A tour of southern Peru’s star city and World Heritage Site, Arequipa and a visit to the Colca River Canyon which rival’s the U.S. Grand Canyon, is a fascinating addition to your Amazon River cruise adventure with Aqua Expeditions.
During the colonial era, more Spanish settlers lived in Arequipa, Peru than anywhere else, and their traditions linger, giving the 7,500-foot-high city a distinctive European flavor. In fact, the colonial heritage of Arequipa is so strong that all of Arequipa has been declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site. One magnificent treasure is “El Convento de Santa Catalina”, a large complex of white buildings, vivid gardens, and sweeping plazas that has been in operation for 428 years. At times, the convent housed as many as 400 nuns, largely drawn from the elite of Arequipa. Even though some 30 sisters remain, travelers are invited to come to experience the historic complex’s peace and serenity, and to take a one-hour guided tour.
At 10,607 feet, the Colca River Canyon, located in the foothills of the Andes, is twice as deep as the United States’ Grand Canyon and second only in Peru to the nearby Cotahuasi Canyon. The Colca River’s canyon offers world-class vistas from the canyon rim down to the deep green valley at its bottom. During prehistoric times, the native people stored grain in stone warehouses along the walls of the deep canyon, and the ruins of those structures can still be seen. Today, Collagua Indians live along the rim of the Colca River’s canyon, practicing a lifestyle that has not changed in the past 2,000 years. Massive condors soar above the canyon floor at dusk and dawn, and can best be viewed from the “condor cross” between Pinchollo and Cabanaconde. Chivay town, on the canyon’s south rim, is famous for its hot bubbling hot springs.
Contact us to arrange your visit to Arequipa and the Colca River Canyon before your Amazon River cruise on the M/V Aqua or the M/V Aria.