Arequipa & Colca Canyon
Founded on August 5, 1540, by Manuel Garcia de Carbajal, the city’s name comes from the Quechua phrase “Arequipa i” which means “Yes, stay”. It’s not just by chance however that its name has held true throughout time; in the city streets, in its ‘sillar’ walls and in the attitude of it’s people you feel a peculiar energy, a strange impulse, inviting you to stay on in the city.
On the skirts of the western range of the Andes, at the foot of the Misti volcano, Arequipa (2,350 m.a.s.l.), is the capital of the department of the same name. It is a beautiful city of mansions, temples and convents built out of ‘sillar’ – a material of solidified volcanic rock -, and distinguished by a unique architectural style. Arequipa is surrounded by magical countryside giving it a refreshing, bucolic air, there causing people to call Arequipa “La Ciudad Blanca del Peru”(The White City).
On the Arequipa outskirts you’ll find fascinating villages with stepped terraces dating from pre-Inca times that are still used today by farmers from the districts of Chilina, Socabaya, Paucarpata, Characato and Sabandia.
Two of the world’s deepest canyons are found in the department of Arequipa: Cotahuasi, in the province of La Union, and Colca, in the province of Cailloma. The spectacular Valley of the Volcanoes in Andagua, the beaches of Mollendo and Camana and Puerto Inca beach in Caraveli.
Colca Canyon, is a beautiful valley loaded with history. It´s one of the deepest canyons on the planet in its territory, and keeps alive the traditions of a handful of towns of ancestral origins and it is the second deepest in the world, after that of Cotahuasi, both located in the Department of Arequipa, and it is situated along the homonymous valley. Its depth reaches up to 3180 metres, becoming a natural wonder worthy of admiration.
The route linking the City of Arequipa with the Colca Valley goes through Pampa Cañahua, a Natural Reserve that protects the most appreciated South American camelids, the vicuña (Vicugna), which has the finest and most highly regarded fibre in the international market.
One of the first places you should visit is Chivay, the most important town within the valley, which is reached after a three-hour trip from the City of Arequipa. There are tours departing from here bound for the other towns, created as “Indian Reductions” in the XVI century as instructed by Virrey Toledo to house the christened descendants of the Collagua people, of Aymara origins, and the Cabanas, of Quechua origin.
You can also visit the Vantage Point of the Condor’s Cross, at 3287 metres above sea level, from Chivay, a beautiful natural vantage point from where you will be able to admire the majestic flight of the condor (Vultur gryphus). Besides, you will have a privileged view of the imposing Sabancaya and Coropuna Volcanoes.
horseback riding ~ whitewater ~ rafting ~ mountain biking
hiking ~ rafting ~ climbing
Travel Connections provides breakfast and dinner and all transfers during their tours.