Travel Peru – Colca Canyon Trek

Travel Peru: Colca Canyon Trek

Colca Canyon is a must see for any traveller in the Arequipa region of Peru. It’s not quite near Arequipa, but it was the best embarkment point for the trek. To give you a little lesson in geography, Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world at 3270 metres deep. It’s deeper than the Grand Canyon in Arizona and reaches an altitude of 6288 metres high.  

Condor Mirador Del Cruz Sign

Travellers wanting to visit Colca Canyon have two options. The first is a visit to the Mirador Cruz Del Condor lookout point where there is a high likely hood of seeing condors. You’ll drive around and visit some other viewpoints and then head back to Arequipa. The second option is a two day trek of the canyon which includes all meals except for lunch on the second day as well as an overnight stay at a rustic lodge deep in the canyon.

Mirador Cruz Del Condor Viewpoint

Day 1

Mike & I figured we might never be back at Colca Canyon so we might as well experience the hike! Those of us from LBW who opted for the trek were picked up from the Los Andes hostel in Arequipa at 3:30am. It was so early! Luckily we were able to sleep on the bus for about four hours before the tour bus stopped in Chivay for breakfast.

I must be extremely Westernized because I expected some sort of breakfast buffet with eggs, toast, and hash browns or something like that. Instead we were fed a basket of bread with jam. The bread was hollow, so it really wasn’t all that filling. We all assumed the bread was an appetizer, and after about fifteen minutes we asked when the rest of the food was coming and the staff looked at us like we were crazy! They told us we could buy eggs for an additional price. The running joke with our tour bus was to always question exactly what is included when you are told meals and lodging are included. There was also warm, thick quinoa juice.

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After a disappointing breakfast we hopped back on the bus and were taken to the Mirador Cruz Del Condor viewpoint. There’s no guarantee that travellers will see condors flying in the canyon, them being wild animals and all, but fortunately we saw three! They were distant but we were very much in awe watching them glide through the canyon. The viewpoint was packed with tourists wanting photos of the condors.

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Locals were selling goods at the viewpoint as well

An hour passed and we hopped back on the bus. We drove for a short time through the valley and high up to our starting point for the hike where we met Frank, our guide for the next two days.

Colca Puppy

I don’t have a lot of pictures of the hike itself. The side of the mountain had no rails like many mountain paths do in Canada and the drop off the side was steep. At one point I tried to get a picture of a random puppy on the first stretch down the mountain and I tripped and ripped the knees of my jeans. That’s when I decided No More Pictures!

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It was a smart decision, the first 5km was a steep downhill decline and I had to watch my feet closely to avoid stumbling. We breezed past most of our LBW friends and arrived at the bridge that was out first resting point twenty minutes early. Afterwards it was another 2km to lunch.

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12 thoughts on “Travel Peru – Colca Canyon Trek

  1. Haha, I do remember seeing dogs everywhere when we were in Peru. I opted for just going up to the lookout, as the Machu Picchu hike was more than enough for me. Food inclusion packages were always a bit sketchy when I was there too. Well done on completing the hike!! Definitely an incredible achievement 🙂

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    1. I wish we had been able to do the Machu Picchu hike! We’re hoping to return to Peru one day and do just Machu Picchu and the Amazon. I heard that the Machu hike was pretty tough from some travelers we ran into at Colca canyon!
      Moral of the story with food is: Bring your own food! xD
      Thanks for reading 🙂

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  2. I know what you mean about being Westernized – in Japan they offer fish for breakfast… what? 😮 This is why we always pack Clif bars whenever we travel – just to be safe.
    Condors and vultures in general freak me out!
    Oh ouch on the tripping – yes, there are times when it doesn’t pay to photograph. I’ve had to put my camera away whenever I’m at risk of hurting myself or losing my camera. 😛

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    1. Haha fish for breakfast? I can’t even imagine! 😄
      We had some granola bars with us luckily, we needed them!
      The condors were pretty far away, i think I would have been freaked out too if they were up close
      Exactly, it was one of those experiences you just have to experience through your own eyes instead of the camera lens. I didn’t want to fall off the cliff by accident 😂

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  3. Really enjoyed reading more about your trip! I can’t believe the hikes you did! You should definitely be proud. It probably would have killed me haha. The hot springs sound absolutely amazing. I’ve always wanted to go in a hot spring! The dogs everywhere definitely break my heart. I would have probably tripped trying to take a picture as well lol.

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    1. It was so challenging! I don’t know how people had the energy to go mountain biking the next day, I certainly didn’t 😂 The hot springs were so nice! I love going to the hot springs in Jasper & Banff when I get the chance, I haven’t been in years though.
      Poor dogs 😦

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      1. Jasper and Banff are on my list of places to visit! They look amazing in pictures! I’ve been to Alberta before but only drove through and stopped in Medicine Hat a long time ago to visit family.

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      2. You have to go one day! There’s so many great places to camp and visit. I also love camping at Redstreak campground in BC, it’s just outside of Radium hot springs. In Banff & Jasper we have the Miette and the Banff upper hot springs but they tend to be way too hot for me! Unfortunately going to the rockies has been a bit risky the last year or so because of all the forest fires 😦

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