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Towns in Colca Valley

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Chivay, the main town in the Colca Canyon,is the capital of the Caylloma district. The town is rather small, and the Plaza de Armas has a certain charm. Chivay is the main tourist centre in the Colca Canyon,and there are plenty of hotels and restaurants, as well as a few other tourist facilities. Most travellers to the canyon spend a night in Chivay.

The main attraction in Chivay itself is the Calera, the hot baths. Most visitors to the Colca Canyon visit these thermal springs, and attractive new pools were built in 2001. It is very pleasant to swim in the hot waters looking at the wonderful mountains around. The baths get very full after lunch when most of the groups arriving from Arequipa visit. The baths are 3km from Chivay, and it is a very pleasant walk alongside the river. Otherwise, there are regular combis and colectivos leaving from near the market, or a taxi can be hired for the trip. There is a small museum near the baths. On a hill overlooking Chivay is a Collagua chullpa, a funerary tower. This has been largely rebuilt, but the hill affords good views of the town and the surrounding area


There are several towns between Chivay and the Cruz del Condor. Yanque was the main Franciscan missionary centre in the region, and the church reflects this importance. This was built in 1691-98 by stonemasons from Arequipa. The main portal represents St Francis of Assisi surrounded by other saints. The town is probably the most faithful to the original layout by Toledo. There are some hot springs near the colonial bridge.
The church in Maca is of interest, especially in the interior. Here, the complete set of golden altarpieces from the 18 th century is preserved. Saints, mirrors and paintings of the Virgin can be seen in the woodcarvings.

There are several other towns in the Colca Canyon, mostly on the other side of the valley. A fine church can be found in Tisco, which combines the architectural styles of Arequipa and Cusco. The relief of the borders enclosing the portal are typical of Arequipa, and the oval window in the main facade, as well as the towers, are typical of Cusco. The church in Coporaque is one of the few surviving 16 th century buildings in the valley. Its bells were cast from the copper used to build the palace for the wife on an Inca general. The Chapel of San Sebastián is particularly impressive, having one of the finest late renaissance facades in Peru. The church at Lari is one of the most impressive structures in the Colca Canyon, and it has the only raised cupola in the valley.