4 days

Cotahuasi Canyon tour, Arequipa

Go to Peru and visit one of the deepest canyons in the world, the Cotahuasi Cañon. Since scientists seem to use different methods to measure the dept of valleys and canyons, it is still not very sure which canyon is really the deepest. Among the candidates are: The Colca Canyon, the Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet and the lesser known Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru. Deepest or not, fact is that this non-tourist destination has a beautiful scenery and still many things to discover!

A rural video about the Cotahuasi Valley, made by local tour operators, you can find at the following Facebook link from Valle de los Volcanes official promotion site.

Two options to visit the Cotahuasi Cañon, the deepest canyon in the world?!

Option 1: Cotahuasi Canyon 6 days/5 nights, Shared Service with local transport.

Short Itinerary option 1:

Day 1: Departure from Arequipa – Cotahuasi
Day 2: 
Visiting the towns of Alca and Cahuana, 3hrs walk and hot springs of Luicho.
Day 3: Hike of 5 hours along the Cotahuasi river, waterfall of Sipia, giant cactuses and optional thermal baths
Day 4: 
Hike of 7 hrs (round trip) to the village of Quechualla (deepest point) (optional thermal baths) and camping
Day 5: 
Highest Suspension bridge, city tour, return to Arequipa
Day 6: 
Arriving in Arequipa around 4:00 am in the madrugrada.

Option 2: Cañon de Cotahuasi 4 days/3 nights private tour.

Short Itinerary option 2:
Day 1: Arequipa – Toro Muerto – Cotahuasi BX C
Day 2: Cotahuasi/Jewish pampa / Sipia / Mungui
Day 3: Pampamarca/ Huito/ Alca/ Luicho
Day 4: Cotahuasi – Arequipa

Option 1: Cotahuasi Canyon Tour 6 days/5 nights, Shared Service with local public transport.

Long itinerary option 1:


Day 1: Departure from Arequipa - Cotahuasi

Cotahuasi tour trekking EcuadorWe leave from the bus terminal in Arequipa at 4 pm. After about 3 hrs of travelling we pass by Aplao (capital of the province of Castile). About an hour and a half later we stop for a moment in the small terminal of Chuquibamba (capital of the province of Condesuyos at 3000 meters altitude. From here the asphalt road ends and starts the dirt road. The highest point of the trip (4650 m) we will pass around 1.30 am, but you will probably be sleeping. We reach Cotahuasi around 4 am and will go directly to our hostel where you get a room with private bathroom.

Day 2: Visiting the towns of Alca and Cahuana, 3hrs walk and hot springs of Luicho.

Alca Cotahuasi valley tourWe start our new day around 9 am when breakfast will be served.
After breakfast we take a local combi (public mini bus service) that will take us to the typical village of Alca (end point for the buses arriving from Arequipa). We walk around in this village and then go to the town of Cahuana. From here you have a spectacular view over the area of the Canyon!
We go down by another road that goes directly to the Luicho thermal baths. After relaxing in these hot springs, we have lunch before returning to the town of Cotahuasi / hotel / dinner.

Day 3: Hike of 5 hours along the Cotahuasi river, waterfall of Sipia, giant cactuses, thermal baths and camping.

Cacti Cotahuasi Valley hikeWe leave at 6 am with a combi, down towards the waterfall of Sipia (cuttlefish) with a 150 m drop! From here we will start to walk into the valley.
At the village of Chaupo we get extra water. Then we will cross a large ravine after which we will reach a pampas. We rest for a bit at the place of a friendly family.
After about an hour further on the way we reach an impressive forest of giant cactuses. We will pass through this beautiful landscape with great sceneries! Not much later we will reach the home of another very friendly family who grows grapes and will prepare our food. After lunch we will depart towards a natural pool. The water has a perfect temperature, not very hot, or very cold and in this extremely relaxing hot springs we can forget our tiredness.
Tonight we will sleep in the traditional, local village of Velinga.
We starts at 8.30 am. On the way we visit 2 archaeological sites, remnants of the huari culture. We will follow the banks of the river and pass 4 suspension (hanging) bridges. One is made of cement, one of thick tree branches and two made with planks.
We have a picnic lunch (box lunch) on the way.
On our way back, just before arriving at the camp, we will take another relaxing bath in the natural hot springs. Dinner and time to sleep, either in tens (please let us know before), or in the village of Velinga.

Day 5: Highest Suspension bridge - Cotahuasi - Arequipa

Cotahuasi church EcuadorAfter breakfast at 8.00 am we will walk for about 25 minutes until the parking lot from where the combi’s back to Cotahuasi leave. Upon arriving we visit the highest suspension bridge in the province. Then we have lunch in the village. After lunch we make a short ‘city’ tour through and around Cotahuasi.
At 5.00 pm leaves our bus back to Arequipa. We arrive in Arequipa around 4.00 am the next morning.

Day 6: Arriving in Arequipa around 4:00 am in the madrugrada.

Option 2: CAÑON DE COTAHUASI 4 days/3 nights private tour.

