Surrounded by agricultural landscapes and rolling mountains and home to the charming Our Lady of Assumption church, Chivay is best-known as the gateway to Arequipa’s spectacular Colca Canyon (Cañón del Colca). A plethora of shops selling high-quality alpaca handicrafts make it a great place for souvenir shopping, too.
Travelers can arrange to spend the night in Chivay independently or visit the town as part of a 2-day tour from Arequipa, which allows you to skip the stress of arranging accommodation and transport. Multi-day tours typically include a lengthy stop at Colca Canyon—a natural formation almost twice as deep as the Grand Canyon—and ample time to explore Chivay. Other ways of visiting include a hassle-free transfer service from Puno, which stops at Lagunillas Lake and Las Vicunas National Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Due to its natural setting and slow pace, Chivay provides a relaxing break from the crowds of the Historic Center of Arequipa.
- La Calera hot springs, located just 10 minutes from Chivay by car, are a great place to unwind after exploring the Colca Canyon.
- The cafés that surround the main square are ideal for admiring mountain scenery and observing locals in traditional dress.
Chivay is located 100 miles (60 kilometers) outside of Arequipa and, depending on traffic, takes around three hours to reach by car. When to Get There
The rainy season in this part of Peru ends in March, and Colca Canyon’s Andean condors are easiest to spot between March and June, making this the ideal time to visit Chivay and the Colca Canyon. From June through September, the dry season continues, but nighttime temperatures can dip below freezing.
Exploring the Colca Canyon
The Colca Canyon is paradise for lovers of adventure and the outdoors. But you don’t have to be at peak physical fitness to enjoy the natural landscape. Travelers can choose between visiting the canyon on a day trip; hiking through the Andes mountain range on a 3-day trek; or sitting back and watching condors glide over the canyon on a bird-watching trip.