Depending on how you choose to travel around Peru, you may find yourself at cities all over the country, ones you never expected to visit. You have Cusco and Lima, often staples of all Peru trips (although, Lima isn’t necessary in my opinion), but you also have Aguas Caliente, where many begin treks from, Arequipa, one of the most beautiful cities in the country, and Chivay, nestled away deep in the Andes.
Welcome to the Colca Valley! Located deep in the Andes, 100 miles northwest of Arequipa is Peru’s third biggest tourist attraction and the biggest canyon in the world. Many choose to head to Colca for a 3-day long hike, others, such as myself, visit the canyon for just a day. And it’s a must see. Colca is for sure one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
Chances are, no matter the tour you’re on, you’ll be visiting the plains between Arequipa and Colca prior to getting to the Canyon itself. And they’re bloody lush. Take your time to stop at designated viewpoints and enjoy the sight of the pre-Incan stepped terraces (andenes) cared for by the Collagua and Cabana culture.
Welcome to Arequipa, ‘the white city’ and Peru’s second largest, located far in the south of the country.
This lush city is known for it’s distinctively coloured architecture, mountanous views and for giving tourists their first bout of altitude sickness. But, hopefully not too bad, as the city sits 2,335 metres above sea level, making it a great place to acclimatise before heading to Colca Canyon and Cusco.