This is for what Arequipa in Peru is also know. We absolutely loved that little journey in the backcountries of Peru. Living right next to an active volcano (yes you can see the fume), many hours away from the next big city, in the middle of the second largest canyon in the world. This is amazing.
We did a 2d/1n tour with Giardino, which was fine, but if you have the time, just spend there a week or so and explore it for yourself – DIY style. If you take a local bus it’s just 17 Soles each way and you’ll find a lot of hostels, hotels, hospedajes etc. in Chivay, Coporaque, Yanque or Cabanaconde or even down in the canyon itself, if you want to trek (Oasis, Sangalle, Llahual).
With the tour we started at 7 am. We could leave our backpacks in our bed & breakfast, which was really comfy. On the way we made some nice stops to drink Coca tea and spot wild Vicuñas, Guanacos and Alpacas.
We stopped at the volcano viewpoint, which is at 4.900m above sea-level and got some nice views into the coca valley and the canyon.
We heard a lot of interesting stories and learned a lot about the Inkan culture. For example, that they used holes in the volcanic stone as refrigerators and even for burring the dead – they left a bit open, so that the sun could get in – because of the soul. We learned a lot about herbs, plants, animals, culture,… I guess it’s a bit of luck, which tour operator or guide you get. We stopped in Chivay and visited the local market to taste some fruits.
After that we had lunch in Coporaque at Mamma Yachi’s (which was really good).
We then went for a short walk in direction to Yanque, where we had amazing views and got a bit of that breathless feeling and what it means to trek on 3.500m on the first day. After that we headed for the hot springs nearby, which was a pleasure 😉 then had dinner and fell asleep right away.
In the morning we visited Chivay church, watched some local dancing (the school children do that to earn some money), took some obligatory alpaca baby pics and then headed to the famous Cruz del Condor where we watched the giant birds fly and went for another short trek along the canyons edge.
On the way back, we stopped in Maca and at some view points, we got some lunch in Chivay and then went straight back to Arequipa with some Alpaca stops again. 😉
We recommend to stay at least a few days in that area. We really loved it.
We stayed 5 nights in Arequipa and 1 night at Coporaque in total, but could have done much more in the Canyon itself.