Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

Southern Peru’s Arequipa and two canyons, Colca and Cotahuasi, offer plenty to keep travelers occupied for several days, with spectacular scenery, fascinating history and a large number of outdoor activities.

Arequipa is held in high regard for its colonial charm and rich cultural heritage, and is a designated UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. Beautiful colonial churches, convents and mansions, perfectly framed by majestic snow-capped mountains, set Arequipa aside from its neighbors. Arequipa is also a gastronome’s paradise, with unique regional dishes and fine wineries.

The countryside around Arequipa provides plenty of activities for adventure junkies, including climbing snowy volcanoes, rafting in the Valle de Majes, and plenty of day hikes in the countryside and the Reserva Nacional Salinas y Aguada Blanca.

Colca Canyon is famous for its natural beauty, cultural history and adventure trekking. The canyon was largely forgotten until the late 1970s when the area’s first road was built. Due to their relative isolation from the modern world, the people in this region have maintained their ancestral traditions and ways of life. A great way to explore the region is on foot, via the numerous trails that wind their way between villages and to ancient ruins. The most popular point to view the canyon and its famous feathered residents is Cruz del Cóndor. Cotahuasi Canyon‘s raw beauty and isolation attracts off-the-beaten-track travelers. The landscape is strewn with wildlife, waterfalls and pre-Columbian ruins. The canyon’s river has Class V rapids awaiting rafting enthusiasts.