From Arequipa, we traveled to Cabanaconde to hike the cousin of the Grand Canyon, the Canyon del Colca. It is one of the world’s deepest canyons at 3191 meters (9393 feet). It was an amazing trek down the steep slopes of the canyon walls. It was hot and dusty, but we finally made it to the bottom in about two hours. The walk passed quickly due to some fellow travelers that hiked with us. Ivan and Ivana are also traveling around the world, and they are great story tellers. We hope to meet up with them again in Asia.

We were not exactly sure where they came from but at the bottom of the canyon there were several streams that must be underground. These streams help form an oasis of green grass and palm trees. We stayed at one of the four sites in the oasis. Our room consisted of a thatched hut with a dirt floor. A broken chair and a bed with who knows how many bugs were the only other amenities. But the view of the canyon and a nice pool outweighed the issues with the accommodations.

We knew going down that the trek up would be grueling, but it had to be done. We awoke at 5:00am and were on the trail by 5:30am hoping that we would escape the scorching sun as it creeped along the canyon walls. It was slow going and we took a few short breaks but we made it up to the canyon’s rim in about three hours. Many people say this particular hike is much more difficult than Machu Picchu. As this was another one of our “training hikes” for Machu Picchu we are feeling pretty good about how the Inca Trail will go for us. Our Inca trail trek is exactly a week away, just enough time to be fully rested and read to go again.

Tons of tour groups in Arequipa try to sell the Colca Canyon trek as impossible to do on your own. However, it is quite simple and you do not need a guide. We were glad we did not pay the $55-$200 per person for a guided trip. If we were to do it again, however, we would start off early from Cabanaconde and trek to San Juan de Chuccho to stay the night, and then hike onto Malata and finally the Oasis. We only had one night to spend in the canyon, however, so we took the direct route down and up. It is also possible to hike to San Juan de Chuccho, Malata, and on to the Oasis in one-day, but with the scorching sun blazing down on you we think it is more reasonable to break the trip into two nights. As always, our recent photos can be viewed on Chris’ and Jodi’s flickr pages.

One Response to “Colca Canyon”

  1. Mom and Dad says:

    Jodi, we really enjoy your blog. You are an excellent writer. Perhaps you could write travel guides.