advice and precautions
- When trekking by yourself in the Colca Canyon please only do the ‘classic’ routes, thereby avoiding problems such as getting lost. Don’t confuse adventure with irresponsibility (see the treks recommended to do by yourself). In our hotel we will be happy to explain the different alternatives for you and to show you the start of the routes.
- If you want to go trekking by yourself, it’s not necessary to bring or rent camping equipment such as tents or camping stoves. In the canyon you will find plenty of basic accommodation and restaurant services provided by local families. We will happily help you to make a free reservation from our hotel in Cabanaconde for the Oasis, San Juan de Chuccho, Tapay or elsewhere. It’s worth making a reservation to be sure of having a place to sleep and eat.
- A sleeping bag is optional and only worth taking if it is small and light and you particularly feel the cold or are very concerned about cleanliness. The family accommodation services in the canyon will generally provide you with two blankets (and the nights are significantly less cold than in Cabanaconde). If you want to take a sleeping bag and do not have one, we can rent you one from our hotel in Cabanaconde.
- We provide free schematic maps of trekking routes in the canyon. These are useful to help guide you along the trails and also make a nice souvenir.
- If you are convinced that you have the experience and knowledge to do the non-traditional treks in the canyon without a guide, that’s your decision. However, you take full responsibility for any problems that might arise. The only thing we can do is give you all the information you request. We recommend contracting a local guide to do nontraditional routes (see non-traditional routes recommended to do with a guide). We can put you in touch with local guides, but please make a request at least a day beforehand.
- You can also rent mules and horses and contract muleteers through our hotel – please make a request at least a day beforehand.
- When you go trekking in the Colca Canyon we can store your large backpack in our hotel (please don’t leave very valuable items). This is a free and secure service.
- If you sleep in the canyon and trek back up to Cabanaconde very early and you need to catch your bus to Arequipa and would like to have a shower before travelling, you can do so in our hotel (there is a charge).
- If you don’t like seeing a lot of other tourists, we recommend that instead of going to the Cruz del Condor you go the natural lookout point of Achachihua. This is located just 15 minutes walk from our hotel. In this natural spot you can also see condors and there are spectacular views of the canyon, including the Oasis, pre-Incan terraces, and, in the distance, the Huraruo waterfall. We have binoculars which we will happily lend you so you can enjoy the views form Achachihua.
- If you just want to stay in Cabanaconde and not trek into the canyon there are also plenty of other things to do, including visiting the fields around Cabanaconde to get to know local people and their work. We can give you advice and help you plan your trip from our office in Arequipa.
Make sure you arrive safely to La Casa de Santiago. When you get to Cabanaconde, there may be other people who will try to convince you to go to another place. Our hotel is located three blocks to the left of the main plaza (if you are facing the church).
HELP US TO RESPECT AND PRESERVE THE TRADITIONAL CUSTOMS OF OUR VILLAGE
- Photos of local people
Please be discreet when taking potos. The oldest people only speak Quechua: be respectful and try to convince with a smile.
- Sweets and candy for the children?
Please don’t give out sweets or candy to children – dentists are expensive, in this village as in most parts of the world.
If you’d like to share something with the local people, consider buying coca leaves (sold in shops in Cabanaconde) and when you go trekking in the canyon share them with the older people and chat with them a while.
- Bars and discotheques in the traditional village of Cabanaconde?
Although you might not believe it, bars and discos in a traditional village like Cabanaconde can have a negative impact on local culture. At the moment there are hostels in Cabanaconde that boast of having the best ambience, with lots of music and alcohol.
What we don’t know is: can the guests in these hostels sleep?
These businesses belong to people who aren’t from Cabanaconde. They aren’t interested in conserving the traditional customs of our village, just in taking advantage of tourists.
If you’re really keen to have a beer, do so only until a reasonable hour. We’ve seen a lot of tourists walking drunk through our village and it isn’t a good example for the local kids.
The noise of the discotheques doesn’t let local people sleep.
Please help us not to change our village of Cabanaconde. Remember you can do whatever you want in Arequipa city. In Arequipa you can drink until you forget your nationality – but please don’t do so in Cabanaconde.
Many years ago I passed through the town of Aguas Calientes near Machu Picchu. It was a quiet and pleasant town, but now it’s overflowing with bars, discos and disorder thanks to tourist demand.
Please help us to stop Cabanaconde turning into another Aguas Calientes.
- English clases for the poor street kids in Cabanaconde?
Be careful if a hostel tells you that you can do this. Unfortunately at the moment in Cabanaconde there are Peruvians and foreigners who offer this type of tourism. They fool tourists by telling them that they can help the ‘poor children’.
First: in my village there aren’t poor children nor much less street kids. Here there is plenty of maize, potatoes, meat and milk. It’s possible that our children eat better, with more natural products, than children in Europe or the US.
Second: English is taught in school by registered teachers.
If you really want to help the children in Cabanaconde, please report the people who offer this kind of tourism, since they are using the children to attract tourists. Worse, they even take photos and publish them on the hostel web site. Don’t you think this is a kind of exploitation?
This is just an excuse to attract tourists to their own bars where they’ll leave in a drunken state, setting a bad example for the local kids.
If you see anyone offering this type of tourism: this is a fraud. Help us to combat this kind of exploitation using the image of poor children in Peru and in Cabanaconde. Report this to the relevant authorities or in travelers’ internet forums.
To repeat: in Cabanaconde there aren’t street kids or poor children who beg for food or English classes.