Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon; the Cotahuasi is the deepest canyon in the world, cutting through the Coropuna and Surimana massifs. With numerous hiking trails and vantages points; Cotahuasi is a beautiful region that few travelers get to see. With single and multi-day tours; you’ll get to hike the length of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
The Cotahuasi Canyon region is legendary throughout Peru for its steep cliffs, waterfalls; and its local inhabitants who follow a traditional way of life. Located north of Arequipa, the canyon is an ideal location for trekking and natural sightseeing. Suspension bridges criss-cross over the Cotahuasi River flowing at the bottom of the canyon; connecting regional trails followed by hikers and locals alike.
So then; the Cotahuasi Region is remote and because of this transportation can be a challenge; trekking the canyon is quite an off-the-beaten-path experience. This 4-day itinerary is of medium length, longer than single-day options and shorter than 6-day excursions. For those looking for a compact yet intensive trek; this is an ideal option, especially if you have a special interest in wildlife and Andean culture.
Spot endemic wildlife such as condors, vicuñas, and Andean foxes
Experience a region of Southern Peru that few people get to see
Cross the roaring Cotahuasi River along a suspension bridge
Relax in the thermal hot springs of Niñochaca and Luicho
Professional bilingual guide for days 2-4
Bus services x 2 (Bus Reyna – Arequipa – Cotahuasi – Arequipa)
Domestic Flights x 2 (Lima – Arequipa – Lima)
Domestic Flights x 2 (Lima – Cusco – Lima)
Train Service x 1 (Lima – Huancayo)
Breakfast x 4, Lunch x 3. Snacks
Accommodation – x2 nights in Arequipa, x3 nights in Cotahuasi
Airport & bus station transfers (local taxis will be economical for you to take to the hotels).
Dinners or any additional meals not mentioned in inclusions.
Travel & Adventure insurance.
Any costs associated with medical emergencies or evacuations.
Lima section to be managed by your own account, hotel & airport transfers (can be included on request).
Anything else not explicitly mentioned in the inclusions.
|Joining Arrangements||There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured.|
|Food & Water||Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, please only consume bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.|
|Special Diets||We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.|
|Trekking Crew||We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, mountain cook, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request). They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.|
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude. Altitude Preparation
|Machu Picchu||An excursion to Machu Picchu can be included as part of your trip, including professional bilingual guide, entrance tickets, return trip bus tickets, Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountains (mountain climbs to be confirmed on reservation) & your return train ticket to Cusco. To be confirmed on reservation.|
|Covid-19 (Coronavirus)||We are working with the latest protocols issued by the Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) to ensure our operations are safe and compliant for the future. We also have access to on-call health services for your time with us.|
|Covid-19 (Useful Links)||World Health Organisation | World Health Organisation – Peru | Covid-19 Data – Peru | Covid-19 Daily Statistics|
|Available Discounts||Throughout 2022 we’re offering a 15% discount for each member of a group larger than 4+|
|Reservation||Please contact us to reserve your trek and we will send you our deposit & payment options.|
|Customer Service||Please feel free to contact us at any point before your trip for any queries or problems.|
Collection from Arequipa Airport to the city of Arequipa, from here you’ll take an overnight bed-bus to Cotahuasi. Check in to your hotel early in the morning.
Arrival to Cotahuasi and head to Hotel Valle Hermoso to leave main luggage and return to the bus station with just a small luggage bag to go to Quechualla and visit the deep part of the Cotahuasi Canyon.
Then, upon returning, you’ll visit Judeo Pampa, which is a forest with giant cacti. This is a great opportunity to explore and take some great photos to share on your social media!
Finally stopping to visit the Sipia Waterfall, making a small walk of a little over an hour (round trip with visit and more photos). In the late afternoon or early evening returning to Cotahuasi and spend the night at your Hotel.
Today will be a very early departure from Cotahuasi in the direction of Pampamarca (5:00 am) in order to take a walk to visit the Stone Forest of Huito. An ascent of one hour and an easy return. Then afterwards visiting the Uscune Waterfall viewpoint and in the afternoon return to Cotahuasi.
