South America Living

Chivay, Peru Travel Guide

Llama or Alpaca Hide Being Taken to the Market to Sell

When readying for their trip to the Colca Canyon most tourists become familiarized with the names of two towns – Chivay and Cabanaconde – and for good reason. Chivay is the first main tourist town in the valley when bussing from Arequipa and Cabanaconde the last, where treks down into the canyon begin.

Note: Chivay is approximately 3,700 meters (12,000 feet) above sea level. You may experience symptoms of Altitude Sickness.

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The main area in Chivay – and where all the chauffeured tourist vans stop for a few hours visit – is Plaza de Armas. There are restaurants, a church – Our Lady of the Assumption – and entrance to the market which is located just kitty corner at Avenida Salaverry and Miguel Grau street.

The market spans a block and has indoor and outdoor food stalls plus shops of all kinds – open from 7 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Cheap eats are sold all day long such as chuncks of alpaca meat in sauce with potatos fried-up while you watch then served on a small plastic-lined plate with or without a plastic fork (the locals eat it with their hands) for 2 soles (75 cents) or breaded and fried pieces of chicken served with potatoes and salad (pile of chopped lettuce with tomato added on top) for 4 soles ($1.50 USD).

The main tourist attraction outside of town is Termas La Calera (La Calera Hot Springs in English) just 10 minutes away (3.5 km). From Plaza de Armas you can take a tuk tuk (5 soles for two people) or a shared taxi (1 sole per person). It is a pleasant walk from town along the river as well, with mainly flat terrain.

There are indoor and outdoor heated pools (85 degrees C), showers, lockers and a snack bar plus small, one-room museum – Ethnological Museum (Museo Etnological in Spanish). To walk through the museum, watch the following video. There is a massage room also but you may have to make reservations in advance.


Another local attraction is the observatory at Casa Andina Hotel (see below in where to stay section). If it’s a clear day, have a drink or dinner at the restaurant then enjoy a guided tour to the stars, afterwards getting a closer look through the telescope. The 45 minute guided show begins at 8 p.m. daily, and the cost is 17 soles ($6.50 USD) – for hotel guests and non-guests alike.

Nightlife in Chivay: Karaoke & Pool

Chivay is a small town (population 4500) but can still kick it up a bit. The wildest event on offer (and pretty mellow most nights at that) is karaoke at three different spots, all located a few doors next to each on Sucre street about 4 blocks up from the plaza. If you like to ‘club hop’, it couldn’t get any easier.

All three are ‘Video Pubs/Karaoke’ with large screen T.V.s and full bars: Big Bang Karaoke, Sumac Tuta and Muya. For those who just want to relax and chat there is the hip, mellow Lounge Bar Killari across the street. All are late-night venues that open around 10:00 p.m. and close anywhere from 2-4 a.m.

Note: There are also two “Polloerias” (fried chicken) shops located here opening around 5 p.m. with chicken frying on grills on the sidewalk (inside seating area) to be served with rice and asian-style noodles plus other cheap eats such as hotdogs.

At Plaza de Armas there are two good options to play some pool and down a pint (or 3/4 litres of Arequipeña) – Irish Pub Mc Elroys open from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. with pool table, pastas and hamburgers and Irish Pub Innkas Restaurant & Pub (see below in where to eat section).

Banks & ATMs

There are two International LINK ATMs in Chivay, both located near the market with one right across the street from Plaza de Armas at the corner of Avenida Salaverry and Miguel Grau street.

Internet Cafés in Chivay

There are two Internet cafés (or “cybers”) on Calle Sucre up from Plaza de Armas but you want to head to “Internet Colca“. The other does not actually have Internet, just video games for local kids. Internet Colca is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and located at Calle Sucre #101.

Transportation from Chivay to Arequipa, Yanque and Cabanaconde

It takes between 3-4 hours by bus from Arequipa to Chivay, depending on how many stops are made along the way. Travel Guide to Arequipa

From Chivay to Cabanaconde is approximately 2 hours. You can take a local bus from the bus station or a private minivan.   Travel Guide to Cabanaconde

From Chivay to Yanque is just 40 minutes by bus, with local minivans leaving from near the main market (ask anyone to point you where to go). Travel Guide to Yanque, Peru

Where to Stay in Chivay

Name: Casa Andina Classic
Address: Huayna Capac (no number)
Website: Rustic, individual stone casitas with onsite planetarium with telescope plus restaurant with occasional live shows.

Name: Colca Llaqta Hotel
Address: Calle Jose Galvez (no number), five blocks from the plaza towards the hot springs La Calera.

Name: Rumi Wasi Hostal
Address: Calle Sucre # 714
Website: None. Five blocks from Plaza de Armas with rooms around a central courtyard & a resident Alpaca. Small, family-run hostel popular with backpackers.

Where to Eat in Chivay

Name: Yara Vi Gourmet Restaurant
Address: Plaza de Armas #604
Website: Trucha (trout), chicken, pasta, lomo fino, beef dishes, Alpaca dishes such as Parilla de Alpaca.

Name: Irish Pub Innkas Restaurant & Pub
Address: Across the street from Plaza de Armas
Website: Open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Pizza, sandwiches, pancakes, omlettes as well as menu del dia (15 soles or $5.60 USD) with soup and main course. Separate bar area and pool table.

Name: La Rustica
Address: Calle Miguel Grau across the street from the market.
Website: None. Breakfast (coffee, eggs, bread) lunch & dinner – serves menu del dia (soup, bread plus main course of rice, french fries, salad and meat or chicken) for 5 soles ($1.80 USD) all day long. Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Interactive Map of Chivay

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Photograph by Molly McHugh, all rights reserved.

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