Long itinerary option 2:


Day 1: Arequipa - Toro Muerto - Cotahuasi BX C

Cotahuasi Canyon Tour EcuadorAt 06:00 am we start our tour. We first drive along the Pan-American Highway passing through the towns of Vitor and Siguas and then take the detour that leads to the Valley of Majes.
On our way we will stop to get to know the petroglyphs (natural) rock carvings of Toro Muerto. At this unique place there are more than 5000 blocks of Trachyte (an igneous volcanic rock with an aphanitic to porphyritic texture) rocks laying around is. They are the result of volcanic eruptions of the Coropuna Volcano, about 700 years ago in the time of the Wari culture. It is a very special and interesting location!
Cotahuasi tour Ecuador trekkingFurther on our way we will visit different towns of the Majes Valley including Corire, Aplao, etc. Their inhabitants live most from cultivating crops, rice and vineyards where the Majes pisco and wine comes from.
The road consistently goes further up, until we reach the village of Chuquibamba, where the asphalt road ends and where we will make a break for lunch from our box lunch.
After lunch we continue our trip driving along the slopes of the impressive Coropuna Volcano, the third highest volcano in the Peru (6425 m). On this scenic rough route we can also appreciate the great views of the Solimana volcano and Sara Sara, as well as observing the different flora and fauna of the area (including condors, vicuñas, guanacos, vizcachas, foxes, deer, tarucas, eagles, etc.). Late in the afternoon we arrive in the town of Cotahuasi.
Dinner and night in hotel Valle Hermoso.

Day 2: Cotahuasi/ Jewish pampa / Sipia / Mungui

Cacti Cotahuasi Valley hikingAfter breakfast in hotel at 7.30 a.m. we start heading towards the Jewish Pampa cactus forest.
On our way from Cotahuasi to the forest we pass ancient old bridges and can appreciate various highlight of this ancient old area including Piro, characterized by a wide variety of fruits.
We follow the way until we reach (around 9.30 am) our main destination, a field with Cactuses up to 13 meters in height. At the same time we will find ourselves in one of the deepest points on the planet!
Around 11.30 am we start our trip back. This time we will visit the water falls of Sipia, with a three level drop of 150 meters! Then we drive back to the town of Cotahuasi for lunch.
In the afternoon we will go to the village of Mungui, and enjoy the calm atmosphere of a small mountain town. Once installed you can walk to the ruins of the old town.
We sleep and have dinner in the hotel in Mungui.

Day 3: Pampamarca/ Huito/ Alca/ Luicho

Alca Cotahuasi valley tourAfter breakfats at the hotel we go to the village of Pampamarca, located at 2700 meters above sea level and 1 hour from the village of Mungui.
Pampamarca is a picturesque village surrounded by terraces that form a beautiful and scenic landscape. From here we will initiate a hike of around 2 hours, until we arrive at the impressive Huito stone forest. From this forest we have a great view over the Valley! After enjoying the view we go back down to the village of Pampamarca, were we will have our lunch.
After lunch we descend back in the direction to the town of Cotahuasi, but this time we continue towards the town of Alca and then relax in the thermal baths of Luicho.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel Valle Hermoso.

Day 4: Cotahuasi - Arequipa

Cotahuasi church culture EcuadorWe have a very early breakfast in our hotel and then leave for our journey back to Arequipa. We will stop for lunch in along the way, arriving in Arequipa approximately at 17:00 – 18:00 pm

Note: The tour itineraries can be a bit flexible, depending on the local (weather) circumstances and wishes of our clients.

Tour Option 1  Price p.p. with a min. of two persons: 400,- US$

Tour option 1 includes:

  • Arequipa – Cotahuasi – Arequipa in public bus + terminal taxes
  • Hotel in Cotahuasi (madrugada + 1 night) and Velinga
  • Transport in Cotahuasi (public service)
  • Private transport between Cotahuasi and Andagua
  • Entrance to the thermal baths of Luicho (1 time)
  • 4x breakfast
  • A local Guide in Cotahuasi and Andagua, who speaks English. Additional price if you want the guide to travel with your from Arequipa is 50,- US$ p.p.
  • Camping equipment for who doesn’t have did not have (tent, mattress)

Not included:

  • Lunches and dinners (about 4 to 6 US$ a meal)
  • Water, spirits, fruits, etc.
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Sleeping bag
  • What is not specified in the tour above
  • International banking fees

Tour option 2 – Price p.p. with a min. of two persons: 530,- US$

Tour option 2 includes:
  • Private tourist transport
  • Professional driver/ Guide (speaks Spanish and English)
  • 3 nights in basic hotels (like Valle Hermosa) with breakfast
  • 24h English speaking emergency contact
Not included:
  • (International banking fees)
  • Everything that isn’t fully mentioned in the itinerary above and inclusive list
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses
  • Local entrance fees (like for the hot springs)
  • Tips (when service is good)
Condor Cotahuasi Canyon

Tour Reviews

5.00 based on 1 review
March 20, 2019

Dear Martijn

This is just to let you know we have completed trip to Cotahuasi, and are now back in Arequipa. Apart from a couple of hiccups, it all went very well and we had a really great time. What a wonderful place!

I would like to put in a word for our driver/guide, Alberto. He was really excellent. His English is really fluent and he has a great knack for getting on with new people. But his driving is really formidable! Apart from driving for very long periods, he tackled some truly hairy driving challenges several times a day, without once losing his cool. So if you are in touch with your local agents in Peru, I’d be very glad if you’d let them know how much we appreciated him.

Incidentally, I think one driver/guide per two clients is much better than a driver plus a guide. Not just because of the cost – I think the group dynamics work much better that way. But of course you need the right person.

Anyway, thanks very much for all your work on our behalf- we’re really delighted.

Best wishes

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