If there is enough time in the afternoon you have the option to trek and visit a suspension bridge from where you’ll observe the start of the immense Cotahuasi Canyon.
Overnight: Hotel Vallee Hermoso – https://www.hotelvallehermoso.com/
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.
Leaving very early again today you’ll head to Puyca to visit the ruins of Maukallaqta, and the Wari-Chanka archeological center.
Upon returning from the Town of Alca (already in the Cotahuasi Valley) visit the town of Cahuana from where you have a beautiful view of the Cotahuasi Valley; and stopping to visit the thermal baths of Luicho.
Returning to Cotahuasi take the overnight bus to Arequipa.
Return to Arequipa – 7.00PM – Bus Reyna – Bed bus – E.T.A = 3:00 a.m.
Overnight Arequipa – Hotel Casona Plaza. https://casonaplazahoteles.com/casona-plaza-hotel-aqp/
Today is an opportunity to have a Historic Quarter tour of Arequipa, or to simply relax and explore this beautiful city in your own time – Details to be confirmed during trip planning.
I was very keen to trek in Cotahausi Canyon, situated in an isolated area 8 hours travel by bus from Arequipa, and well away from general tourist attractions. I had contacted many trekking companies from Arequipa and Cusco but most were only interested in taking me to Colca Canyon, a popular and closer option. I was lucky enough to contact James Mackender, Unu Raymi Expeditions, who was willing to look into the possibility of arranging flexible trekking options for me from the township of Cotahuasi, in Cotahuasi Canyon. James also organised the guide from Arequipa as well as accommodation, meals, bus and plane fares.
I travelled with my guide in a bed bus from Arequipa to Cotahausi and at 5:00 am the next morning we caught a collectivo to start the first trek. All travel to the distant little villages in the Canyon was by local collectivos and the guide used his knowledge of the timetables to catch the collectivos on their return journeys. Travelling with local people was an extremely interesting glimpse into everyday Peruvian life in this area.
One morning we caught a bus at 3:00 am to travel to Puyca to walk up to the Wari ruins high above the village at the Archaeological site of Maucallacta, 3925 metres: such a peaceful, pre Inca site high up against the heights of the Canyon overlooking ancient terraces that swept down to the bottom of the valley. There was even a stone bathing area that we recognised as an Inca addition.
Cotahausi Canyon is extremely beautiful, remote, diverse and unspoilt with many interesting attractions to walk to including the impressive tall Cactus Forest and Sepia Falls. One very cold morning we travelled to a village called Huaynacotas high up on the sides of the Canyon. It had snowed the night before and a volcanic crater and the ridges above the snow line were dusted with white. After walking along the ridge road to enjoy the view along the canyon, we took five hours to walk on a narrow track down to the river and then on to Luicho to splash in the local thermal pools.
Cotahuasi Canyon is an amazing place to trek and I am very grateful to James and my guide that I was given the opportunity to have such an authentic experience.
As an avid trekker, I have been to Peru many times and trekked in many places with many different companies but I feel that my experience with James Mackender from Unu Raymi has been the absolute and ultimate best. As I have said previously no one would help me trek in Cotahuasi Canyon but James took me on and through his thorough planning, I was able to have the most wonderful and memorable experience.
Nothing was ever too much trouble for James and he was always happy to answer my many questions, discuss different travel options and sort multiple bookings for accommodation, buses, trains and planes. James is the ultimate travel professional and I am grateful for the way he coordinated all of my bookings and made sure that I was checked in for all of my flights and train travel. This is very reassuring when you are travelling solo.
I was grateful that James made himself available on WhatsApp to deal with any problems or concerns. At the end of my time in Peru, I had some international flight problems and James was only too happy to try and sort out the complications for me.
I would highly recommend Unu Raymi Expeditions and James’s care and organisational skills to any prospective travellers to Peru. You would be in exceptional hands.