Cotahuasi Canyon situated near the city of Arequipa in Peru, is considered the deepest of the Americas. Its maximum depth is 3535 meters in the sector of Ninancocha, 335 meters more than the Colca Canyon, but less deep than several canyons in the Himalayas. The Cotahuasi Canyon is an impressive edge that the river has opened between two enormous mountainous bulks: the Coropuna (6425 m.s.n.m.) and the Solimana (6093 m.s.n.m.). One extends from spurs of the snow-covered Solimana to the confluence with the Ocoña river.
It is formed by the Cotahuasi River, the one that is born in the lagoon of Huanzococha at more than 4750 m.s.n.m. and later it received the contribution of the Huayllapaña river in the neighborhoods of Pampamarca, by the north, and the Huarcaya next to Tomepampa, towards the west, crosses thus all the canyon later to be united with the Maran River and to form the Ocoña River that ends at the Pacific Ocean.
Cotahuasi is situated in the highest Andean place of Arequipa's department, in the Peruvian south. This province is characterized by its steep relief: cut here and as far back as rivers and gullies, with an altitude that differs between 1,000 and 6,093 meters, with 19 ecological floors. As is true around the world, the culture of people living in highland Arequipa Province is always changing. Nonetheless, the altitude and isolation of this region mean that residents have not yet given up many of the practices that are now no longer common in neighboring regions.
Trekking in Cotahuasi canyon gives you the opportunity to discover the volcanoes valley and explore the colca canyon in a 5 days tour.
Cotahuasi Canyon 5 days Itinerary:
Day 1: Arequipa- Petrogliphs of Toro Muerto- Chuquibamba Cotahuasi, 380 km in 4x4 mini-truck
We leave Arequipa at 7 am to start the 380 km ride by 4x4 heading in the direction of the “petrogliphs of Toro Muerto,” located in the Corire district, about 3 hours from Arequipa. Here there are around 5 miles of engraved stones to be seen. These engravings are dated between 700 and 800 AD, from the time of the Wari culture.
On this tour we will visit the petrogliphs of toro muerto, this place will give us the opportunity to explore the numerous stones and rocks and their different meanings.
Continuing on to the Valley of Majes, we will pass the many rice cultivations and vineyards of the region, also the village of Chuquibamba, which is known for its cheese and avocado. Here we will have the option of visiting a little museum dedicated to the local pre-Incan culture “Pachanas”.
After Chuquibamba we will enter an area at 4700 meters above sea level, where there is an amazing view over snowy Coropuna (6425m above sea level).
Just behind the lagoon of Pallarcocha is a magnificent landscape, representative of the south Peruvian Andes. It is important to note that snowy Coropuna is the tallest volcano in Peru. For the old Incas it was the “apu,” the most important holy mountain in the south of Peru.
At the end of the day we will arrive in Cotahuasi (2600m above sea level) after about a 10 hour ride.
Cotawasi is the capital of the Union and where we will be spending the night at a local hostal.
Day 2: Cotahuasi- Sipia- Chaupo
This trek is mostly desert, but there is a geological richness to be observed. The climate will be rather hot, as the region is not high above sea level (around 2000m). We use a donkey (to transport the drinking water and meals) and also one horseman.
After breakfast we will continue by truck, crossing the Cotahuasi River over the bridges of Cuyao and Sipia.
This is where our 4 hour trek starts. We will pass the waterfall of Sipia with its 150m cascade. It is amazing to watch and listen to the battle roaring between water and rocks, as the water with its erosive powers step by step washes the rock away, creating an enormous gorge with a depth of 3535m. Here it is worth mentioning that Colca Canyon has a depth of 3217m, therefore Cotahuasi is 318m deeper!
After observing the falls we will go to the little village of Chaupo. On our way there we will pass by some fantastic countryside, including the red canyon that receives its name from its red stone colour, called arcilla.
The temperature here oscillates between 25 - 30 degrees.
We will stop in the “oasis of Chaupo” where apples, oranges, and grapes are grown and the local wine is produced.
You have the option of doing another 3 hour walk to the village of Velinga, depending on your physical condition at the time.
Day 3: Chaupo Bridge - Sipia - Andahua (visit Volcanoes valley)
In the morning after breakfast we start our 3 hour hike to the bridge of Sipia, where our truck will be waiting to take us to the Valley of Volcanoes.
On this day we will be passing close by snowy Coropuna. After a 4 hours ride we will arrive in the Valley of Volcanoes. We visit the Mirador of the volcanoes and we do small trek : We climb to the top of one of the small volcanoes.
