Billed as the second deepest canyon in the world and around twice as deep as the Grand Canyon the Colca Canyon seemed worth a few days trekking. The Pachamama hostel in Cabanaconde is run by a former guide who now encourages independent hiking in the area, has a wealth of information on the area. After a quick chat we bought a cheap map that had descriptions of several hiking possibilities and settled on a 3day/2night route.
A day later than planned, Heather had a bout of the South American weight loss plan, we set off bound for Fure. Even at this early hour one thing became abundantly clear, it was going to be bloody hot, as soon as we had left the western edge of town any trace of shade had evaporated. It was a pretty flat walk to the Achachiwa Mirador but from there it was all down hill or rather canyon. We descended 1260m to the canyon bottom, where we attempted and failed to find some geysers that were marked on the map.
A little before noon we arrived at the Llahuar Lodge, intending to replenish our water before heading on to Fure. The owner Jola saw us studying our map, and cunningly offered one of the lodges flyers that also had a map for comparison. Sneaky devil, not only did the flyer of have a map it also listed the lodges attributes; happy hour, restaurant and thermal pools, our normal hiking determination was instantly abandoned as was the Mac and cheese that was to be that night’s dinner. After lounging in the pools for hours we had a pre dinner cocktail and realized that we were indeed “Glamping”, the toilets even had fresh-cut flowers in them for heaven’s sake.
The next morning we got up early, this glamping isn’t all cocktails and thermal springs you know, so that we could a good few hours of hiking in before the sun hit our side of the canyon. We managed to reach the highest point (2800m) of the day’s hike after 800m of climbing in relative shade. All that remained then was to descend 700m to the oasis of Sangalle, where we set up camp at the El Eden hostel. We were really slumming it, there were no flowers in the toilets and it only had a fresh water swimming pool. The afternoon was whiled away swimming and sharing a couple of beers. Our planned dinner for the evening was again abandoned in favour of being cooked for. Over dinner we met a cool couple from Minnesota, Jack and Sarah. They kindly shared a bottle of wine with us that they had carried into the canyon, guess we still have some learning to do when it comes to glamping.
Another early start to beat the sun had us on the trail by 6am. The threat of the sun put a little pep in our step and we climbed the 1100m out of the canyon in 2 hours. Jack and Sarah joined us on the drive to Arequipa making a few scenic stops along the way.
Cost for 2 people in USD
Camping fees $16.22
Entrance fees $42.71
Extras (cocktails etc) $16.17
Equivalent cost for guided trip
Entrance fees $42.71
So all in all not a huge saving even if you add booze costs to the guided trip. The hike itself was not as beautiful as the others in Peru, I think we have been rather spoiled, but the glamping element certainly made for a fun few days.