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COTAHUASI

ADVENTURE TOURS | RAFTING TOURS

ITINERARY

Days: 11
Location: Cotahuasi Canyon – Arequipa South Peru
Activity Level: Hard
Season: From June to September

Rafting Tours and Trips in Cusco, Peru :: Terra Explorer Peru

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Cotahuasi River Rafting Tours

The Grand Canyon of the Cotahuasi River -located in the Department of Arequipa in southern Peru- plunges to a depth of 3535 meters (approximately 11,600 feet), thus making it the deepest river canyon in the world. This expedition comprises a fantastically diverse combination of culture and adventure.   Throughout the following 6 days we shall navigate and paddle down 89 kilometers (approximately 60 miles) of Class III, IV and V rapids, as well as camp along the riverbanks from where we can explore archaeological ruins, Inka roads and pre-Hispanic tunnels; all of which are perfectly preserved, mainly due to the fact that the river itself represents the only access route into the area. Terra Explorer Peru and our staff of professional river guides -with ample experience attained in the course of numerous trips and expeditions through the Cotahuasi Canyon- will lead you to discover the many hidden marvels that lie hidden within it.

 

Day 1:AREQUIPA

Our trip begins in the city of Arequipa, the second largest city in Peru and principal urban center of the southwestern region of the country, situated – a one hour plane flight from Lima. In the afternoon, we tour the almost 500 year old city –recently proclaimed a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO. Among the outstanding sites are the famous Convent of Santa Catalina, as well as the Museum where we can observe the mummified corpse of the young Inka woman (known in present times as “Juanita”) which was found some years ago atop the snowcapped peak of Ampato, in the vicinity of the Colca Canyon.

 

Day 2:AREQUIPA – COTAHUASI

Today we head out from the city, bound for the town of Cotahuasi. This involves a lengthy ride in 4-wheel drive all terrain vehicles through the Andes. Along the way we will surmount a mountain pass at an altitude of 4000 meters (approx. 13,400 feet) above sea level; come in close vicinity of the impressive snow capped peak of Coropuna (second highest mountain in Peru and among the 10 highest in the Western Hemisphere) and go through several ancient towns and villages where time seemingly came to a standstill centuries ago. After 10 hours of driving we reach Cotahuasi and lodge overnight in a local Hostel. Meals: B+L+D

 

Day 3:COTAHUASI AND ENVIRONS

In the morning we undertake a hike above the Amaña Canyon, crossing the ancient bridge of Chuquito, dating to pre-Inka times. During the afternoon, we visit the town of Cotahuasi. This is also a centuries-old urban site. The surrounding area constitutes an ideal refuge and habitat for endangered and protected species of Andean fauna such as Condors and Vicuñas. Due to its cultural and archaeological features, it was proclaimed a National Tourist Reserve Zone (Zona de Reserva Turística Nacional) in 1988. Meals: B+L+D

 

Day 4:HIKE TO RIVER PUT- IN

We drive to the end-of-the-road (thus sparing ourselves a two-hour hike). Upon reaching the bridge of Sipia we are met by the “burros” –the pack donkeys- and their wranglers, who will bear and transport all our gear and food to the river put-in. Following a six-hour trek –during which we will pass by Sipia Falls, a waterfall with a vertical drop of 150 meters (approx. 495 feet), as well as through a grove of giant cacti- we eventually reach the village of Berlinga and our first riverside campsite. Meals: B+L+D

 

Day 5: PUT- IN AND INITIAL STRETCH OF BOATING

Come morning, we ready all our gear and other logistical infrastructure, pump up the boats, enjoy lunch and put into the river. In the following couple of hours we paddle downriver through 4 kilometers (approx. 2.7 miles) of Class III and IV rapids and reach our second campsite. Meals: B+L+D

 

Days 6 to 9 :RIVER RAFTING

Throughout the next four days we will navigate down 65 kilometers (approx. 44 miles) of thrilling, continuous and fun-filled Class III, IV and V white water rapids, as the Cotahuasi river flows toward and into the Pacific Ocean (at which point it will already bear the name of Rio Ocoña). We will observe Condors and a variety of other birdlife endemic to the region. Basing out from our campsites, we will set forth on a diversity of treks and hikes to visit the neighboring and surrounding archaeological sites of pre-Inka and Inka origin. Meals: B+L+D

 

Day 10 :FINAL STRETCH OF BOATING AND TAKE-OUT

On this day we cover the final 20 kilometers (approx. 13 miles) of our river trip expedition. At this point, we can already feel the higher humidity content in environment indicating our proximity to the Pacific Ocean shore and –consequently- that of our take-out point as well. We paddle down the Cotahuasi River (known as the Rio Ocoña since its merging with the Maran River a short while earlier) for approximately two last hours until reaching the small town of Iquipi. There, our transportation lies awaiting our arrival to take us back to the city of Arequipa. Meals: B+L

 

Day 11:HOMEWARD BOUND

Departure from Arequipa.

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Testimonials

“Rafting the Cotahuasi, sleeping and hiking in pre-inca ruins with exceptional guides that downright pamper you in one of the most beautiful and completely remote places on earth is an absolutely unique experience and was made unforgettable by Terra Explorer Peru, Piero and his expert guides. Highly recommended if you are looking for a trip of a lifetime!”

Lisa Huber