Travelling to Cabanaconde by public bus
In Arequipa there are two bus terminals, the Terminal Terrestre and the Terrapuerto, which are located side by side. They are about 15 to 20 minutes by taxi from the centre of Arequipa. Most buses for Chivay and Cabanaconde leave from the Terminal Terrestre but two departures now leave from the Terrapuerto (confirm when you buy your ticket which terminal the bus will be leaving from).
There are three bus companies which travel between Arequipa and Cabanaconde via Chivay. The names and phone numbers of these companies are:
- Reyna : 430612
- Señor de los Milagros (Milagros) : 298090
- Andalucía: 424932
All three have offices in the Terminal Terrestre in Arequipa, where you can buy tickets. The departure schedule as of February 2014 is as follows:
01:00 am with Reyna
08:30 with Reyna
13:00 with Andalucía
03:30 with Milagros
08:00 with Andalucía
14:00 with Milagros
The cost of a ticket to Cabanaconde is 17 soles. You can’t reserve seats by telephone and the only way to be sure of reserving a seat is to buy a ticket the day before you travel. If you pass by our office in Arequipa the day before travelling, we can buy your ticket for you if you pay one night in La Casa de Santiago in advance, as well as the cost of a return trip to the terminal in taxi.
Important: when you buy your ticket, be sure to choose a seat on the right side of the bus, since the Colca Canyon is on the right side of the road when travelling from Arequipa to Cabanaconde, and you will have better views.
When you arrive to the terminal, you can store your large backpack in the hold of the bus. There are four distinct compartments, one of which is dedicated for luggage going to Cabanaconde and is not opened until the bus reaches Cabanaconde. Make sure that your luggage goes into this compartment.
All buses going to Cabanaconde pass through the town of Chivay. The bus will reach Chivay approximately 3 hours after leaving Arequipa, and will usually stay there for 15 to 20 minutes before continuing. This is an opportunity to go to the bathroom and buy something to eat, but there is a risk that people waiting to travel to the villages between Chivay and Cabanaconde will take your seat. If you get off, it is recommended to leave something on your seat (such as an item of clothing) or if you are travelling with a companion, take turns to get off. If someone does take your seat, you can reclaim it by showing your ticket (people travelling from Arequipa with an assigned seat have priority).
Tourist minibus (shared service)
There is another option to travel to Cabanaconde.
This service offers a pickup from your hotel between 3:00 and 4:00 am. You have to wait in your hotel at an approximate time without knowing exactly when you will be picked up. This bus doesn’t belong to any travel agency but is a service contracted to a third party. No one will accept responsibility for loss of belongings, delays or problems with the departure.
The minibus service makes two stops on the first day:
- In Chivay for breakfast
- At the Cruz del Condor. However, it doesn’t arrive there until around 9:00 am (8:00-9:00 am is the best time for seeing condors) and it only stays there for 30 minutes.
For the return trip to Arequipa, the minibuses leave from the main plaza of Cabanaconde between 9:30 and 10:00 am and arrive in Chivay around 1:00 pm. Since it is a bus for those who offer guided trekking tours, you have to stay with the group. When it arrives to Chivay, the bus heads directly to the hot springs of La Calera, before returning to Chivay for lunch. After lunch, it heads back to Arequipa, arriving at around 6:00 pm.
A negative feature of this service is that the minibuses often don’t have enough space for large backpacks.