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Seven Of The Best Day Trips From Arequipa


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Yasmin Edge


Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is one of the most breathtaking natural wonders in Peru. Located about 160 kilometers northwest of Arequipa, it is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon and offers stunning views of its rugged landscapes. The canyon is home to the Andean condor, one of the largest flying birds in the world, and watching these majestic creatures soar through the canyon’s thermal updrafts is an unforgettable experience.


A day trip to Colca Canyon will usually start with an early morning drive from Arequipa, passing through picturesque towns and witnessing the high-altitude flora and fauna. Upon reaching the canyon, visitors can choose between hiking along the canyon’s rim or descending into its depths. Both options offer unique perspectives and opportunities to absorb the natural beauty.


If you opt to hike along the rim, you will be rewarded with panoramic vistas of terraced fields, sprawling valleys, and snow-capped peaks. Along the way, you can visit traditional villages like Chivay and Yanque, where you can interact with the locals and learn about their traditional way of life. You can also stop by the Cruz del Condor viewpoint, which offers a prime vantage point to spot the condors as they glide just meters away.


For those seeking a more adventurous experience, hiking down into the canyon provides a chance to explore its hidden gems. The descent can be challenging, but it leads to stunning oases with natural hot springs, where you can relax and rejuvenate amid the peaceful surroundings. Be sure to bring sturdy footwear and plenty of water for the trek.


With its awe-inspiring landscapes and rich biodiversity, Colca Canyon is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts. Whether you choose to witness the condors in flight, hike along the rim, or venture into the canyon’s depths, a day trip to Colca Canyon promises to be an unforgettable experience that showcases the beauty and grandeur of Peru’s natural wonders.


Misti Volcano

Rising majestically above the city of Arequipa, Misti Volcano is an iconic symbol of the region. This dormant volcano stands at an impressive height of approximately 5,822 meters and offers spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. A day trip to Misti Volcano is a unique opportunity to explore its rugged terrain and marvel at its beauty.


The journey to Misti Volcano begins with a scenic drive from Arequipa to the foothills of the volcano. From there, a challenging trek awaits those who want to conquer its summit. As you ascend, you will pass through diverse ecosystems, ranging from lush vegetation to arid slopes. The trek requires a reasonable level of fitness and acclimatization to the high altitude, so it is recommended to undertake this adventure with a local guide.


Reaching the summit of Misti Volcano is a rewarding achievement that offers unparalleled panoramic views. On clear days, you can see the city of Arequipa spread out below, with the surrounding mountains and volcanoes dotting the horizon. The sense of awe and accomplishment that accompanies standing atop Misti Volcano is truly unforgettable.


If climbing to the summit seems too challenging, there are also shorter hikes available that allow you to explore the lower slopes. These hikes still offer breathtaking views and a chance to appreciate the unique flora and fauna of the area. Additionally, you can visit the surrounding volcanic zones, such as Chachani and Pichu Pichu, which add to the beauty and diversity of the landscape.


It is important to note that climbing Misti Volcano requires adequate planning and preparation. It is recommended to consult with experienced local guides, who can provide valuable insights and ensure your safety throughout the journey. Proper equipment, including warm clothing, hiking boots, and sufficient water and snacks, is essential for a successful and enjoyable trip.


A day trip to Misti Volcano is an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the region and experience the thrill of conquering a majestic peak. Whether you choose to climb to the summit or explore the lower slopes, Misti Volcano promises a truly unforgettable adventure that combines breathtaking views with the exhilaration of conquering the heights.


Cusco and Machu Picchu

No visit to Peru is complete without exploring the historic city of Cusco and the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. A day trip from Arequipa to Cusco and Machu Picchu is a journey back in time, filled with fascinating history, breathtaking landscapes, and a sense of awe-inspiring wonder.


Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, is a vibrant city that seamlessly combines ancient traditions with modern influences. Start your day trip by exploring the city’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, where you can admire the impressive colonial architecture and visit historical landmarks such as the main square, Plaza de Armas, and the famous cathedral.


From Cusco, take a train or bus to Aguas Calientes, the base town for visiting Machu Picchu. The journey itself offers stunning views of the Sacred Valley, with its terraced fields and winding rivers. Once in Aguas Calientes, you can choose to either hike up to Machu Picchu or take a bus to the entrance of the ruins.


