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Most agencies offering 2- and 3-day trips to Colca Canyon put passengers up at modest hotels in the village of Chivay. If you can afford to step up a notch from budget accommodations, the following rustic inns in and around the canyon -- primarily between Chivay and Cabanaconde -- are the most comfortable and atmospheric places to stay in Colca. Comparatively luxurious, they are by far the best choices if offered by tour operators (often at bargain rates) or if you're traveling to Colca independently.

In the center of Chivay, Casa Andina Classic Colca, Huayna Cápac s/n, Chivay (tel. 866/220-4434 toll-free in the U.S., or 054/531-020; fax 054/531-098; www.casa-andina.com), is the latest entry into the Colca rustic hotel category and an indication that many people in the industry are betting on Colca's further development. It's easily the nicest place in the hub of Chivay. It recently expanded to 52 accommodations in the style that has become so popular in the region: stone walls, thatched roofs, and cozy furnishings with thick wool blankets. The new bungalow-style rooms are slightly larger and have higher ceilings. A double room costs $87. The restaurant features folk music and dance shows as well as a cool planetarium and telescope.

Las Casitas del Colca, Parque Curiña s/n, on the outskirts of Yanque (tel. 01/610-8300 or 054/959-672-480; www.lascasitasdelcolca.com) is easily the most exclusive inn in the valley. All-inclusive and the height of country luxury, it has undergone a stunning transformation in recent years. Its extraordinary casitas (individual thatched-roof bungalows) were inaugurated in 2008. Elegantly decorated and nestled about the property, the 20 casitas have private terraces and plunge pools. They're joined by a spectacular spa and free-form swimming pool. Perched on the lip of the canyon, the ecolodge features solar energy and electricity, a breakfast terrace with gorgeous valley views of extensive gardens, terraced fields, and the river. The kitchen turns out wonderfully fresh dinners and excellent breakfasts using ingredients from the garden, and the lodge also offers horseback riding. Although the place was once an incredible bargain, those days are gone, as is much of the old charming rustic simplicity. Handsome and studiously perfect as the new place is, I miss what it used to be -- as well as the old tariffs! A night in a private casita, with all meals and activities (such as horseback riding, cooking lessons and fly-fishing) included, runs $1,000 double (though much-cheaper deals are usually available online).

Colca Lodge, about 10km (6 1/4 miles) from Chivay (tel. 054/531-191; fax 054/220-407; www.colca-lodge.com), is beautifully situated across the river from Yanque and has one feature no other lodge can match: its own private thermal baths, carved in stone and secluded along the banks of the river. The continually expanding lodge is a very comfortable, eco-style hotel with adobe, stone, and thatched-roof architecture, solar power, and a swank new spa. Its level of luxury is just a small step down from the Las Casitas del Colca, the fanciest lodge in the region (although those hot springs make it a close call). The views of the valley are excellent from nearly everywhere. The hotel also has a sophisticated lodge-style restaurant serving fairly expensive lunches and dinners. The lodge's 29 rooms cost $181 per double (suites from $284).

Giardino Tours books its Colca tour guests at one of the newer country inns in the Colca Valley, La Casa de Mamayacchi, Coporaque (tel. 054/241-206; fax 054/242-761; www.lacasademamayacchi.com). Located just outside the village of Coporaque, it has 50 very comfortable rooms with exposed beams, great views, a fireplace lounge, and an attractive rustic restaurant featuring good local preparations. It's owned by the same folks who run La Casa de Mi Abuela Hotel in Arequipa. Rooms cost $70 per double.

There are just a few hostales and one hotel in quiet Cabanaconde, which will appeal to those who spend a couple of days hiking in the canyon. The top spot is Hotel Kuntur Wassi, La Ladera 360 (tel. 054/812-166 or 054/812-166; www.kunturwassi.com). On a hill above the village, this rambling small hotel, built of adobe and stone, has nicely decorated rooms with high ceilings, faux stone bathrooms, and lots of plants lining the walkways along the property. With a good restaurant and bar overlooking town, it's a nice place to relax after a long hike. The 25 rooms are $55 for doubles, $70 to $100 for suites. Ask about special multi-night package deals. La Posada del Conde, San Pedro at Bolognesi (tel. 054/440-197), is the next best choice in the village: a decent, clean place, with private bathrooms; doubles are a value at $25.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.