Orientation

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Peru, Arequipa

Yanque, from the path to Uyu-Uyu
Photo by Amber Herber

As it is, tourist buses pit-stop in the plaza in Yanque for about 20 minutes – tourists shop among the artisan women, take pictures of llamas, and get back on the bus, headed for either Chivay or Cabanaconde and the Cruz del Condor. This is unfortunate, because Yanque has a lot to offer for adventure travelers and is a more relaxed lodging alternative to Chivay or Cabanaconde.

Activities

Trek to Uyu-Uyu Ruins

Yanque, Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Peru

Photo by Amber Herber

Legend has it that the Spanish burned every building in the Incan town of Uyu-Uyu, killing everyone except one man, who lived to tell of the atrocity (an atrocity that was unfortunately common back then). Despite the devastation, many buildings remain remarkably intact, with all four walls and even part of the roof. It also still feels like a town – you can almost picture kids running up the main walkway on an errand from their parents, or people gathered in the town center, talking about whatever it is that Incans talked about.

Bring water and sunscreen, as there is not much shade on the walk. It is mostly uphill, but not particuarly strenuous.

Trip time: about 3 hours round-trip

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Peru

Photo by Amber Herber

Price for a guide: S/. 50 for a pair; S/. 80 for a group

(Note: You can do this trek without a guide, but you should either be confident in your Spanish, (or your gesturing) to ask for directions as you go. There are some signs, but they are honestly not very useful. If you say ruinas de Uyu-Uyu (pronounced “oo-you-you”), locals should know what you’re talking about and point you the right way. Just note that you may not encounter any locals on the path up.)

Jack at the Uyu-Uyu Ruins:

Horseback Riding

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Peru, Arequipa

The Cervantes Bridge
Photo by Amber Herber

Ride to the Uyu-Uyu Ruins: Trot through town and cross the Cervantes bridge over the Colca valley, where you can see the colcas (essentially storage holes) dug into the cliff-faces. Views of the valley are excellent as you ascend towards the ruins, which are described above.

Trip time: About 2 hours

Price: S/.30 per hour (so, S/.60); this price includes the guide

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Peru, Arequipa

Photo by Amber Herber

Route to Coporaque: The views steadily improve as you make your way steadily up hill, along the ridges towards the sleepy town of Coporaque. The Colca river runs through the middle of the valley, which is checkered with a patchwork of farms as far as you can see. Giant, snow-capped mountains rise in the distance. Get lunch in and explore Coporaque, before turning around for a nice downhill ride back into Yanque.

Trip time: About 2 hours

Price: S/.30 per hour (so, S/.60); this price includes the guide

Bike Riding

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Peru, Arequipa

Photo by Amber Herber

Beginning at 4,900 meters in the town of Patapampa, descend 27 kilometers on a dirt path that hugs the river and used to be part of the ancient Inca Trail. The views are spectacular and the ride is thrilling. There may be snow on the peaks where you begin, so bring warm layers, including gloves and something to cover your ears. You can arrange to either have your transport bring you back to town, in to Chivay, or straight to the hot springs.

Trip time: 3 hours

Price: S/.50 – includes a guide and transport to the starting and from the ending points

Hot Springs

While naturally fed, these hot springs look more like small swimming pools (i.e. they are relaxing, but not because of the ambiance). Go in the morning, when the water is freshest. To get there, walk downhill from Yanque toward the town of Ichipampa and the springs will be on the left hand side (there are signs, but if you don’t see them, just ask for aguas termales. There are two pools, a shower, and a changing room.

Price: S/.5

Lodging

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Arequipa, Peru

Killawasi Lodge

Host Families (Casas Vivenciales):

The most economical and authentic option is to stay with a family:

Sumaq Kantuta Wasi

Guillermina Huaracha Cutipa  is head of this host family option. Ask for Guillermina and anyone should be able to point you to her house.

Phone: 957-883-538 or 959-015-570

Room Prices:

Single: S/. 25, Matrimonial: S/.45, Double: S/. 45, Triple: S/.65. Prices include breakfast (bread and butter, coffee or tea).

The family can also make you lunch, which consists of soup, a main dish, and a drink. Price: S/.10

Killawasi Lodge

If you want to do the canyon in style, the Killawasi Lodge always kills it on Trip Advisor and has top-notch accommodations. For more information, visit their website here.

Price: $65-$105

Dining

Colca Valley, Colca Canyon, Peru, Arequipa

The Plaza de Armas

We recommend eating where you sleep, as there aren’t many local restaurants.

A restaurant just opened on the left side of the plaza (if you’re facing the church). It seems more aimed at tourists than locals and has a menu (though not menu), with different dishes around S/.9-10.

How to Get There

From Arequipa: You will need to go first to Chivay, then get a combi (van) to Yanque (process described below).

Getting to Chivay from Arequipa: Buses leave frequently from the Arequipa bus terminal and cost S/.14. Of the buses, we used Reyna and had no problems.

However, we recommend taking the Centella van – it is faster and more comfortable, and only S/.1 more than the bus. We recommend calling ahead to reserve a seat at 9-9992-1174.

To Get to Centella: While in Arequipa, take a taxi to Avenida Andres A. Caceras 310 J.L.B. Y Rivero. If he has trouble with that, tell him to take you to “Makro, cerca del terminal.” He will drop you off in front of a large sign that says “Makro” (it’s a store). If facing the Makro sign, walk left, cross the street, and keep walking the same direction. In about a minute, you should see a blue and green sign that says “Transportes Centella.” Beside it, there should be a parking lot with several vans in it. Go inside to the office and buy your ticket for Chivay.

Cost: S/.15

Combi from Chivay:

Combis (vans) from Chivay have no set schedule, but leave pretty consistently all day. To get to the Yanque combi, walk behind the market to where all the fruit stands are and keep walking past them. On the street after the fruit stands end, you should see vans parked, ask for el combi de Yanque.

Cost: S/.1.20

Community Contacts

Freddy Huaracha: Guide

Speaks good English and some French

Cell phone: 9-4197-7118

Message from Freddy: Wants to treat everyone the same – Europeans, Americans, Peruvians. That means the same price and same quality service every time.

Edwin: Bike Guide

Has 10 bikes and camping gear for rent

Cell phone: 9-5980-3551

Email: edwinoxa82guia@hotmail.com

Map

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Yanque

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Yanque -15.650100, -71.658436 As it is, tourist buses pit-stop in the plaza in Yanque for about 20 minutes – tourists shop among the artisan women, take pictures of llamas, and get back on the bus, headed for either Chivay or Cabanaconde and the Cruz del Condor. This is unfortunate, because Yanque has a lot to offer for adventure travelers and is a more relaxed lodging alternative to Chivay or Cabanaconde.