Colca Canyon is literally the main attraction in Arequipa. Many visitors from all around the world come to visit the condors realm,but not everything is perfect.
Yesterday the travel agency Peru Andes, a trekking operator travel agency from Arequipa who operates Colca Canyon circuit had a terrible accident, when one of his buses was coming back to Arequipa from a tour in Colca Canyon. The result was a tour guide severely injured and three tourists whose holidays will be inside the hospital.
The fog and the heavy rains in this season make this circuit dangerous in this season. There are many landslides in places like Cabanaconde for example because of the heavy rains.
Long time ago, because of several accidents on the road, the local authorities recommended the visitors not to take the one day tour to Colca Canyon because it is not safe for the visitors. But as it seems travel agencies don´t care a bit about safety and now we see the results.
The tours depart everyday at 03:30 am from Arequipa and then they go straight to the condor cross to see the condors and then back to Chivay at Midday for lunch and hotsprings.After this they go back to Arequipa to arrive to the white city at 05:30 pm aproximatedly.
If we calculate the driver has to drive 13 to 14 hours aproximatedly.That is too much. And it is against the laws ,but don´t forget that in Southamerica the law is just a word that is not put into practice. There is just one driver during all the tour and that is dangerous. There is no a substitute driver.
After the hot springs and lunch the poor driver is sleeping on the steering wheel and that provokes accidents.
On the way back to Arequipa, 90 percent of the drivers chew Coca leaves to avoid falling asleep. But, let me tell you something, Coca leaves don´t do miracles. If that driver is falling asleep, it is because he was doing several tours the same week ,and be sure that that tour van is a candidate to win the last ride prize. If you see your driver chewing Coca leaves on the way back to Arequipa, it means that that driver is about to fall asleep.
On the way back to Arequipa everybody goes sleeping and as everybody knows sleeping is contagious.
One day tours are not recommended in Colca Canyon because of these situations. The other problem is that there are very cheap tours in Arequipa and those are the ones who are provoking the accidents. We have free market. The laws don´t regulate prices and there are tours that are expensive and others that are very cheap. Travel agencies don´t have a quality certification eventhough some owners of travel agencies say they do.
The driver comes back to Arequipa after a tour and the next day the same driver is travelling again and that is dangerous for the tourists.
One day tours are not recommended. Many accidents happen in Arequipa specifically in Colca Canyon circuit, accidents that are hidden from the eyesight of the press. Scandals are not good in tourism, because it means no sales, so that is why we have to be very careful before buying a tour. Visitors should check the weather news and it is irresponsible not to be well informed about the areas where we are planning to spend our holidays.
Speed excess is another problem, tour vans have a reputation of being the fastest, but come on guys we don’t need speed but safety.
The roads in this season are very foggy and rainy so it is better to be very careful and to avoid travelling to places in the highlands that in this season cannot be really appreciated because of the heavy rains and the fog.
There are many trails in Peru that get closed during the rainy season because of safety reasons.
The Colca specialist will keep you informed about all the aspects that deal with the condors realm Colca Canyon. Thank you for your attention and good luck.
The Colca Specialist.