Altitude: 3,652 m / 11,979 ft, Population: 6,532, Phone Code: 054
Chivay, capital of the CaÃ±Ã³n del Colca region, is the most popular entry point for the canyon. The town is a bit touristy and shows the wear of world traveler traffic. Those in search of a slightly more laid-back atmosphere should head to Cabanaconde, which is also closer to the Cruz del CÃ³ndor.
As a tourist haven, the town has a variety of hotels, restaurants and bus services. To its credit, Chivay has the only Internet in Colca, the best-equipped clinic, and is the headquarters for police and mountain rescue. Most services are located around the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the 18th-century church, Nuestra SeÃ±ora de la AsunciÃ³n.
In addition to being the first village on the edge of the canyon, Chivay is also the major point linking the two sides. On the opposite side of the bridge is the old Inca road to Cusco and a path that heads up to ancient stone grain stores. Several other Inca storehouses are on the hillside above the trail.
A traditional dance of Chivay is the wititi (or wifalda), which represents the history of a young man dressed as a woman trying to win his girlâ€™s love from another.