What to do at the Colca Canyon
Lots of companies in Arequipa will offer you a tour to the Colca Canyon, but most of these mainly-sitting-in-the-bus tours end at the Cruz del Condor. A nice spot overlooking the Colca Canyon and known for the Condors (a massive bird with a maximum wingspan of 3.2 m, the 5th largest in the world). But actually it is at this point where the magic starts.
Make sure to head down to Cabanaconde and have a sleep over in the Pachamama Hostal. It is owned by Luwi, a local who lived in Antwerp (Belgium) for a few years. He does not only offer a huge amount of unique pisco sours, he also brought back the good Belgian kitchen with Peruvian ingredients.
From Cabanaconde we headed down on a 4h hike towards the amazing lodges in Llahuar. Just before you arrive at the lodge, you ll have to cross 2 rivers. One has a nice geyser.. but don't try to get to close. I tried and i burned my foot, hand and butt (in that order) in my attempt to reach it.
Once you're at the lodge, you must go in to the natural hot tubs. They are almost 40°C and are completely warmed up by water from a nearby geyser. Make sure you go in after sunset to witness the amazing stars while enjoying the warm waters.
The day after we took a bus from Llahuar to Malata. The bus was expected to be there at 8.30am, but we finally caught him at 10.30am. We actually saw the bus driver, on the other side of the canyon, removing some stones from the road to be able to pass... and apparently a few days before us 3 people died in a bus accident. But hey.. we made it safe and well to Malata.
From Malata we went down again for about 1h30 to end up in the amazing oasis in Sangalle. Totally crazy spot. In the middle of a dry mountain landscape all of a sudden we stood on soft green grass, were surrounded by colorful flowers and had a fresh water pool at our disposal. Don't miss out on this if you go to the Colca Canyon...
(ps: in Sangalle there are 2 companies providing lodges. Go to the one with the biggest pool. The other ones will rip you off and are total assholes)
We decided not to sleep over in Sangalle, but to head up back to Cabanaconde on the same day. Some locals said we were nuts, others said to bring enough water with us ;)
The climb up, a 1,2km heigth difference, took us a little less then 3 hours. Pretty good considered the advised time on the map was 3,5h. But yes, we suffered. Our water supply was reduced to 10% half way our trip and our calves are still recovering 3 days after. But what a rewarding trip that was !
Make sure to check the video and the photos !!