As you step foot into Machu Picchu, you will be greeted by one of the world’s most remarkable archaeological sites. This ancient Inca city, hidden high in the Andes Mountains, is shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Explore the terraces, temples, and intricate stone structures that showcase the ingenuity of the Inca civilization. Marvel at the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the iconic Huayna Picchu peak.


A knowledgeable guide can provide invaluable insights into the history and significance of Machu Picchu, making your visit even more enriching. Take your time to wander through the ruins, sit in quiet contemplation, and soak in the spiritual atmosphere of this remarkable place.


After exploring Machu Picchu, you can return to Aguas Calientes to relax in its hot springs or visit the local market to browse for souvenirs and handicrafts. Remember to sample some local Peruvian cuisine, such as the traditional dish of ceviche or the popular cuy, roasted guinea pig.


As the day draws to a close, make your way back to Cusco, reflecting on the awe-inspiring sights and experiences you encountered. The day trip to Cusco and Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.


Lake Titicaca

Located on the border of Peru and Bolivia, Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world and holds a special place in Andean mythology and history. A day trip from Arequipa to Lake Titicaca offers a unique opportunity to explore its stunning landscapes, visit traditional communities, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the region.


Your day trip to Lake Titicaca will usually start with a scenic drive from Arequipa, passing through picturesque towns and the stunning Andean highlands. As you approach the lake, you will be greeted by its vast expanse of shimmering blue waters framed by snow-capped peaks. It’s a sight that will take your breath away.


One of the highlights of visiting Lake Titicaca is exploring the fascinating floating islands of the Uros people. These islands are entirely made of reeds, a unique form of living architecture. You can learn about their traditional way of life, experience their hospitality, and even take a boat ride in a traditional reed vessel called a totora boat.


Another must-visit destination on Lake Titicaca is Taquile Island. This peaceful island is known for its pristine natural beauty and its inhabitants’ dedication to preserving their traditional way of life. The intricate and colorful textiles made by the locals are famous worldwide, and you can learn about their weaving techniques and purchase unique handicrafts as souvenirs.


While on Lake Titicaca, you can also indulge in the delicious local cuisine, such as fresh fish caught from the lake and traditional dishes like quinoa soup and chuño potato stew. The unique flavors and use of local ingredients add to the cultural experience of your day trip.


As you explore the lake and interact with the local communities, you’ll gain insight into the vibrant culture and ancient traditions that have been preserved for centuries. The richness of Lake Titicaca’s cultural and natural heritage is truly awe-inspiring.


As your day trip comes to an end, you’ll carry with you memories of the serenity and beauty of Lake Titicaca, the warmth of its people, and a deeper understanding of the Andean way of life. A visit to Lake Titicaca is an unforgettable journey that will leave a lasting impression.


Yanahuara and Sabandia

Located just a short distance from Arequipa, the charming towns of Yanahuara and Sabandia offer a delightful day trip experience filled with history, culture, and natural beauty. These picturesque destinations allow you to escape the bustling city and immerse yourself in the serene countryside.


Yanahuara, known for its beautiful colonial architecture, is a quaint town that offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes and the Misti Volcano. The main attraction of Yanahuara is the historic Yanahuara viewpoint, where you can gaze upon the picturesque rooftops of the town and the majestic volcanic peaks in the distance. Take a leisurely stroll through the town’s narrow streets, admire the intricate facades of the colonial buildings, and visit the lovely San Juan Bautista Church.


From Yanahuara, a short drive will take you to Sabandia, a scenic countryside escape. Sabandia is famous for its charming watermill, which dates back to the 18th century. This rustic mill, made of volcanic stone, is nestled among the tranquil countryside and provides a glimpse into the traditional agricultural practices of the region. Enjoy a peaceful walk along the nearby river, surrounded by lush vegetation and the soothing sound of flowing water.


While in Sabandia, you can also visit the Sabandia Colca canyon, a smaller version of the famous Colca Canyon. This mini canyon offers breathtaking views and a chance to witness the stunning natural beauty of the region on a smaller scale. Hiking along its rim, you can admire the intricate patterns of the terraced fields and marvel at the geological formations carved by the river over millennia.


