This active three-day tour to the Colca Canyon squeezes so many experiences in only three days that it will feel like a much longer holiday once you’re finished. This excursion is designed for active people that enjoy diving deeper into a destination, to immerse in its local cultures and get close with its nature.
After you’ve acclimatized well in Arequipa (at least two days!) we will take you to Sibayo; a small stone village at 3.800 meters altitude, built entirely out of stones of the area. You’ll stay with a local family in a comfortable homestay. The next day you’ll hike the Collagua Route down towards Chivay, enjoying this little frequented route, its vistas and nature. From there, you’ll visit the Coporaque community and its surroundings. After another night in a homestay you’ll take part in a tour to the Colca Canyon’s highlights after which you’ll take transportation back to Arequipa or on to Puno.
If this program is too full for you, consider our three-day tour with only Coporaque.
P.S. When you book this tour, please select the correct package: one finishes back in Arequipa but the best choice is the one that finalizes in Puno; we’ll drop you off at your hotel in Puno at no extra cost (if located in Puno center). If you book an excursion outside of Puno directly after this one, we can also arrange a drop-off in Juliaca or Cabanillas, please contact us to ensure a smooth transition.
Read our Travel Guide to Arequipa and the Colca Canyon if you’d like some more inspiration on these destinations!
Between 7.30 and 8.00 am, we will pick you up from (your hotel in) the center of Arequipa for the start of your active Colca Canyon tour. You will travel to the Colca Canyon with a van (with a maximum of 15 passengers). The English-speaking guide on board will give you a lot of interesting facts along the way and some stops are planned at beautiful places. You will go through a reserve where many vicuñas live in freedom. The snow-covered volcanoes in the background complete this impressive landscape.
Arrival in Chivay, the capital of the Colca Canyon, where the van will stop at a restaurant. But you won’t have lunch there: you will be picked up by members of the Sibayo community and brought to the village of Sibayo Rumillacta (50 minutes), where the family of Samana Wasi will welcome you. You will have lunch with your host family. In the afternoon, you will go with a local guide (who only speaks Spanish, translator optional for an extra cost) and you will explore the village. Depending on availability and preferences, activities will be planned with the family, such as working on land, fishing, gathering wood fire, learning how to weave, etc.
In the evening you can help the family cook for dinner! Dinner and overnight stay at Samana Wasi in a private room.
Very early in the morning you will enjoy a delicious breakfast at Samana Wasi with your host family. After that, you will be driven to Canocota (35 minutes ride), from where you will start a hike of 3 – 3,5 hours approximately (difficulty: low). A snack is included for the hike.
Your guide will give you interesting information on the architecture of the church of Canocota. You will walk on an old Collagua road, a narrow and quite flat path still used by local people. This road was formerly used as a means of communication and a place of barter between the different villages. The path is fairly flat, which is good for these first days at a high altitude 🙂
During the walk, you can observe the “Huaynalima Canyon”, formed by vertical walls eroded by the Colca river. You will see beautiful views, hardly anyone around and you can enjoy the peace and nature. You will walk along the Colca river until you reach Calera, where you will be picked up by the transportation.
Transfer to Chivay, where you will be picked up by members of the Coporaque community and brought to the village with a taxi for lunch with your new host family. With a local guide (who only speaks Spanish), you will explore the village and visit the viewpoint, where you can see the route for the next day at your feet! If you prefer doing something different, you can take a walk to the thermal baths of the village (entrance fee: approx. 10 soles per person), or choose a nice horseback ride (see below).
Dinner and overnight stay at a local family in private rooms (hot shower available, though it depends on the sunshine of the day!). P.S. Your luggage will be taken to Coporaque: you only have to carry your daypack on this active Colca Canyon tour!
Around 6:00 am it is time to say goodbye to your host family and you will be brought to Chivay by someone from Coporaque, to join the excursion to the famous Cruz del Condor. During the ride from Chivay you will make a few stops at interesting spots, but the highlight of the day will most definitely be the flight of the condor! If you are lucky you will see multiple condors flying close to the viewpoint where you will be situated, making use of the thermal winds rising up from the Canyon.
Back in Chivay you will have some time for lunch (buffet not included) before traveling to Puno (if you have chosen to end your tour there). This is also a shared bus with other travelers, and a host(ess) on board. Along the way, some photo stops are made to enjoy the wide landscape, characterized by volcanoes and vicuñas.
Upon arrival in Puno, you will be transferred to your hotel (if in the city center. Hotels outside of Puno at extra cost). You will arrive here between 18.30 and 19.00 pm. Please note any overnight stay in Puno after this active Colca Canyon tour is not included.
The altitude is the biggest physical challenge. The hike during this active Colca Canyon tour in itself is light and easy, with only a few short uphill parts; mostly downhill and flat(ish). Your large luggage will be taken care of by the transportation.