We will spend the night in a basic hotel. ( family home)
Day 4: Valley of Volcanoes–Orcopampa- chivay Colca Valley
On this day we go to the village of Orcopampa, then we continue to chivay village (colca valley). Between the volcanoes valley and colca valley. We can see andean birds, lamas,alpacas, local people. On this part of the region you don't see any tourist.
Hotel in chivay village.
Day 5: Chivay - visit of the colca valley-Colca Canyon (Condor Cross) -Arequipa
We will go to Condor Cross to enjoy a glimpse of the condors in their natural habitat, as well as a viewpoint overlooking terraces and the colonial villages of Pinchollo, Maca, and Yanque ( We visit the colca valley). Other viewpoints such as Antahuilque and Mollepunku afford us views of pre-Incan terraces and above-ground graves belonging to the Collagua period. Lunch in Chivay (optional hot springs, “La Calera”), before we make the return trip to Arequipa, passing by the national reserves of Aguada Blanca and Salinas on the way, where we’ll observe llamas, alpacas and vicuńas. We’ll also make a stop at the 4912m high viewpoint of Los Andes.
We arrive back in Arequipa at 5 pm.
Cotahuasi Canyon 5 days
- Transport private car during the trip
- All transfers
- Oxygen equipment
- First-aide kit
- Entrance fee to national reserve and Aguada Blanca y Salinas
- Entrance fee to Cotahuasi canyon
- Entrance fee to Andagua (volcanoes valley)
- Trekking into the Cotahuasi canyon
- Trekking official guide
- All meals
- Donkey (carry all your thinks - day 2 and day 3)
- Accommodation one night in cotahuasi village
- Accommodation one night in tents in chaupo
- Accommodation in Andagua village (hostal basic)
- Accomodations in Chivay village (hotel)
- Ticket for la Calera (hot spring)
- Tents and matras
- Cooking equipment
Conditions & Terms:
- Please note that the program deposit is non-refundable. The deposit is used to purchase the space within the group and once a space is purchased it cannot be resold.
- XTreme Tourbulencia will not give any refunds if a participant decides to cancel the trip prior to departure or during the trip (except from the entrances to the archaeological sites and the bus/train tickets)
- If XTreme Tourbulencia doesn’t confirm the reservation, your payment will be refunded totally.
- All participants have to carry their own back packs, including sleeping bag and mattresses unless they booked an extra porter or the service includes porters, horsemen or mules.
- A participant must declare if he/she has any sickness or medical disorder and must bring his/her own medicines.
- All participants must bring their original passport and, if available, their original student card ´ISIC´.
- It is compulsory that all clients have personal travel insurance. This insurance must cover personal accident, medical expenses, loss of effects and all other expenses which might arise as a result of loss, damage or injury occurring to the client. XTreme Tourbulencia cannot be accounted for any accident or lose of personal belongings the customer caused by his/her own.
- In case force majeure occurs, like impossibility to operate the program or trek due to unusual or unforeseen circumstances outside XTreme Tourbulencia's control like: extreme weather conditions, landslides, strikes not allowing operation or putting it at risk, sudden inaccessibility of route, etc. XTreme Tourbulencia will propose viable solutions to operate the program within the available dates, or if impossible, will then propose an alternative program. If the alternative program chosen by the client is of lower value than that originally booked then the client is entitled to a refund of the price difference. All costs derived will be at the expense of the client. In case none of these would be feasible, XTreme Tourbulencia would refund all the money paid except all the incurred expenses so far.
What do I need to bring?
- Backpack with rain shelter.
- Sleeping back.
- Clothing for warm and cold climate like a waterproof jacket.
- Rain pants and lightweight pants.
- Trekking shoes.
- Slippers or sandals (for showers and hot springs).
- Woolen or synthetic socksand a sweater.
- Long- and short-sleeved polo’s/T-Shirts.
- Rainponcho and a hat.
- Bathing suit (for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes).
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, disinfecting alcohol and gel, water bottle and sterilizing tablets, toiletries and toilet paper.
- Camera (wrapped in plastic bag), a flash light and batteries.
- Some snacks like chocolate bars and dry fruit.
- Original passport, original ISIC student card and extra money in soles.
- Since the weather can be very cold and moistly, your clothes - once gotten wet - won’t dry at night. So take some clothes to change.
ABOUT THE FOOD
We must be said weather the person is vegetarian to make the arrangements for his/her food.
ABOUT THE GUIDES:
The stuff is competent and is being trained eventually, every now and then.(OFFICIEL GUIDES).