The Colca has a very special place in the heart of Piero Vellutino, our founder.
In 1979 a Polish expedition arrived in Arequipa with a petition from Pope John Paul II asking for support, which they received from the Vellutino family. This is how this canyon was successfully paddled for the first time in the history of humankind.
The Polish left their river equipment in the garden of a house, where four curious brothers, nature lovers, did the same to mark the beginnings of kayaking and rafting in Peru.
Almost four decades later and for five days, together with Piero and other expert guides, you will navigate the choppy white waters of one of the deepest canyons in the world and view its walls with impressive geological formations.
A place still remote and little-explored offers a journey suitable for the most seasoned adventurers.
This trip begins in Arequipa, located in the south of Peru, an hour’s flight from Lima.
This city lies at the foot of the great Misti volcano, and its historic center dates back to colonial times. Its buildings, including the cathedral, are made of ashlar, a white volcanic stone. For its peculiar beauty and history, Arequipa has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
In the evening, stroll through its cobblestone streets and enjoy one of Peru’s most outstanding gastronomic destinations.
Today’s destination is the Colca Valley. A road of breathtaking geographical beauty connects Arequipa with this valley.
Pass through the National Reserve of Salinas and Aguada Blanca and travel through the Pampas of Cañahuas and Tocra, and the stone forests of Pueruña and Sumbay. Observe the imposing snow-capped mountains of Ampato and Sabancaya and cross the stone castle of Callalli until finally arriving in Chivay, one of the fourteen small towns that make up this valley and known for its hot springs.
In the morning, walk along the left bank of the Colca Valley and be impressed by the stunning terraces built on the steep slopes of this canyon, an impressive work of engineering from pre-Inca times.
Walk through the villages, churches, and ruins found in this valley. Visit the famous Cruz del Condor, a natural observatory 1,200 meters (4,056 ft.) above the river, from where you can appreciate the great depth of the canyon and the majestic flight of the condor.
The final point of today’s journey will be the village of Canco.
Start the day visiting the John Paul II Waterfall. On the way back to Canco, the guides will be waiting with the equipment ready to enter the canyon and start a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The river welcomes you with four kilometers of continuous class II and III rapids until the confluence with the Mamacocha River, from where the Colca’s flow doubles.
Camp at La Pared Beach and experience what it feels like to be the only human beings in that part of the world at that moment.
Enjoy a delicious breakfast by the river and charge up with energy to paddle the canyon of “La Pared,” a section of four class IV+ rapids, which will be paddled or hiked depending on the water level.
Continue through a fun section of class III rapids until you reach our second camp along Jazmín Creek. From here, together with your guides, join a hike to appreciate better the wall formations in this section of the canyon.
This is a very special day; you will feel like you have arrived at the heart of the Colca.
Witness how the canyon walls come together and turn the scenery into a lunar landscape. Pass by the “Ducha del Condor”, a waterfall of hundreds of meters of water falling into the void. With the help of the wind, the water is sprayed along the way, making it the perfect shower for these giant birds.
Continue paddling class III and IV rapids until you reach the gates of Chocolate Canyon, named for the colors of the walls in this stretch. Here you will camp and depart for one of the most incredible hikes inside the canyon.
Today is a challenging day. Paddle to a section of solid class IV and V rapids.
In the afternoon, hike the imposing portage of Reparaz Canyon. A few minutes away is Esperanza Beach, our last camp of the expedition. Spend a great night under a million stars and around the fire and thank the canyon for welcoming us.
Paddle the last section of the Colca. You will experience fun rapids and then a portage to cross the Polish Canyon, culminating at the Andamayo River’s confluence, the end of the expedition.
At the home of Mauro, a friend of the Vellutino family, enjoy an exquisite lunch of the biggest shrimps in the world.
A 3-hour drive takes you back to the city of Arequipa.
Transfer to the airport.
To ensure the well-being and safety of our travelers and staff throughout our operational chain, Terra Explorer will comply with the health and safety measures and protocols established by the Peruvian Association of Adventure Tourism and Ecotourism (APTAE), and implement the Covid-19 health and safety guidelines for adventure tourism developed by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
Our experiences are designed considering the least possible exposure, where the final destinations are usually remote places. By their very nature, our adventure activities are considered to be low risk, mainly because they are performed outdoors where ventilation is constant and making it easy to achieve social distancing.
During these times we are working together with a small staff of honorable people who have been part of the Terra Explorer family for many years. They and their families are aligned with the established health and safety measures. Employing these staff members also seeks to reactivate the local economy.
We guarantee a safe, soul-fulfilling trip to all our travelers for whom we make these adventures possible.
Terra Explorer will strictly comply with the safety, cleaning, and hygiene protocols during our internal processes, third parties, and throughout your trip. This involves:
Follow the instructions related to health and safety given by the Terra Explorer team and your guide, before and during your trip.
Stay home if:
With the intention of delivering the most flexibility at the time of confirming your trip, we will determine the amount of the initial deposit individually and according to your itinerary characteristics.
Secure your trip with a deposit and pay the rest in one or more payments, at a time that suits you best. Please make sure you adhere to our policy and pay in full at least 31 days prior to your trip date.
If you need to cancel your trip, we will apply the following flexible policies.
For more detailed information on our terms and conditions and Covid-19 policies, please contact us at [email protected]