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Getting to and away from the Colca Canyon

Most people who visit the Colca Canyon go on an organized tour from Arequipa. It is possible to go on your own with public transportation, however. Note that the road goes up to nearly 5,000 meters (16,400 ft), and that roads may ice up during the colder night hours.



Buses depart Arequipa from that city’s Terminal Terrestre. Double check departure times and buy your ticket at least one day before. The companies Reyna (Tel: 054-430-612), Andalucía (Tel: 054-424-932) and Milagros (Tel: 054-298-090) make the run to Chivay (4-6 hr, depending on road and weather conditions, $6); some continue to Cabanaconde (6-8 hr, $7). In general, buses depart at 2 a.m., 6 a.m., 8 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m.


Be insistent in getting a ticket for the time you want to leave and not get pressured into buying one for 2 a.m. Bus companies try to con tourists into buying 2 a.m. ticket, saying if they leave at any other time, they’ll miss the condors. What you will miss out on is seeing the magnificent scenery between Arequipa and the canyon, and run the risk of accident because of icy roads and tired driver. The best times to leave is at 6 a.m. or 8 a.m.


Returning to Arequipa, nine buses depart from Chivay 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Only a few of these originate in Cabanaconde. Again, it is best to avoid traveling during dark hours. It is not necessary to advance purchase return ticket to Arequipa.



To Puno:

4M Express has daily service between Chivay and Puno (Chivay-Puno 1:30 p.m., Puno-Chivay 6:30 a.m. $40), as well as daily runs between Chivay and Arequipa ($25). It has an an office in Arequipa (Ca Santa Catalina 120. Tel: 054-452-296, Cel: 959-746-336 / 959-746-330, E-mail:, URL: Reservations may also be made online or in Chivay.


Colca Trek and Colonial also do reserve runs between Puno and Chivay; check to see if there might be an extra seat.

01 Jun 2012

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