colca"
HOME / DESTINATIONS / PERU
Spanish Heritage and the Colca Canyon
4 Days

Embark on a fascinating exploration of the ruggedly beautiful land around Arequipa and the Colca Canyon

 
About

Visit the colonial city of Arequipa to see some of the most important colonial sites in Peru such as the Santa Catalina Convent. Later shop for fine alpaca and vicuna garments at a factory store producing the latest fabrics for the top European designers. Embark on a fascinating exploration of the ruggedly beautiful land around Arequipa and the Colca Canyon. Travel through the National Reserve Salinas & Aguada Blanca surrounded by snowcapped volcanoes and see the elegant wild vicuna grazing the wide expanses of the "altiplanos" or high plains. Venture along the rim of the indescribable Colca Canyon, one of the deepest gorges in the world and home to the Cabanas and Collaguas indigenous communities and the Andean Condor. Witness the engineering genius of the pre-Incas in the form of irrigation canals and terraces still in use today. Spend two unforgettable nights at a small, secluded lodge nested near the canyon walls.

Highlights

  • tour of colonial Arequipa and historical Santa Catalina convent
  • visit the Andean Sanctuary Museum
  • drive across the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca
  • search for vicuñas
  • explore the rim of the Colca Canyon
  • go to Cruz del Condor in search of the majestic condor
  • interact with Cabana and Collaguas native cultures which inhabit the Colca region
  • enjoy time at the hot springs
  • shop for high quality alpaca garments

 
Day 1

Arequipa
Upon your arrival in Arequipa meet a Mondo Verde Expeditions LLC (MVE) representative at the airport’s exit. Transfer from the airport to your hotel. You will spend the rest of the morning relaxing and acclimatizing to the altitude. Arequipa is located in a beautiful valley at 7,200ft. on the foothills of the Andes mountains. From the city one can view the perfect cone shaped Misti volcano (17,500 feet) the Chachani Mountain (18,288 feet) and Pichu-Pichu (17,010 feet).

You will meet your guide for lunch. After lunch you will have a guided city tour. One of the most important Colonial sites in the city of Arequipa is the Santa Catalina Convent. This convent is one of the most impressive religious monuments in Peru. Founded in 1579 under the advocacy of Santa Catalina de Siena. It remained closed to the public until 1970. With a surface area of 20,426 square meters, it has kept intact the characteristics of the XVI and XVII centuries. Narrow streets, plazas and gardens with Spanish names that remind us of the ancient districts of Seville or Granada, appear successively throughout the visit. For four hundred years the Spanish noble men of Arequipa sent their daughters and sisters here, to be locked away from the cares and temptations of the world. Although they took vows of poverty, the nuns lived in a sumptuous world of silk curtains and fine carpets, with personal maids who serve them with porcelain and silver.

We also visit the Andean Sanctuary Museum housing the frozen, well-preserved sacrificed body of the pre-Ica young woman named Juanita best known as the Ice Maiden. Juanita was killed as an offering to the Inca gods sometime between 1450 and 1480, at approximately 11–15 years old. She was discovered on the Ampato Mountain of southern Peru in1995 by anthropologist Johan Reinhard and his Peruvian climbing partner, Miguel Zárate. The body caused a sensation in the scientific world due to its well-preserved condition. In 1995, Time magazine chose it as one of the world's top ten discoveries.

Later in the evening we return to our hotel. Free time for dinner. We will provide you with a list of the best restaurants located walking distance from your hotel. Overnight in Arequipa

L included


 
Day 2-3

Arequipa - Colca Canyon
Early morning transfer from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon. The Colca is one of the most culturally unique and geographically diverse areas in Peru. You will have the opportunity to interact with Quechua and Aymara people in their natural environment, living as they have for hundreds of years. This experience will be enhanced by the sheer beauty of the Colca region which is surrounded by high mountains, active volcanoes, diverse fauna and flora such as: wild vicunas, vizcachas, condors, hawks, falcons, three types of flamingos, puna ibis, giant coot and andean goose just to name few. The vegetation also is varied and includes: the nopal cactus providing the locals with the fruit called tuna; the cochineal red colorant used for their weavings; and the high altitude grass or "ichu", essential to the diet of the wild vicunas, domestic llamas and alpacas.

