If you only have a few days to spare in the Colca region, this is a fine three day trek that will give you a nice sampling of what the Colca has to offer. This popular trek is a bit more developed than most of the Colca but is a very beautiful and nice trek.
Trekking along the Rio Colca near the village of Llauar
As of November 2007, several bus lines and tourist buses are visiting Cabanaconde. For the public bus, several (3-4) buses a day leave from Terminal Terreste. Buses leave anywhere from the middle of the night to early afternoon. As of 2007, the bus company names are Transportes Reyna, Transportes Andalucia, and Turismo Milagros. All buses stop in Chivay along the way. Expect to take 5-6 hours from Arequipa.
giant agave plant in the bottom of the Colca Canyon.
Cabanaconde to Llauar
From Cabanaconde, head to the west side of town and to the stone bullring. Head north and to the edge of the Colca Canyon and look for the trail down in. Finding the first part of the trail is the only time navigation can be confusing. Once at the canyon’s edge the trail is obvious.
Follow the trail, often very dusty all the way down to the bridge on the Rio Colca which is near some interesting boiling springs and a geyser. The trail passes through many types of cactus. You will cross one large drainage, but unless you are there after rains, there is no water before reaching the river.
Once you cross the river, you will head on the trail that veers west and over the hills to the village of Llauar passing a smaller village or homestead along the way. Llauar is a very pleasant place to spend the night and has some really nice hot springs which you can camp next to for a small fee.
This is the oasis of Llauar. It's a long, dry and dusty hike down to the bottom of the Colca Canyon, but the village is a welcome site.
Llauar to Sangalle
Watefall at Sangalle.
After spending the night at Llauar, follow the trail back towards the bridge. After passing the homestead again you will take the trail off to the left. The route to Sangalle can be a bit confusing along the way since several trails branch off to various villages and agricultural areas. The correct trail goes surprisingly high. When in doubt, ask a local for the right trail. After you are half way or so to Sagalle, the village becomes visible and the route becomes very easy to follow. The trail angles gradually down the slope and provides some excellent views of the expanses of the Colca Canyon.
The last part of the trail drops very steeply to Sagalle and has some impressive views of the oasis and many nice waterfalls. Sangalle is a true paradise and an excellent place to spend the night. You can camp or basic lodging is available.
Sangalle to Cabanaconde
From Sangalle, the trail heads south up to Cabanaconde. The trail is easy to follow, but is a steady grade all the way to the top. Once on the rim of the inner canyon, you will follow the main route back to the village of Cabanaconde.
This is the Rio Colca as viewed from the Sangalle Bridge.
A good pair of boots is needed. Make sure to carry plenty of water as it is scarce along many of the trails.