Chivay

The largest town in the Colca Canyon region is Chivay, a small, battered-looking village with a population of 3,000. Most tourist facilities are here, which are not many, but include restaurants, hotels, a medical clinic, and a tourist information center. As you approach Chivay, you'll pass through a stone archway signifying the town entrance, where AUTOCOLCA, the government authority over Colca Canyon, stops cars to ask if they are headed to see the condors. If you're headed to Cruz del Condor or any of the churches in the 14 villages, you must purchase the S/70 (S/20 for Peruvians) Boleto Turistico, which will be asked for again at the entrance of the Mirador and will also get you into specific attractions like the Calera hot springs and church at Cabanaconde. Most agency tours do not include this entry fee in their prices.

Chivay marks the eastern end of the canyon's rim; the other end is Cabanaconde, a developing village where most multiday hikes into the canyon begin and end. As you come into Chivay, the road splits off into two: one, less traveled because of its rocky rutted surface, goes along the canyon's northern edge to the villages of Coporaque, Ichupampa, and Lari; the other follows the southern rim, and although it's a bumpy dirt road, it's better for travel and leads to Cruz del Condor and the small towns of Yanque, Maca, and Cabanaconde.

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