During your stay in the Colca Canyon you will have time to relax and enjoy the hot spring. The hot pools at your lodge are located down by the Colca River. The views and natural surroundings are spectacular. The three pools are built of stone.  Each pool has a different temperature, between 36 and 39 degrees Celsius. Dinner and overnight in the Colca Canyon.

B,L,D included


 
Day 4

Colca Canyon - Arequipa – *Flight Out
Morning return to Arequipa. The road will go over a pass with an altitude of 15,888 feet. The scenery from this point is spectacular, with a full view of the Colca Valley and the high Andes. You will have a chance to visit the few people living in this harsh environment. At this altitude the main activity for these hardy people is the tending of the herds of llamas and alpacas. Peru is home to 70% of all the alpacas in the world and has three of the most prized fibers-llama, alpaca and vicuna. The alpaca fabrics produced in Arequipa are exported to the fashion centers in Milan and Paris where they are highly regarded for their quality. Lunch in Arequipa. Later in the afternoon time to shop before transferring to airport flight out.

B,L included


 
Included

All hotel accommodations based on double occupancy. Meals as specified in the itinerary, B=Breakfast; L= Lunch; D=Dinner. All transfers. Private guide for the duration of the program. Private transportation and transfers for the duration of the program.


 
Not included

International or domestic airfares, airport departure taxes or visa fees, excess baggage charges, additional nights during the trip due to flight cancellations, alcoholic beverages or bottled water, snacks, insurance of any kind, laundry, phone calls, radio calls or messages, reconfirmation of flights and items of personal nature. Tips


 
*Note

We are able to provide you with the option to continue by land from the Colca Canyon to Puno/Lake Titicaca. We can also arrange for you to spend more time on day 4 at the Colca Canyon with a return to Arequipa later in the day where you will spend the night and catch an early flight out to Cusco the next morning.


 
Basics

Pricing upon request
No fixed departure dates. You choose when you want to go. There can be just two of you or a group of friend. You can also plan it as a family vacation. We are flexible and able to make adjustments to the program in order for us to meet all your needs and expectations.


 
Moderate

Journey requires moderate walking.


 
Arequipa and Colca Predeparture Information

Activity level
All participants must be in good physical condition and be well coordinated. Journey requires getting in and out of buses, moderate walking on uneven terrain at relatively high altitudes in the city of Arequipa and higher elevations in the Colca. Canyon.  Arequipa is located at 7,200 feet above sea level. The streets in the historical district of Arequipa are for the most part level but narrow. Trails to visit the most important sites in the Colca Canyon are located at an average altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level.  To reach the Colca Canyon you go over the Puna region with reaches it’s high point at about 15,000 feet above sea level.  For the most part the trails in the Colca Canyon are dirt tracks or uneven cobblestone paths. All archaeological sites and the Cruz del Condor are exposed to the elements. There is not much walking involved during the visit to the Colca Canyon but all participants must be in reasonable shape because of the altitude.

Travelers with health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and weight problems should consult their physician before traveling. It is very important and your responsibility to provide us with accurate information in order to make available to you proper advice. The length of walking activities may fluctuate from 1 to 2 hour walks according to the day activities. Always ask your guide before departure what to expect.

Before you depart for an extended vacation, you should consult your physician.  Make the doctor’s appointment no less then 8 week before departure.  You will need some prescriptions, inoculations and perhaps some special advice that relates to your own physical condition.

If you have any special conditions or allergy that might require attention overseas, have your physician write a letter describing the nature of the condition and the treatment. Carry the letter with you.  You should be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip.

Important: Be sure to bring enough of the prescription medication that you are currently taking.  When you pack, make certain that you have ALL your medication in your carry-on luggage.  NEVER pack any of your medications in your checked luggage.

Altitude
Travelers to the Andean region of Peru, including the city of Arequipa and the Colca Canyon need to take common sense measures in regards to altitude acclimatization. Arequipa  is located at about 7,200 feet above sea level and it an ideal place to rest an acclimatize before your departure for the Colca Canyon. Visitors are encouraged to limit exertion for the first few hours and maintain themselves adequately hydrated.  Avoid all alcoholic beverages at least for the first 24 hours.  Coca tea is available at all hotels and assists in the acclimatization process.  Individuals with coronary or other health problems should consult their physician before deciding to travel to the Arequipa & Colca Canyon region and other high altitude locations.

