The capital of the province of Cailloma, Chivay is one of the most traditional places in Arequipa. The contrast of the countryside with the granite walls, snow-capped volcanoes and the wildlife and the persistence of cultural manners themselves is an unforgettable experience.
The valley was an ancient settlement of the Collaguas, and contains remains such as mysterious petroglyphs (rock paintings) and caves where they kept the colcas (containers for storing grain). Located on both banks of the river Colca are 14 towns built in the XVI century (Yanque, Achola, Maca, Pinchillo, Cabanaconde, Coporaque, Ichupampa, Lari y Madrigal, amongst others), most founded by the Collaguas who were dispersed about the area during the time. Despite the time that has passed, these towns have retained their original characteristics such as the layout of the streets, their richly ornate colonial churches and their traditional festivals.
The area is popular for its finely made handicrafts such as carpets, embroideries of colourful designs and embossed tin. It is also known for its fine craft of carved wood. Many of the towns offer hostals, but it is possible to camp and hike too. The area is also ideal for adventure sports.
It is recommended to do a 3 day circuit of the towns of Coporaque, Pinchollo, Yanque, Achoma, Cabanaconde and others, whose churches shine impressively with facades of ashlar. Wait at dawn at the Cruz del Condor to see mighty bird’s early morning search for food, contemplate one of deepest canyons of Peru, and join the party! There are many friendly hostels with showers with hot water and restaurants with both traditional and international cuisine.