There are many treks in the Colca Canyon, but if you are planning on descending to the canyon floor, even if just for the day, it is best to be fit and prepared for the altitude, as it is tough going and is often quite dangerous in places. Guides are recommended and local tour operators offer this service between $35-$60 a day per person. For quality maps, contact the South American Explorers Club in Cusco or Lima, alternatively contact a local trekking company.
The top of the Colca Canyon is just ten minute walk along a simple and level path, just past the Casa de Pablo hostel. The descent follows a steep path, which is quite narrow and difficult in parts, down to the Oasis below. It takes about 1 ½ – 2 hours to descend at a steady pace, and 4 or 5 to climb back up.
Other popular routes include a seven-hour hike from Cabanoconde to Lake Mucara, some eight hours walk, where the beautiful Ampato volcano is reflected in it is crystalline waters. From here you can walk on along a trail to Ampato. A quieter,seven- hour route goes from Huambo down to the Hacienda at Canco, where the Rio Huambo meets the Rio Colca. It is another days hike up to Ayo, a winemaking settlement, from where the road and buses go to Andagua. There s also a well-used trekking route connecting Cabanoconde with the smallsettlementof Tapay a four-day hike through fine scenery and the tiny villages of Cosnihua and Malata as well as various Inca and pre-inca ruins. There are no facilities at all in the area.
A relatively easy two-hour walk from the village of Corporaque takes in some Huari (pre-inca) tombs that were constructed at the foot of the cliffs on Cerro Yuraq Ccaca also known as Cerro San Antonio). A path leads out from block or two just below the plaza, crossing the stream as you leave the settlement behind, and climbing steadily towards a prominent, pink rocky outcrop. The tombs are just below the 4000- metre contour line. To the southwest, the partly tumbled but still impressive Huari village can be clearly seen stretching from the tombs down to a major tambo-style building on the bottom corner, which commands view around the valley. Because it is little visited, the path for entry, even to the main, partly-fortified tambo section, is not marked and more or less leaves you to find your own routes; given this, it is important to take care not to damage the stone walls and agricultural plots you have to find your way through. To get back to Corporaque, you can either drop down to the road and trace this back up to the settlement, or go along the small aqueduct which follows the contour of the hill from the tambo back to where you started to climb towards the tombs.
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostel Arequipa for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bar is free even for non-guests