High Altitude Medication:  If you have issues with altitude or suffer from high blood pressure, ask your doctor about the use of high altitude medicine.  Diamox is the most popular and tested drug for altitude sickness prevention and treatment. Increases the amount of bicarbonate excreted in the urine, making the blood more acidic. Acidifying the blood drives the ventilation, which is the cornerstone of acclimatization.

For more information on medical considerations please contact the:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/tropsam.htm
It is vital that persons with medical problems or special diet requirements make them known to us well before departure so that land operators are properly informed.

Climate
The climate in Peru is generally divided into two seasons. The dry season and the rainy season.  Because of resent unpredictable weather conditions everywhere in the world predicting is very unpredictable.  We highly recommend that our clients visit a weather website to get the latest weather information before departure.
http://weather.yahoo.com/regional/PEXX.html

Andean Region:
In the mountain regions of Peru the dry season is from May to September. The days are for the most part clear and sunny and the chances of rain are minimal.

From October to April the weather is less predictable since it is the rainy season.  Normally the sun shines in the morning and rains late in the afternoon. The average day temperatures in the Andean region are between mid 60s and low 70s and nights in the low 40s with occasional freezing at high altitudes.

Luggage
During your Peruvian flights you will be allowed to check-in 25 kilos and your carry-on bag have to meet international standards for size and weight.  If you travel business class you are allowed 30 kilos and one carry-on.
Clothing
When packing please considers the use of quick drying, lightweight, active wear clothing.   Casual wash and wear clothing is most appropriate during your journey.  Rain gear is useful for brief showers.  For evenings in the city, dress as formal or as casual as you like.  Light/heavy long-sleeve shirts/blouses and sweater and well-insulated windbreaker is necessary for cool nights in the highlands and even the jungle.  Avoid packing cotton clothing.  Wet cotton does not wick water away from your skin. Also when cotton gets wet, it ceases to insulate your body from the cold.

What to Bring Checklist

Gear

  • Waterproof rain poncho.
  • Pile pull-over or jacket.
  • Well-insulated gore-tex windbreaker or jacket.
  • Hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes.
  • Flip-flops or sandals
  • Socks.
  • Long & short sleeved shirts / T-shirts.
  • Long pants.
  • Wide brimmed cloth hat / bandana.
  • Gloves / mitts.
  • Sunglasses (UV protection type).
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses if necessary.
  • Eyeglass straps.
  • Insect repellent & sunscreen.
  • Hand sanitation cream or towels.
  • Canteen or small water bottle, plus personal toiletries and medicines.
  • Daypack.
  • Powerful flashlight and a headlamp.  Highly recommend the use of a headlamp so your hands are free during activities.
  • Binoculars.
  • Camera with flash and extra batteries. Plenty of extra film if you are not using digital technology or memory cards.

Travel hardware

  • Camera screwdriver set & epoxy glue.
  • Swiss army knife & sewing kit with scissors.
  • Travel alarm clock & plastic adhesive tape.
  • Extra camera & flashlight batteries.
  • Duck tape

Optional

  • Extra duffel bag I you plan to do some purchases.
  • Notebook  & reading material.

Tipping Guidelines
The staff involved in your trip to Peru is well paid, but if you consider that they deserve a special recognition for their services, they will warmly accept a tip.

Although not mandatory, tipping in Peru has turned to be an extended practice. Tipping in dollars is the easies way to go about it.  There are some standards that may give you an idea of what are the general uses:

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

  • Restaurants: Average 10%
  • Bag carriers: Average US$ 1.00 per bag
  • Drivers: US$2 – 3 per person per day
  • Guide: US$7 – 12 per person per day
  • Assistant guide: US$5 – 6 per person per day

 


 
Reading List

http://www.longitudebooks.com/find/d/24875/r/3A/mcms.html


RELATED TRIPS
Amazon Rainforest of Tambopata