages.

Activity Level
Activities vary and
are accessible to
most fitness levels;
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Meet
Arequipa, Peru
Depart
Arequipa, Peru
Daily Itinerary
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5 days, 4 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Four breakfasts and two lunches (Days 2 and 3)
  • Accommodations for four nights
  • Private guided walking tour of historical center of Arequipa
  • Private guided walking tour of historical center of Arequipa
  • Colca Canyon guided exploration and guided visits of Maca and Chivay
  • Private transportation from the meeting point to the departure point (including airport transfers on arrival and departure)
  • Monument entrance and park fees as noted in the itinerary
  • Basic travel insurance coverage
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the CW staff
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $0 

*Surcharges may apply for New Year’s, Christmas, or other national holidays

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
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2
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
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3
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
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4
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
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5
Arequipa & Colca Canyon
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Day 1

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Arrival in Arequipa; Private guided walking tour of historical city center

Upon arrival into Arequipa, you are met and transferred to your hotel in the heart of the city, Peru’s second largest after Lima. Picturesque Arequipa, situated at almost 8,000 feet, is known as the “White City” for the white volcanic stone out of which many of its buildings are constructed. After some free time to refresh and have lunch depending on the time of your arrival, you set off on a private (1-2 hour) guided walking tour of Arequipa’s historical center—declared a UNESCO Human Heritage site for its rich mix of Spanish and indigenous cultures. As you learn about the history of the city and region, the tour takes in the main square, the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the famous maze-like Compañia Cloisters, the Santa Catalina Nunnery, and the San Camilo Market. Following the guided walking tour, you may wish to visit the Santuarios Andinos Museum that houses the famous “Ice Maiden” mummy, named Juanita, who was found nearly perfectly preserved during an expedition on the slopes of the 20,665-foot Mount Ampato volcano in 1995 and believed to be the victim of Incan human sacrifice. Exposed only because of rapidly melting ice from the heat of a nearby erupting volcano, the mummy has provided researchers enormous insight into Incan culture through the analysis of her DNA. You continue your exploration of Arequipa with an evening of independent dining.

Libertador Hotel Arequipa

Arequipa, Peru

An elegant five-star hotel set among extensive landscaped grounds and gardens with a large swimming pool and full spa facilities in the heart of a park in Arequipa’s historical center.

Day 2

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Travel from Arequipa to Colca Canyon with a stop in Yanque; optional walk to Uyo Uyo ruins, easy, 2 hours

This morning, you depart Arequipa for the approximately five-hour drive to the Colca Valley. Stopping along the way to enjoy the unfolding scenery, you soon learn the difference between vicuñas and alpacas, the Altiplano’s wool-bearing animals, as well as viewing the volcanoes in the distance, and tasting the local tea to help adjust to the altitude. At Chivay, the capital of the Colca Valley, you make a longer stop for lunch, then continue on to your hotel in the nearby town of Yanque, in its beautiful riverside location.

Upon arrival, you may wish to unwind in the lodge’s lovely grounds and enjoy its exclusive hot springs or a spa treatment (massage and other treatments available at your expense) after the day’s drive. Or, if you would like to stretch your legs, an optional two-hour walk is available directly from the hotel to the Uyo Uyo ruins. Following an easy path through the ancient agricultural terraces of the surrounding hillsides that are still farmed in the traditional manner, you can explore the pre-Incan stones and citadel. Descending to the Chininia Bridge spanning the deep Colca River, you see the colcas for which the river was named, which are hollowed-out grain-storage caves, as well as ancient tombs. You then wind your way back to your hotel, where later you enjoy dinner in the hotel’s excellent dining room.

Colca Lodge

Valle del Colca, Peru

Situated on the banks of the Colca River, this architecturally designed and geothermally heated eco-spa is set amidst landscaped grounds, with its own hot springs, spa facilities, and excellent restaurant, convivial bar, and views of surrounding Colca Valley.

Day 3

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon guided exploration; Guided visits of Maca and Chivay

An early start to exploring the Colca Canyon improves your chances of spotting condors. The Western Andes’ Colca Canyon is one of the world’s deepest at 13,640 feet. Its dramatic landscapes are the habitat of the endangered Andean condor—the world’s largest flying bird, with a wingspan of up to 11 feet. About an hour’s drive takes you to the Condor’s Cross, the natural observation point for viewing condors and getting a sense of the canyon’s grandeur, where with patience (and tips from your guide), you may observe these giant black birds of the vulture family. From there, a one-hour walk follows along the edge of the canyon, where you can see and learn more about local flora and fauna and take in the breathtaking scenery.

Continuing on by van to Yanque, you stop along the way to view the “magic lagoons” and sweeping views of the valley and terraces, and also to visit the colonial-era church in the nearby village of Maca. After a picnic lunch at a scenic overlook, you cross to the other side of the canyon en route to Chivay, the hot-springs town through which the Incan road to Cusco passes. A first walk takes you to some archaeological remains, and then, coming into Chivay, a walking tour introduces you to the town, with its 18th-century church and local market. Afterward, a short drive returns you to your lodge, where you can enjoy its hot springs before dinner.

Colca Lodge

Valle del Colca, Peru

Situated on the banks of the Colca River, this architecturally designed and geothermally heated eco-spa is set amidst landscaped grounds, with its own hot springs, spa facilities, and excellent restaurant, convivial bar, and views of surrounding Colca Valley.

Day 4

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Transfer from Colca Canyon to Arequipa

This morning you may choose to indulge in a last treatment at your lodge’s geothermally heated spa; massage and body treatments are available (at your expense), as well as a Jacuzzi, sauna, and the outdoor hot springs. Departing Colca Canyon, you return to Arequipa around noontime, where you are free to step out and enjoy lunch in the historical center and continue your independent exploration of the city. Some options are visiting the Andinos museum, shopping for local chocolates and alpaca handicrafts, or simply strolling through Arequipa. The Santuarios Andinos Museum houses the famous “Ice Maiden” mummy, named Juanita, who was found nearly perfectly preserved during an expedition on the slopes of the 20,665-foot Mount Ampato volcano in 1995 and believed to be the victim of Incan human sacrifice. Exposed only because of rapidly melting ice from the heat of a nearby erupting volcano, the mummy has provided researchers enormous insight into Incan culture through analysis of her DNA. Later, you can enjoy a final evening in the southern Altiplano with dinner at your hotel or nearby in the city center.

Libertador Hotel Arequipa

Arequipa, Peru

An elegant five-star hotel set among extensive landscaped grounds and gardens with a large swimming pool and full spa facilities in the heart of a park in Arequipa’s historical center.

Day 5

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Departure from Arequipa

In the morning, depending on your flight time, you may have time for a final stroll around Arequipa, until being transferred to the airport for your flight to Lima or other connections.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

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