This is our most popular Colca Canyon excursion and one of our personal favourites, too. The Coporaque community has a place in the hearts of many of our travelers, something you can read more about in this blog article about what happened after a disaster struck in Coporaque.
The good thing about this tour is that you don’t miss out on any of the standard highlights that everybody sees in the Colca Canyon, but you don’t have to continue enduring the masses once you’ve seen them. We take advantage of the tourism facilities by taking shared transportation to and from the Colca Canyon and to the main attractions, but avoid them once you’re free in the afternoon and evening. Also the overnight stays are not in standard hotels in touristy towns but in cosy, comfortable homestays of our beloved hostfamilies. Believe us: this is the best way to visit the Colca Canyon!
If you’d like to be a bit more active, consider our three-day tour with the Sibayo community which includes hiking the lesser-visited Collagua Route.
P.S. When you book a RESPONSible excursion in the Colca Canyon, please select the correct package according to the desired route: one finishes back in Arequipa but the best choice is the one that finalizes in Puno; we’ll drop you off at your hotel in Puno at no extra cost (if located in Puno center). If you book an excursion outside of Puno directly after this one, we can also arrange a drop-off in Juliaca or Cabanillas, please contact us to ensure a smooth transition.
Read our Travel Guide to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon if you’d like some more inspiration on these destinations!
From (your hotel in) the center of Arequipa you will travel to the Colca Canyon with a van (with a maximum of 15 passengers). The English-speaking guide on board will give you a lot of interesting facts along the way and some stops are planned at beautiful places. You will go through a reserve where many vicuñas live in freedom. The snow-covered volcanoes in the background complete this impressive landscape.
Arrival in Chivay, the capital of the Colca Canyon, where the van will stop at a restaurant. But you won’t have lunch there: you will be picked up by members of the Coporaque community and brought to the village with a taxi for lunch with your host family. With a local guide (who only speaks Spanish, translator optional at extra cost), you will explore the village and visit the viewpoint, where you can see the route for the next day at your feet!
Dinner and overnight stay at a local family’s private rooms (hot shower available, though it depends on the sunshine of the day!)
Around 6:00 am you will be brought to Chivay by someone from Coporaque, to go on the excursion to the famous Cruz del Condor. During the ride from Chivay you will make a few stops at interesting spots, but the highlight of the day will most definitely be the flight of the condor! If you are lucky you will see multiple condors flying close to the viewpoint where you will be situated, making use of the thermal winds rising up from the Canyon.
Back in Chivay you will again take a taxi to Coporaque. There you will have a free afternoon. You could make a hike to the thermal baths of Coporaque (10 sol entrance fee), or go horse riding (see below)!
Today is another morning with free time in Coporaque, but then it is time to say goodbye to your host family (and probably new friends). One more time you will take a taxi to Chivay. Today you will take the bus to Puno. The driver will know where you hop on the bus.
This is also a shared bus with other travelers, and a host(ess) on board. Along the way, some photo stops are made to enjoy the wide landscape, characterized by volcanoes and vicuñas.
Upon arrival in Puno, you will be transferred to your hotel (in the city center: hotels outside of Puno at extra cost). Please note that overnight stay in Puno is not included in this excursion.
Coporaque has comfortable and nicely decorated homestay accommodations for you. Almost every room has its own private bathroom ensuite; sometimes the bathroom is outside, but still private. Thick bedding and a hot water bottle in bed are provided; nights tend to be very cold here! Hot water for the shower is provided by a solar system; it generally works pretty well but it’s dependent on the amount of sunshine of the day.
There are rooms with twin beds, double beds and multiple beds. Usually, there is enough space for double occupation. Traveling families might have to share a room if there are other visitors in the same family; which rarely happens.
The guestrooms are located on the compound of the family’s own house; you’ll have to pass outside to reach your rooms. You’ll have your meals in the family’s kitchen.
No, they don’t. So far however, most of our travelers do not opt for an optional translator from Arequipa, since apart from the additional cost that might change the experience. Our host families are very used to having guests that don’t speak Spanish and their Spanish is easy to understand for those who speak other Latin languages.
Of course, learning Spanish beforehand is always a good idea! Use an app like Duolingo to learn the basics before leaving and enhance your experience whilst traveling.
It’s a combination.
The transportation and tours (1st and 2nd morning, 3rd afternoon) are shared tourist transportation from conventional tour agencies. This is by far the most cost-efficient choice.
The Community-Based Tourism side of this excursion is private; your hostfamily will be your guide and make sure you’ll be ready for the next day’s tour. It always works out perfectly.
The contrast will make you value your experience even more; where the other tourists stay in standard hotels and “enjoy” busy thermal baths in their afternoon, you experience an authentic side of the Colca Canyon for just the same.
Yes, the Colca Canyon has entrance fees; currently 70 soles per person. Only children younger than 5 don’t pay.
As mentioned here, those fees are not included in the package price. You can pay them upon arrival to the Colca Canyon, in cash only.
Once you leave Arequipa, you’ll go up and up and travel at high altitudes for several hours. The highest point is almost five thousand meters (16,400 ft) above sea level; you will definitely feel it!
Coporaque, where you’ll stay the afternoons and nights, is situated at an altitude of around 3.580m (11,750 ft) which is (like the rest of the Colca Canyon) quite high. So please, as we always recommend, do make sure you have acclimatized well before leaving for the Colca Canyon. For example by staying two full days and nights in Arequipa! Here are some tips to spend your time in Arequipa well.
Coporaque has the typical Andean climate; when there’s sun it’s warm, when there’s no sun it’s cold. The rainy season is from December to April but occasional rains can occur anytime throughout the year. From May to August night temperatures might go below freezing point.
Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Peru“.
Apart from the altitudes, not at all. You’ll be in a bus most of the mornings and the last afternoon. In the free afternoons you can hike as much (or as little) as you want, it’s adaptable. For those of you that enjoy being active it’s definitely possible to hike and enjoy the outdoors, of course!
The altitude, however, is definitely something to be aware off. For most travelers, the Colca Canyon is the first time they are at altitude. Make sure you take it easy, drink a lot of water and don’t eat too heavyt before leaving for the Colca Canyon. Read more tips about the altitude here.
RESPONS has been working with the Pumachiri families since 2013 and ever since the relationship has been perfect: mutual trust and respect, together working hard to improve every aspect of sustainability and the travelers experience.
Nowadays, Coporaque offers four comfortable homestays with good beds, private bathrooms and great food to travelers of all sorts; and everybody loves the Coporaque Experience. They support their fellow community members in several ways which makes it a very RESPONSible destination.
Don’t doubt longer: this is the place to be in the Colca Canyon!