A Typical Guided Tour of Colca Valley
Most organized tours of the region are very similar, if not identical. The road that leads out of Arequipa and into the valley, bending around the El Misti and Chachani volcanoes, is poor and unbearably dusty. It passes through the Laguna Salinas and Aguada Blanca Nature Reserve, where you'll usually have a chance to see rare vicuñas, llamas, and alpacas from the road. The altiplano landscape is barren and bleak. Most tours stop at volcano and valley lookout points along the way before heading to Chivay.
From Chivay, the valley's main town and the gateway to the region, many organized tours embark on short hikes above the canyon and visit the wonderfully relaxing hot springs of La Calera. Evening visits to the hot springs allow visitors to bathe in open-air pools beneath a huge, starry sky; artificial light in the valley is almost nonexistent. Charming colonial villages in the valley that are often visited by tours include Yanque, Coporaque, Maca, and Lari. Most 2-day tours head out early the following morning for Cruz del Cóndor to see the Andean condors begin to circle around 9am.
Organized tours generally include transportation, an English-speaking guide, hotel accommodations in Chivay or a nearby village (with breakfast), and park entrance fees to Colca and Cruz del Cóndor. Additional meals are extra.
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.