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Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

I'm looking at options for a 2-day/1-night trek into the canyon from Arequipa. I am seeing quite a variety of price points, from $40USD (suggested by PeruHop) to $130 or $200 or more.

I can see where some trips include the 70 Sol park entrance fee and some don't; some have an extra meal, some include the cost for the hot springs, but none of that really adds up to that much extra.

The most expensive ones are clearly private, but when that is not obviously the case, they all seem to follow a similar itinerary and on the surface...they all kinda look the same.

If you've done this trek: Where are the hidden costs in the cheaper options? What benefits do we get for paying significantly more up front than the cheapo $40 options suggested by PeruHop?

11 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17,730 posts
118 reviews
1. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

Just want to point out that this is not a trek. The 2 day 1 night trips from Arequipa are a bus trip to Chivay. Usually you stop at some scenic spots on the way. you get to Chivay about mid day and have lunch. Then you're dropped at your hotel where you can explore the canyon or go to the hot spring. At Chivay the "canyon" is not very deep. You can walk to the bottom in about 5 minutes. It is a very pretty area to explore, though.

Day 2 they usually pick you back up at your hotel and drive you along the canyon rim stopping at various viewpoints until you get to the condor lookout, which is about 2 hours away. You spend an hour watching the condors, which is really fantastic. Then you drive back, arriving in Chivay at lunch. Have lunch, then they bus you back to Arequipa arriving around dinner time.

Any Arequipa-Colca-Areqiupa 2d/1n trip will follow this same itinerary.

Without having all the itineraries to compare it's hard to know why one costs more than the other. The entrance fee plus a couple meals and the hot springs will add up. One difference might be the hotel they stay at. Another could be how many people are on the trip. Smaller groups will hvae a higher per person cost. Peru Hop may have a big bus and big group.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
3,993 posts
31 reviews
2. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

There is actually a 2day/1night “TREKKING TOUR” of Colca canyon from Arequipa.

It start very early in Arequipa 2-3 am? You hike down the canyon & up the next day.

The difference in price might be that some of the tours say you need to bring a "SLEEPING BAG", while others you probably get an actual room?

When you get quotes, make sure you get itinerary details & WHAT IS INCLUDED & what is extra, this differs from one agency to another.

The price for the regular 2day/1night Colca tours (No trekking) also varies depending the category accommodations you pick. There are hostels for $10/night & luxury hotels for $500/night in Colca.

Not so sure if this 2 day trekking tour is such a good idea anyway, you have to consider the altitude. Patapampa high pass at almost 16,000 FT before descending into Chivay. If you are not feeling good, I wouldn’t be doing any strenuous hikes.

Level Contributor
5 posts
2 reviews
3. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

I have seen "tours" which are bus-oriented, and then (as Pa0l0 says) there are indeed "treks" which leave Ariequipa at around 3am to get to Cabaconde several hours later, then do actually hike several hours (and several thousand feet) to the bottom. Afternoon and overnight look to be in lodge cabins at Sangalle and then trekking back up and out the next morning. These are what we're looking into.

(I found a non-commercial writeup about the basic trek itinerary here https://travel-traction.com/2017/05/25/2-day-hiking-in-the-colca-canyon-review/)

@Pa0l0 definitely aware of the alititude and I suppose we'll adjust as needed. We'll be in Arequipa for a day or so beforehand and the intent is that the up-and-down will actually help us better acclimitise for Cusco and the the Inca trail the following week.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
17,730 posts
118 reviews
4. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

That trekking tour seems ridiculously rushed. Can’t believe they even offer it.

Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
7 posts
50 reviews
5. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

We're having this exact problem right now! Really not sure what to book.. so many different prices and difficult to understand the differences. Don't need an expensive private tour but also don't want to book something terrible. Peru Hop and companies like Exploor Peru seem to just on sell tours that are actually run by more local companies? What did you end up doing?

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,663 posts
15 reviews
6. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

The 2 day trek usually involves hiking down from Cabanaconde to Sangalle, stay overnight and then return next day or hiking down and back up the same day. This means you will see the base of the canyon rather then from observing above. Think Grand Canyon - you can see from top or you can hike the 10miles down and then hike back out. This hiking obviously takes time so if you choose the hike option you then don't have the time to spend visiting other areas in the region. Note we are also talking high altitude so you need to have been at altitude before to help with acclimatising.

