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Transportation in Colca Canyon
You can get to the Colca Canyon by first travelling to arguably Peru's most beautiful city - Arequipa. This city on the Andes is around 7,627 feet above sea level. You can take a flight to Arequipa from Cusco or Lima. Alternatively, you can bus it from Lima along the Pacific coast and the Pan American Highway. En route, some bus will make a stop at Ica, Nazca and Camaná it depends the bus service that you take.
You can travel from one town to another in the Colca Canyon by taking a local tour, taxi or by mountain biking or trekking.
Our Colca Canyon Transportation Guide below tells you all the ins and outs of getting to and around the Colca Canyon, Peru. Joining a Colca Canyon tour will help you get the most out of your Colca Canyon holiday and allow you to explore the area like a local. More general information about getting around Peru can be found in our Peru Transportation Guide.
Colca Canyon Transportation Guide
Getting to the Colca Canyon
Like most visitors coming to the Colca Canyon from Arequipa, you can take a locally led Colca Canyon tour. Alternatively you could hop onto one of the minibuses in Arequipa. The journey north covers 165 km (103 miles) in four hours to the capital of Colca Canyon, Chivay and six hours if you want to take an adventure way to Cabanaconde, the starting point for do trekking tour inside the Colca Canyon.
Regional bus service providers like Reyna, Andalucia and Transportes Colca will transport you to Canon del Colca and other tourist spots nearby. Tickets are cheap, but you will have to get to the bus terminal in Arequipa very early, as the departure time is 2 AM. Buses reach Chivay around 6 PM. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, these buses ply onwards to Cabanaconde, arriving there around 5 PM. The return trip from Cabanaconde to Huambo is made on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. On these days, the buses leave Cabanaconde at 5 AM and arrive in Huambo at 7:30 AM. Daily buses leave Huambo at 8 AM and reach Arequipa at 3 PM.
Getting to Chivay
Chivay is the capital of the province of Caylloma, which lies at the bottom of the canyon. Two hours by bus down the road from here is Cabanaconde, which is south of the canyon. From this point you can easily reach Cruz del Cóndor. Buses plying to and from Arequipa (a three-hour trip) or Cabanaconde (two and half hours) can be boarded at the Chivay bus terminal four times a day. It is a 15-minute walk to the bus terminal from the main plaza. Alternatively, you can catch a combi or a colectivo taxi from the street corners in the market area to the north of the plaza. If you are a biking enthusiast, you can rent a mountain bike too.
Getting to Cabanaconde
The most popular place to begin a trek to the Colca Canyon is Cabanaconde, a bus journey from Chivay to Cabanaconde takes two and half hours, and it takes six hours from Arequipa. Buses are available several times a day, but the departure schedules often change. It would be wise to check the exact timings before you head to the bus terminal. If you would like to stop at one of the towns on the main road or along the southern side of the canyon, all you have to do is ask the bus driver.
Getting Around the Colca Canyon
You can explore canyon country with the help of a private guide or by take a Colca Canyon tour. You could also rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle, or get around by bus. Arequipa is the base from where most tourists head to the Colca Canyon. On your journey, the first town you will encounter is Chivay and it will take you about five four hours to get there from Arequipa.
You will drive through the Reserva Nacional Aguada Blanca y Salinas and across the Patapampa viewpoint located at about 15,830 feet. From this vantage point, you can see almost the entire Valley of Volcanoes. Road conditions are less than ideal, with only about half the route being paved. However, the dirt road towards the Patapampa has been levelled. You will find the final quarter of the ride pretty rocky and it is common to experience problems because of the high altitude, so make sure you acclimatise first. The sensible thing is to carry some drinking water with you. Some of the better hotels in the canyon have a ready supply of oxygen as well.
In Chivay you can get a taxi or maybe a "mototaxi" (small and colorfull minicars carried by a motorcycle) from the area around the Plaza de Armas.
For transport from the airport to the city (or from the city to the airport), we recommend Green Path Transfers, who offer eco-friendly airport transfers in hundreds of destinations around the world.
Terminal Terrestre Arequipa