Located in southwest Peru, the city of Arequipa has a spectacular natural setting up in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes, surrounded by three snow-capped volcanoes: El Misti, Chachani and Pichu Pichu. A visit to Arequipa gives an outstanding example of South America's colonial heritage. The well-preserved historic centre is a fusion of European and indigenous architectural influences, and contains many fine Spanish buildings with intricate Baroque facades. The city has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its historical importance.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • This area has enough to entertain both culture vultures and adrenalin seekers alike

Our guide to holidays in Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Arequipa also acts as a springboard for adventures into the surrounding area. Four hours north of Arequipa lies the impressive Colca Valley, an area of breathtaking landscapes surrounded by terracing and snow-capped peaks; we can arrange Colca Canyon tours as part of your holiday itinerary. Far below, in fact some 10,000ft below, the Colca River winds along the bottom of the world's second deepest canyon. The Colca Valley is ideal for adventure sports, including rafting and trekking, or you can just come out here to admire the scenery and watch the condors circling overhead at Condor's Cross, a spot so-called because it is possible to see up to 20 of the mighty Andean birds soaring overhead on the early morning thermals from here.

There are a number of beautiful trekking circuits that wind through the mountains past lovely colonial villages, pre-Hispanic ruins, beautiful lakes, the unique Andean flora and fauna, and all with stunning views of the chain of volcanoes that run parallel to the valley. After a day's hiking, you can soothe aching limbs in the local hot springs.

The hiking in the Colca Canyon area is fantastic and can be tailored to suit all requirements. Climbers can also challenge two of the easiest, non-technical 18,000ft peaks in the world - the volcanoes of El Misti and Chachani. For those who prefer not to hike, or don't have time, the canyon can be visited as a day trip from Arequipa, or you can follow the canyon road on a motor bike safari.


Top picks for Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Aranwa Colca Canyon

Aranwa Colca Canyon

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Situated in the somewhat mystical village of Chivay, Aranwa Colca Canyon has a colonial and traditional feel to it. The resort is coloured in Andean legends and monuments, not to mention it has a prime location on the banks of the Colca River.

Where to stay

Colca Lodge

Colca Lodge

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Colca Lodge is a charming hotel located on the banks of the River Colca deep in the picturesque Colca Valley.

Where to stay

Las Casitas del Colca

Las Casitas del Colca

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

A luxury hotel set in the peaceful surroundings of the second deepest canyon in the world; one of Peru's most stunning destinations.

Where to stay

Dining Cart on the Belmond Andean Explorer

Belmond Andean Explorer

Cusco

The Belmond Andean Explorer, set to launch in May 2017, is South America’s first ever luxury sleeper train. Departing from Cusco and making stops at Puna, Cola Canyon and Arequipa (a UNESCO listed world heritage site) the train traverses the Andes in serious style.

Where to stay

Condor Cross, Peru

Visit to Condor Cross

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

After the albatross, the Andean condor has the second largest wingspan (as much as 11.5ft) of all living flying birds, and we know the best place in the Andes to see these magnificent birds gliding on thermals.

What to do

Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa

Casa Andina Private Collection Arequipa

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Housed in the former Casa de la Moneda (old Mint), a colonial mansion dating back to 1794, this hotel is a historic gem in Arequipa.

Where to stay

Many thanks to you Dominique for planning this and joining me on that very special tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and especially you.

Carol, Travel Agent - FAM Trip, 2017

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