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Mountain Biking from Patapampa to Chivay

Written by:
Claire Dean

Published: 07-12-2022

Colca is one of the deepest canyons on the planet and certainly one of the most jaw-dropping. Not only is it twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, but it is also arguably twice as spectacular, not least because it’s the best destination in all of Peru to spot the majestic Andean Condor, the largest flying bird on the planet. If mountain biking is your passion and you want to witness one of the most spectacular canyons in the world, check out our one-day adventure bike trip from Arequipa into the depths of The Colca Canyon.


The road from Arequipa to Colca Canyon passes directly through the Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve.  It is one of the most spectacular destinations in the Arequipa region, with a horizon of volcanoes, lagoons, wetlands, and flora and fauna that are able to grow in the extremely high elevation of the national park. Visit on Arequipa Tours.

Active Volcano Sabancaya


Departing from Arequipa city bright and early, we will head out in our private transport fully equipped with mountain bikes and all the gear. We will pass by the National Reserve of Aguada Blanca and Salinas, where you can see vicuñas, a South American camelid, and the national symbol of Peru and we will continue in our transport to the trailhead of  Patapampa. Patapampa is the highest point on the journey to the Colca Canyon and consists of a barren panorama with prayer towers. The Patapampa Trail descends from 4900m to 3500m once it reaches the Colca Canyon village of Chivay and is possibly the best way to enter the Colca Canyon. From Patapampa you will have spectacular views of the spectacular western mountain range, and volcanos, such as Walka Walka, Sabancaya, and Ampato, some of which are dormant and some still active. Mount Ampato is where the Lady of Ampato was found. Also known as the Mummy Juanita and the Ice Maiden, she is the mummy of a young teenage Inca girl who was sacrificed to the gods and can be seen displayed on ice at the museum in Arequipa city. 


The mountain pass at Patapampa is one of the best experiences inside of the national reserve. Located at 16,110 ft (4,910 m) above sea level, from here, the road begins its 1,200-meter descent into the Colca Valley. Mountain bike tours often start here and continue to Chivay, on  Colca Canyon tour from Arequipa.



Most of the tour buses heading to the Colca Canyon will make a brief stop here to appreciate the views. On this mountain bike tour, however, we have other plans. We will take our cycling equipment off the roof of the van, we will have a safety briefing and once we are kitted out and familiar with our bikes, we will begin the exciting descent of approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes to the town of Chivay in the heart of The Colca Canyon. All along the serpentine paved trail, we can appreciate a great variety of flora and fauna, typical of the region and we will have a wide panoramic view of the uneven terrain and the geological terraces formed during the erosion of the Colca Canyon. This downhill bike ride also offers many single tracks for the more experienced mountain biker, along this 1300M long biking trail. The mountain biking trip takes 2 hours through impressive countryside and rugged high-altitude terrains.


Many travelers on a Colca Canyon tour pass through the reserve quickly while traveling between Arequipa and Colca Canyon. Departing from Arequipa, it takes three hours to reach the town of Chivay in Colca Valley and around four hours to get to other places further in the canyon. On the mountain bike tour, you can appreciate the National Park in all its glory.

Downhill Guide


At around 1 PM, we will arrive at the capital of the Caylloma province, Chivay (3600M) and considered the most important town in all of the Colca canyon. We will enjoy a traditional lunch in Chivay and then continue biking along the right bank of the Colca River through pre-Inca terracing and where we can see local people working on their daily activities. After 2 more hours, we will reach Yanque village (3400m) and visit the main church and a local museum, where is possible to witness the remains of the Collahua culture.


Chivay is the official gateway to the Colca Canyon. It is 163 kilometers by road from Arequipa. The own´s streets, squares, and churches have the traditional characteristics of a Peruvian mountain town with a peaceful life and many ancient customs. Among the main tourist attractions are the thermal baths of La Calera, the Colca planetarium, the colonial church as well as the routes that lead to the Colca Canyon.  Visit Chivay on Arequipa to Colca Canyon excursions.

Chivay Entrance


At around 5 PM, we will end up with a short downhill section along the Colca River where we can visit the Hot Springs of La Calera, located next to the river. After a well-deserved so in these thermal waters, we will then load up the van and head back to the City of Arequipa.


Visiting the magnificent Colca Canyon of Peru, you will be able to visit local communities that live in tiny hamlets and still live in the traditional Andean lifestyle. You will be able to gaze at the giant Andean condors in their natural habitat, and you can hike the spectacular terrains of the awe-inspiring canyon itself.  All on Colca Canyon tours from Arequipa.

Colca Canyon

If you are interested in this exciting adventure bike trip to The Colca Canyon, contact us here for the downhill, biking experience of a lifetime in one of the deepest canyons in the world!