In the south of Peru is the legendary Colca Canyon, which is, after all, the second deepest in the world and Chivay is considered the perfect starting point for excursions to the gorge. The town of 5,000 souls is located in the upper part of the Colca River, about 85 km from Arequipa, and offers a lot to see: from hot springs on an old Inca bridge, from the colorful market to the karaoke bars.
The Plaza de Armas
As in many cities in Peru or throughout South America, “life” takes place around the Plaza de Armas, the main square of the city. Here you will find numerous restaurants, the Church of the Assumption and the entrance to the local market.
The market, which covers a whole block, is a center for fresh and artisanal products, and is open every day from 7:00 a.m. at 10:00 p.m. As more and more tourists come through Chivay, the supply of tourist souvenirs, ranging from colorful alpaca wool fabrics to jewelry and unique handbags, has increased significantly. However, the market feels extremely “authentic”, unlike, for example, Aguas Calientes, the “suburb” of Machu Picchu.
The Termas la Calera
Only 3.5 km from the city are the hot springs “Termas la Calera”, where you can relax both in indoor and outdoor pools in the approximately 85 ° of warm water temperature, the muscles. Of course, there are also showers, changing rooms and a small snack bar, as well as a small museum (Ethnological Museum), where you can find all kinds of interesting information about the springs and Chivay.
To get to the sources, you can take a tuk tuk (5 soles for 2 people) or a taxi (1 soles per person) from Plaza de armas. Of course, you can also walk along the path behind you, the path leads along the picturesque river and is relatively flat.
Another attraction is the approximately 600-year-old stone bridge, which leads directly to the outskirts of the city on the Colca River, a must if you want to take stunning photos!
Last but not least, there are the obsidian mines of Chivay, which are about 10 km from the town. For example, the obsidian extracted here has been used for almost all the obsidian statues found around Lake Titicaca.
Eat and drink in Chivay
Around the Plaza de Armas and the market, there are plenty of cheap places to eat. Especially popular are the Polloerias shops, where there are grilled chicken. A cheap snack that locals love is alpaca meat in a spicy sauce with roasted potatoes that locals eat directly with their hands.
For more international cravings, the local Irish pub offers pizza, sandwiches, pancakes, as well as a daily menu (Menu of the Day) that includes a soup and an entree. By the way, here you can play a round of pool in the separate area of the bar and enjoy a cold beer at night.
Surprisingly, something happens in Chivay in the afternoon. There are three karaoke bars next to each other on Sucre Street, 4 blocks from the main square. If you want to enjoy a few drinks, the Killari bar across the street is the ideal place. The bars open at 22.00 in the afternoon and are open until 2.00 – 4.00.
So come on
From Arequipa there are several daily bus services to Chivay. The trip takes about 3 to 4 hours, depending on the number of scheduled stops on the route.
Cabanaconde is about 2 hours away. Again, there is private or bus transportation with the minivan.
Yanque is only 40 minutes away by bus. The minibuses depart in the vicinity of the Plaza de Armas and are extremely cheap.
Hotels in Chivay
Here you can stay overnight
Chivay has a variety of accommodation options. From the comfortable Casa Andina Classic, where you can stay in rustic stone cabins with wonderful furniture and observe the stars in the Planetarium of the hotel, to the cozy and economical Rumi Wasi hostel, there is something for every budget.