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Getting Around The Colca Canyon

If you want to do the canyon on your own, be sure to have excellent topographical and trekking maps. (Colca Trek in Arequipa sells both, and owner Vlado Soto is willing to share his knowledge.) Be sure to allow plenty of time to trek the distances. Trekking maps cost approximately $9.50. It is dangerous to walk along the road itself, due to blind curves and lots of dust—and because it cuts inland, away from the rim, you don’t get to see much anyways.

 

An alternative itinerary is to plan to spend a week in the canyon, spending each night in a different village. Take public transportation between towns, and use the villages as base camps for doing hikes in the area.

 

Four buses daily operate between Chivay and Cabanaconde (2-3 hr, $2), and two daily between Chivay and Madrigal on the north rim ($3); both stop at villages along the way. Public colectivos (collective taxis) and combis (minibuses) leave when full: Chivay-Coporaque ($0.80), Chivay-Yanque ($0.60).

In Chivay and the Sibayo district, you can opt for getting around to the La Calera hot springs, colonial bridge and other sites by Llama Taxi. Six of the beasts were put into service in May 2012, and more are expected to be toting tourists around in the future.

In many settlements, mules can be hired to haul you and your pack up and down the steep canyon walls. In some places, like Yanque, horses are also let.

 










By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

01 Jun 2012






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