What You Need to Know Before You Trek in Colca Canyon
A bus picked us up from Plaza de Armas at 5 AM and we drove around Arequipa picking up the other people in our group. After a few hours of driving we arrived at the start of our hike. Our guide led us down into the canyon, carefully hiking down nearly endless switchbacks. Make sure you have sun protection as the hike down is hot and dry! Later, we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant arranged by the guides at the base of the canyon. After lunch, we hiked along the base of the canyon until we hit Oasis, a rustic resort for backpackers. Here we had dinner, swam in a refreshingly cold pool, and slept as much as we could in our indoor/outdoor huts. If you are scared of bugs – this is NOT the activity for you.
The next day we woke up before sunrise to begin our ascent out of the canyon. This hike was MUCH harder than advertised and they even had expensive rescue donkeys for those who could not make it. Make sure you are in good hiking shape and mentally prepared for a significant climb, otherwise this will be a miserable morning. After a brutal 4,000 ft elevation gain in 3 miles, we made it out of the canyon and were greeted with a nice breakfast. On the way back to Arequipa, our group stopped to enjoy some hot springs which felt incredible after the long, rewarding hike.