The first morning and last day you’ll spend mostly in a bus. In the free afternoons you can hike as much (or as little) as you want, it’s adaptable. For those of you that enjoy being active it’s definitely possible to hike and enjoy the outdoors, of course!
The altitude, however, is definitely something to be aware of. For most travelers, the Colca Canyon is the first time they are at altitude. Make sure you take it easy, drink a lot of water and don’t eat too heavy before leaving for the Colca Canyon. Read more tips about the altitude here.
Both Sibayo and Coporaque have comfortable and nicely decorated homestay accommodations for you. Almost every room has its own private bathroom ensuite; sometimes the bathroom is outside, but still private. Thick bedding and a hot water bottle in bed are provided; nights tend to be very cold here! Hot water for the shower is provided by a solar system; it generally works pretty well but it’s dependent on the amount of sunshine of the day.
There are rooms with twin beds, double beds and multiple beds. Usually, there is enough space for double occupation. Traveling families might have to share a room if there are other visitors in the same family; which rarely happens.
The guestrooms are located on the compound of the family’s own house; you’ll have to pass outside to reach your rooms. You’ll have your meals in the family’s kitchen.
No, they don’t. So far however, most of our travelers do not opt for an optional translator from Arequipa, since apart from the additional cost that might change the experience. Our host families are very used to having guests that don’t speak Spanish and their Spanish is easy to understand for those who speak other Latin languages.
Of course, learning Spanish beforehand is always a good idea! Use an app like Duolingo to learn the basics before leaving and enhance your experience whilst traveling.
It’s a combination during this active Colca Canyon tour.
The transportation and tours (1st morning and 3rd day) are shared tourist transportation from conventional tour agencies. This is by far the most cost-efficient choice.
The Community-Based Tourism side of this excursion is private; your host family will be your guide and make sure you’ll be ready for the next day’s tour. It always works out perfectly.
The contrast will make you value your experience even more; where the other tourists stay in standard hotels and “enjoy” busy thermal baths in their afternoon, you experience an authentic side of the Colca Canyon for just the same.
Yes, the Colca Canyon has entrance fees; currently 70 soles per person. Only children younger than 5 don’t pay.
As mentioned here, those fees are not included in the package price. You can pay them upon arrival to the Colca Canyon, in cash only.
Once you leave Arequipa, you’ll go up and up and travel at high altitudes for several hours. The highest point is almost five thousand meters (16,400 ft) above sea level; you will definitely feel it!
Sibayo (1st night) and Coporaque (2nd night), are situated at altitudes of respectively 3.810m (12,500 ft) and 3.580m (11,750 ft) which is quite high. So please, as we always recommend, do make sure you have acclimatized well before leaving for the Colca Canyon. For example by staying two full days and nights in Arequipa! Here are some tips to spend your time in Arequipa well.
The Colca Canyon has the typical Andean climate; when there’s sun it’s warm, when there’s no sun it’s cold. The rainy season is from December to April but occasional rains can occur anytime throughout the year. From May to August night temperatures might go below freezing point.
Find more info about climates in Peru in our blog “Best Time to Travel to Peru“.
Eusebio runs a homestay in beautiful Sibayo since 2006, and we met them in 2013 as part of the same project as Coporaque. Sibayo is such a beautiful village and Eusebio is an excellent host (he used to share this homestay with his wife, Nieves, who sadly passed away in 2023). He loves showing you around the village, immersing you in his culture and is curious about yours, too. His homestay is always in good order, clean and comfortable, and the food is very good whilst typical. Over all these years it has remained a recommendable experience!
Impactful Travel (formerly known as RESPONSible Travel Peru) has been working with the Pumachiri families since 2013 and ever since the relationship has been perfect: mutual trust and respect, together working hard to improve every aspect of sustainability and the travelers experience.
Nowadays, Coporaque offers four comfortable homestays with good beds, private bathrooms and great food to travelers of all sorts; and everybody loves the Coporaque experience. They support their fellow community members in several ways which makes it a destination with impact.
Don’t doubt longer: this is the place to be in the Colca Canyon!
A very well-organized tour! The tour involved many different parties – tour guides, taxi drivers, host families – and all of them were at the right place at the right time. Absolutely fascinating!
We enjoyed every part of the trip, but especially the guided bus tour on day 1, the homestay on day 2 and the visit at Cruz del Condor on day 3.
The communication with the first host family was a bit difficult for us, and the accomodation offered slightly less comfort than the other home stays. We still valued the experience! We felt more comfortable with the second host family and the other tourists who stayed at their house at the same time. Food was amazing at both places!
The visit to Cruz del Cóndor on day 3 was the highlight of the trip. Our guide picked a spot with less tourists and we saw many condors flying really close to us. We also learned a lot about the canyon and the animals.
All in all, it was a unique experience with a lot of contact to locals!