There are basically 2 ways to visit the Colca Canyon: Tours and regular buses. Renting a car is a third possibility, but it's not very common.
We are located some 300 yards from La Calera, the famous thermal baths found a couple miles upriver from Chivay. Below, you will find information on how to get to Chivay from Arequipa, and how to get to our facilities once you are in Colca.
Don’t get duped by your tour guide into visiting unscrupulous, lesser quality operations elsewhere. Kickbacks have a way of altering what should be objective opinions on quality.
Tours to Colca are classified based on their duration. The most common ones are the one-day and the two-day versions. Longer versions tend to include other activities such as hiking down to the depths of the canyon. We don't recommend one-day tours as everything is rushed, and there is no time to zipline at leisure, if at all. Two- or three-day tours give you more time to enjoy Colca properly.
Two-day tours leave Arequipa in the morning and get to Chivay, the entry town to the Colca Valley, in time for lunch. The afternoon is devoted to strolling, sightseeing, and visiting one of the various thermal baths in Chivay or Yanque. Day 2 starts with a visit to the canyon proper and a chance to see the mighty condors. The return trip to Arequipa begins right after lunch.
If you take a two-day tour, the best time to visit us is the afternoon of day 1. We recommend you break away from your group after having lunch and checking in at your hotel, and have some adrenaline for dessert. You can always rejoin your tour group at the baths or at dinner later. A three-day tour will definitely have one morning that you can allocate to flying like a condor. Tours can be booked the day before at any of the dozens of travel agencies lining Santa Catalina and Jerusalen streets in downtown Arequipa.
Once in Chivay, you can take a "colectivo" to the La Calera thermal baths. These vans leave from the main square and charge around 1 sol per person. You can also get one to give you a private ride for about 5 soles. If you do the latter, you might want to pay them a couple extra soles so they take you all the way to our facilities. We are located 300 meters upriver from the baths.
Alternatively, you can make sure your tour guide schedules your visit to the La Calera thermal baths before 4 PM. This should give you ample time and good light conditions for you to enjoy our lines to the fullest.
Taking a local bus is also a way to visit the Colca Canyon. This alternative allows you to zipline in the morning, which usually has better wind conditions. Also, you may not need to pay the outrageous tourist ticket (70 soles) required by Autocolca to visit the canyon proper.
There are several bus companies leaving for Chivay from Terminal Terrestre in Arequipa. Some of them are Señor de los Milagros, Reyna, and Andalucia. A couple blocks up the street from the terminal, there are some other transportation companies that run what we call minivans, small white buses that seat between 15 and 20 people. So, it is easy to find a ride to Chivay almost every hour, starting as early as 5:00. Since this is a three-hour ride, leaving any time before 7:00 has you ziplining before noon.
After ziplining, you can sightsee around Chivay, and maybe even hit the baths before returning to Arequipa. Or you can stay overnight and visit Cruz del Condor the next day. Once in Chivay, get to the La Calera thermal baths by using the colectivos described in the Tours section.