Don’t miss the opportunity to try some local culinary specialties in Yanahuara and Sabandia. You can indulge in traditional Peruvian dishes such as rocoto relleno, a spicy stuffed pepper, or chupe de camarones, a delicious shrimp soup. Pair your meal with a refreshing chicha morada, a purple corn beverage that is a staple in the Andean region.


Yanahuara and Sabandia offer a peaceful and immersive day trip experience that showcases the beauty of the Arequipa countryside and allows for a deeper understanding of the region’s history and culture. Whether you are exploring the colonial architecture of Yanahuara or taking in the natural landscapes of Sabandia, this day trip promises to be a memorable and enriching experience.


Sogay Waterfall

Nestled in the breathtaking landscapes of the Colca Valley, Sogay Waterfall is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. A day trip from Arequipa to Sogay Waterfall offers a refreshing escape into nature, where you can witness the power and beauty of cascading water surrounded by lush greenery.


The journey to Sogay Waterfall begins with a scenic drive through the picturesque towns and winding roads of the Colca Valley. As you approach the waterfall, you’ll be greeted by the sound of rushing water and the refreshing mist that fills the air.


Upon arrival, you’ll be awe-struck by the sight of Sogay Waterfall cascading down a series of rocky cliffs. The sheer power and elegance of the waterfall create a mesmerizing spectacle. Marvel at the water plunging into the pool below, creating a natural oasis amid the rugged terrain.


The area surrounding Sogay Waterfall offers ample opportunities for hiking and exploring. A trek through the lush vegetation and alongside the rushing river will reward you with breathtaking views of the waterfall from different angles. Take your time to soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings, listen to the sounds of nature, and feel the invigorating energy of the waterfall.


Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit, as some areas near the waterfall provide the perfect opportunity for a refreshing dip in the cool waters. Immerse yourself in the natural pool and let the cascading water massage your back, creating a truly revitalizing experience.


While Sogay Waterfall is the main attraction, the surrounding area is home to diverse flora and fauna that adds to the allure of the hike. Keep an eye out for native birds, butterflies, and other wildlife that call this region home.


It is important to note that visiting Sogay Waterfall requires a certain level of physical fitness, as the terrain can be uneven and slippery. Proper footwear is essential for a safe and enjoyable experience.


A day trip to Sogay Waterfall provides a rejuvenating escape from the city and an opportunity to connect with nature’s beauty. As you feel the refreshing mist on your face and hear the thundering sound of the falling water, you’ll understand why this hidden gem is a must-visit destination in the Arequipa region.


Toro Muerto

Deep in the Peruvian desert lies the extraordinary archaeological site of Toro Muerto. A day trip from Arequipa to Toro Muerto takes you on a journey back in time, where you can explore an ancient landscape adorned with countless petroglyphs, or rock engravings, dating back thousands of years.


Toro Muerto, which translates to “Dead Bull,” is an aptly named site due to the rock formations resembling giant resting bulls spread across the desert. These massive stones, scattered over an area of approximately 5 square kilometers, are emblazoned with intricate carvings depicting symbols, animals, and geometric shapes.


As you walk among the petroglyphs at Toro Muerto, you’ll be struck by the artistry and complexity of the engravings. Scholars believe that these carvings were created by the Wari culture and later expanded upon by the Inca civilization. The petroglyphs served as a means of communication and representation of their spiritual beliefs and daily life.


Walking through Toro Muerto is like entering an open-air museum, where you’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the ancient artwork that stood the test of time. Admire the intricate details, ponder the meaning behind the symbols, and try to imagine the world of the ancient civilizations who once inhabited this arid desert.


The desert landscape surrounding Toro Muerto is as captivating as the petroglyphs themselves. The rugged, sandy terrain against the backdrop of barren hills and distant mountains creates a stark yet mesmerizing contrast. The silence and vastness of the desert add to the mystical atmosphere of the site.


It is important to note that Toro Muerto is a remote and relatively untouched archaeological site. As such, it is crucial to respect the area and follow any guidelines or restrictions set by authorities. Avoid touching or tampering with the carvings and leave no trace behind.


A day trip to Toro Muerto offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and connect with the ancient civilizations that once thrived in this desert landscape. The petroglyphs serve as a tangible link to the past, offering insight into the rich cultural heritage of Peru. Prepare to be amazed by the artistry and historical significance of Toro Muerto as you immerse yourself in this ancient sanctuary carved into the rocks of the desert.