Chivay – The most important starting point for the Colca Valley
Chivay in the Colca Valley is located at about 3,650 meters above sea level. It takes about four hours to drive from the regional capital of Arequipa. Many tourists discover Chivay as part of a guided tour of the Colca Valley. It is limited to a few aspects of the place: the hotel, a trip to the thermal springs of La Calera and an evening dance performance in one of the tourist restaurants, the “Peñas”. The next day at dawn, we continue to one of the viewpoints to observe the condors.
Chivay for insiders – Arrival
The contact with Chivay remains so fleeting. It is possible and just as worthwhile to discover the place in the Colca Valley as well as the valley itself on your own, in addition to spending less money on your own. A bus ride from Arequipa to Chivay costs only about 120 Soles (USD 35). From the terminal Terrestre in Arequipa drive among others the bus companies Andalucía and Reyna. The bus goes to the terminal Terrestre of Chivay, which is just outside the village. From here you can take the moto-taxi for 1 Sol in the place or – depending on luggage – also walk, because from the terminal Terrestre to the plaza of Chivay it takes barely ten minutes.
Hostels and hotels – good overnight stay
As the main starting point of the Colca Valley and the province of Caylloma, Chivay offers a good infrastructure and plenty of accommodation. It’s worth taking a few blocks from the Plaza to a side street. A single room with private bath is usually for 25 Soles, although you may not expect luxury, but comfortable and clean rooms, which are perfectly adequate for short stays. La Posada del Cóndor on Calle Salaverry, which passes by the church of the Plaza Market, is a lovely family run business. The owner family Castillo is always improving the lodging and Blanca Castillo even speaks some German. Otherwise, most accommodations in Chivay offer a comparable quality, you can not really go wrong in the well-developed tourist resort.
Enjoy the regional cuisine
The pubs right on the Plaza and the tourist Peñas offer good and typical food from the region. For a fraction of the required price and not less tasty and hearty you can eat in the restaurants right behind the market. In these restaurants, for three to four soles, there are the typical menus of the area – a large soup, a main course, and a drink or a dessert – which the locals also eat.
The thermal spa La Calera
The thermal springs of La Calera, about four kilometers from Chivay, can be reached on foot or by a shared taxi from the Plaza. The path leads along the Río Colca through the rugged rugged Colca Valley. In the afternoon you pay for a visit to La Calera ten Soles and can use the large panoramic pool. The locals prefer to go to the bath early, when the entrance costs only 2.50 Soles and there are hardly any tourists. But even tourists pay only five Soles in the morning. However, the prerequisite is that you are content with one of the smaller and covered pools. The water of La Calera is just as warm and rich in minerals as there, where in the afternoon the package tourists splash.
What can we do here?
Chivay is well suited for a stroll through the craft shops; many products with the typical embroidery of the Colca Valley are cheaper than in Arequipa, because you can buy directly from the producer here. In addition, the small town is perfect as a base camp for excursions and hikes through the Colca Valley. For example, you can cross the stone bridge “Puente Inca” and climb up to an old tower, which offers a beautiful panoramic view over the village. On a circular walk with good views into the lower part of the valley you reach the neighboring towns of Yanque and Coporaque, which are quiet and less touristy. Especially Yanque lures with its worth seeing ornamental church facade and the somewhat remote ruins of Uyo-Uyo. In Yanque, there are also very nice lodges, from which one can reach in a very short time in the middle of the Colca Canyon.