I did the 2D/1N tour with out the "trek". My itinerary and every company will be slightly different, was to visit some towns, Corporeque, Chivay, Yanque, Cruz del Condor, Hot Springs etc so we got to not only see the canyon (from the top and saw condors flying up and out of) but also local markets, children dancing in the squares, churches, the erupting volcanoes in the distance, farmers using traditional bullocks and drays, chat to locals who are so different to other parts of Peru as the Spanish didn't get there, and went for short hikes through the valley. So it really depends on what you want to do as to what you choose - do you want to hike and see Sangalle? Or do you just want to view the region and see the mighty canyon, condors and experience more of a cultural experience. For me it was the latter and also I had a lot of problems with altitude so didn't want to exert myself. My tour which was small group also made stops where ever I wanted to along the road from Arequipa to Chivay, o I could stop and take photos at Vicuña National Park of Pampas Galeras etc rather then I watched a lot of the big buses just drive non- stop to destination so people can start the hike down the canyon.

Costs - from my observations the following:

Accommodation is the main one - are you being put in a 20 bed dormitory with a shower down the corridor with no heating or do you have your own room, heating, bathroom etc. Are your meals included? Are you driving to various locations vs just being dropped at a point to hike and then being collected again.

Hope this gives you some ideas of what to do and the variance in costs

Canberra, Australia
1 post
2 reviews
7. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

Hi

We r would like to book a tour without hiking, Colcs your but I can't find their address or phone number?

Would you know where they are by any chance?

B L
Los Angeles...
Level Contributor
342 posts
111 reviews
8. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

I am deciding too whether or not to do the trek. I come in from multiple flight from Los Angeles to Peru then take a flight later into Arequipa where I will spend a day before doing one of these trips then continuing on with my 2 week Peru trip which doesn't include the Inca trail. I think I am really leaning towards the non-trek thinking I may be tired and still adjusting from the traveling. I heard all the trips are the somewhat the same. For the non-trekking one, you stay in Chivay arriving around 1pm. Are there things to do there? The trip itinerary shows optional Hot Springs or just exploring on your own until the optional dinner with a folk show. Not sure if I am really into the dinner/folk show. Or do you guys prefer the trekking one which I heard it is a bit difficult for non-hikers. I have seen trips in findlocaltrips.com for around $30USD which is basically for transportation and a shared dormitory room. It doesn't include the Colca Canyon fees or food. Insight on the trips please. :)

Edited: 05 May 2018, 05:56
Captain Cook, Hawaii
Level Contributor
163 posts
98 reviews
9. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

was just in arequipa 3 weeks ago

you can get treks to the canyon for 80 soles per person at the travel agents on the plaza 2 days 1 night.

thats way way less than you will pay via internet same same

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,663 posts
15 reviews
10. Re: Why the cost difference in treks from different operators?

#7 XpanteraX - not sure what exactly your asking or who you are addressing it to. If you were asking about mine I used Giardino tours. I booked in Arequipa but they have a website.

#8. Not all stay in Chivay. My tour didnt, we were out in a rural location in a lovely lodge. Chivay is the transport/market hub. We made a stop there and had a few spare hours. I went to the markets and wandered around. Imo it wasn't a place I would have liked to have stayed not for any reason other then it was just a hub with minimal views. I stayed at Corpereque that had amazing views of valley abd the active volcanoes and some beautiful hot thermals you could do a walk to or they would drive you if you had altitude problems. I walked there as downhill and got a lift back. It meant I could also walk past and see the farmers (many wonen) etc wearing their beautiful local regional wear. I didn't see a staged show, we were taken to Yanque in the morning and saw the local school girls dancing in the main plaza. It was beautiful and they were raising money. This region one month before I got there got devastated by an earthquake.

So I guess in the long run you have a number of choices of what you can do depending on how much you want to pay, whether you want to spend time shopping about vs booking ahead. Whether you want to carry a sleeping bag or have a furnished room etc or whether you want to do a big overnight hike.

For everyone though do consider altitude and if doing the "treks" make sure you have acclimatized first either by taking a few nights at Arequipa or by coming from Cusco/Puno and consider taking Diamox if medically able to.

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