The Colca Canyon Trek
We did the 2Nights/3Days trek through the canyon and I'm not going to sugarcoat it - this was tough.
The main difference between the 2day and the 3day trek is that on the first day you either walk 4 hours or 8 hours and the last day is the same.
Personally I liked the way we did ours as we got more down time, hiked less in the sun as it was very very hot and also we weren't in a rush. Not only did this allow us to set our own pace but it also allowed us to take in the beautiful surroundings and to stop to take photographs...
The Canyon is beautiful, as are the small guest houses and villages that we stayed in, the food was amazing and the walk was challenging but equally rewarding - here's a quick breakdown of the 3 days:
We were picked up in Arequipa at 3:30am and at 4am we left for Chivay (the main town near the canyon) where we stopped for breakfast at 7:30ish. Then we drove some more to the Cruz Del Condor point where we could spot Condors, due to it being nesting season we didn't actually see any but there were lovely views. At around 10am we started the hike which was all downhill and was 10 km and 4 hours to the village. We had Alpaca Lomo Saltado for lunch then relaxed for the afternoon before Vegetable Curry for dinner. Due to the village having little/no electricity the stars were amazing and after a day of hiking we had an early night!
This was the "easiest day" because aside from a bit of up and a bit of down it was mainly flat and some along a wide road. We left at 8:30am which in my opinion was too late as we ended up trekking once again in the excruciatingly hot sun. When we arrived at our home for the night, we had a Curry for lunch. This was a more developed guesthouse and there was a swimming pool - perfect to relax the muscles! For dinner we had Spaghetti Bolognese and then another early night. Today had only taken 3.5 hours and was only 8 km but still tiring nonetheless.
We started early (thank goodness!) at 5am we started our 100% uphill climb. It was only 4 km but the uphill part made it tricky, lots of stones and steps to navigate up and around. It only took us 3.5 hours which we were happy with as I wasn't feeling too good (I wasn't even sure if I would make it up the mountain!!)
From here it was a long day ahead for us... we had breakfast at the top then drove for a while to the hot springs (which we opted not to do due to being unwell) but there's nothing to do there other than the springs so this was almost 2 hours of waiting around. Various view points and stops and then an hour for lunch then 5 hours back to Arequipa (bad time for traffic) meant we arrived back to the city just after 6:30pm. Bearing in mind we were up at 4am and we had done a tough morning hike, everyone was ready to be back in Arequipa!
The Colca Canyon is beautiful and the trek is amazing along with stunning views. It's also nice to be surrounded by nature, no wifi and limited electricity for a couple of days...