Adventure in the Colca Valley
The Colca Valley is a destination that combines the richness of natural scenery, towns and people of ancient customs, sources of thermal waters and excellent scenaries for adventure sports, route of beautiful andean landscapes, zone of volcanoes and snow-capped mountains, and easy observation of vicuñas in the wild or birds of high andes in the area of Pampa Toqra.
The Colca valley has an unsurpassed scenic beauty, the archaeological legacies of the Collaguas are clearly seen, the ancient inhabitants of the region, the bucolic colonial villages of living culture, mysterious petroglyphs, caves where you can find colcas and pre-hispanic terraces, where they are still sowing.
The Colca Valley is located in the north-eastern end of the Region of Arequipa, province of Caylloma, 165 kilometers from the city of Arequipa and 40 km from Chivay the main town and capital of the province of Caylloma.
The highest point of the Colca Valley is the nevado Ampato (6288 m.a.s.l), and the lowest the confluence of the rivers Colca and Andamayo (970 masl).
Thermal baths La Calera:
After an unforgettable hike through the Colca Canyon, the hot springs of La Calera have the perfect temperature to replenish the energies. Its waters come from the Cotallumi volcano. It has an initial temperature that is around 80 °C to 85 °C, but in its course this decreases to 38 °C. They contain beneficial minerals for the skin, the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. The waters contain 30 % calcium, 19 % zinc and 18 % iron.
Church of the Inmaculada Concepción (Yanque):
Rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. It has a rectangular-shaped nave with a Latin crossfloor plan, embedded chapels forming the arms of the transept, sacristy and contra-sacristy. It has two towers, a bell tower each, straight buttresses, to consolidate the high side walls, and a shelter arch on buttresses that protects the front side.
Church of Santa Ana (Maca):
Built in 1760, of romanesque style with strong mestizo influence. Is located longitudinally to the main square of Maca. It is surrounded by a wall of ashlar, which has decorative elements in the form of large planters. Its plant is a Latin crossfloor, and the altar with gold leaves and canvasses of the Cusco School highlight the interior.
Mirador Cruz del Condor:
From here you can appreciate the canyon in all its splendor. In addition, it is a strategic point to observe the lay-out of the iconic condor, bird of ancient great size, which cuts through the air, taking advantage of the thermal updrafts.
Listed as the deepest canyon in America, reaches 4 to 160 metres in its highest point, in the town of Canco. The Mountain range of the Chila (Bomboya, Serpregina, Mismi, Quehuisha) is located on its left and on the other side the Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya and Ampato. You can see Mount Ubinas and beautiful Mount Coropuna in the distance. It’s viable to start hiking into the Colca Canyon from the district of Cabanaconde.
Archaeological site of Uyo Uyo:
The citadel of the “Collagua” culture has compartments intended for ceremonial use, and housing. Stone field, especially spherical and of different colors was used for its construction. It embraces a magnificent composition of landscape and ecological, ideal for hiking.
District of Sibayo:
The birthplace of the emblematic Rumillaqta neighborhood (The Stone Village). It is characterized by its buildings of stone and mud with thatched roofs. Its streets retain the same layout since its foundation in Cologne (1776). Highlights:
The colonial Church of St. John the Baptist:
Restored in the middle of XVIII century. It has an atrium of great extent, it performed the function of the atrium cemetery, and allowed the development of the collaguas funerary rituals. Built in ashlar stone, It has a Latin-cross layout.
Ecomuseum of the “collagua” Culture and Craft Center, Away Wasi:
In this interpretation centre, the visitor can observe and participate in the process of transformation of the alpaca fibre, according to traditional techniques.
The cultural manifestations of the original inhabitants of the Colca valley are the terraces, which are gigantic land extensions that cover a great part of the valley. Its construction dates back to the time of the Collaguas and Canaguas, others are more ancient and were built by the incas.
Flora and fauna:
The most important and remarkable inhabitant is the condor (vulturgryphus), the master of the heights and the flying bird of larger size in the Andes. They are also worthy of mention the LequeLeque (vanellusresplendens), Guallatas (Chloephagamelanoptera), andean flamingo or parihuana (Phoenicoparrusandinus) and among the mammals we can mention the andean fox or atoq, the skunk or añas, wild cats or osjos, vicuña, taruca, vizcacha, cuy silvestre, among others.
It was declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2015), the traditional Dance the Wititi is one of the cultural manifestations of more complex and widespread of the Valley of the Colca, Caylloma, Arequipa. It is danced in groups of couples during the main religious festivals of the rainy season, so that has social meanings and rituals linked to the agricultural cycle and the courtship loving among young people.
The main character of the dance and for whom it is named, is the wititi, a man whose dress is made up of two skirts female overlapping, a shirt, a sling and a montera. It is said that the use of women’s clothing was a strategy that allowed the male to approach and woo the young girls without being perceived, another version recounts that the use of the skirt was a tactic of defense against the attack of foreign enemies, so the Wititi Dance is also a representation of strength and battle-hardened character of the locals.
What activities can I do in the Colca valley?
The Colca canyon offers the adventurer a geography rugged with beautiful scenery, real challenges, that will make this place the exclusive space for adventure, excitement, and adrenaline.
Being able to go trekking, horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing, horse with flames, cargo, observation of flora and fauna, see geysers, waterfalls, visiting areas, prehistoric and archeological sites.
When to go?
Colca canyon can be visited at any time of the year, but it is best doing it between march and June, as that is where the condors abound and the area is running green from the rainy season (which ends in march). That would be the ideal season since the sighting of the condor, the biggest bird in the world, is one of the insignia of the Colca canyon.
You should also know that during the day everything tends to be sunny, but the weather drops quite a lot during the night, especially between June and August when temperatures can drop to zero degrees.
How to get there?
151 km from Arequipa to Chivay (3 hours by car and 3 hours and 30 min by public bus).
42 km from Chivay to the Viewpoint of the Cruz del Condor (1 hour and 30 min on mobility in particular)
On one’s own-account: From the bus terminal of the city of Arequipa, take a bus to the town of Chivay with an approximate cost of 10 to 15 soles, and a journey of 3 hrs.
In Chivay you can find out where to stay, eat, or relax in the hot springs of the town, but the most important thing is that from here you can start the route of the viewpoints, getting to the cruz of the condor and other nearby villages.
Hiring a travel operator: Definitely the most recommended and secure option, because they are qualified and trained to take you to this archaeological site in a better way and are able to solve any inconvenience in the best possible manner.
The least recommended is taking a taxi, some taxi drivers offer “individual tours” but the costs are very high.
Use trekking shoes, which will protect you every step of the way.
Wears light clothing at the same time warm clothes (you never know when you will need them) specially cotton clothes.
Because of the constant changes of temperature you should carry warm clothes (jacket, gloves, hats, or chullos, socks, warm pants),
Hydrate, take small sips of water on the road.
Carry snacks, nuts or energy bars that will give you strength in the way.
Apply sunscreen every 2 hours minimum, and bring along a cap or hat to protect yourself from the solar radiation.
Do not leave trash in the place take care of the Environment!
It is undisputed the wonders that we have throughout the peruvian territory, in addition the beautiful “Cotahuasi Canyon” is also considered without doubt. An excellent place to visit and also to enjoy nature and feel at peace.
For this and the different tours within the wider national territory, contact Inkayni Peru Tours. Born in Cusco, this company is dedicated to make your trip the most pleasurable and comfortable with our trained professionals, we will advise you each time, always ensuring your satisfaction, comfort and security within our service.