Using Travel Agencies can be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on the situation and how you like to travel. Travel agencies will often save you valuable travel time and energy as they already have existing connections with guides, and local tour operators. They will have pre-arranged tours and will often handle all necessary logistics. However, they are usually more expensive than planning and doing a trip on your own.
If you are on a budget, you should definitely shop around at several different agencies – you will find the prices do vary quite a bit. Sometimes you might even find the different agencies combine their customers into one tour, even though each agency charges a different amount! This was particularly true of some of the agencies in Cuzco.
We found that Arequipa travel agencies in general were more affordable than the agencies in Cuzco. Arequipa is not as popular a destination for tourists compared to
Cuzco, however there are still many travel agencies to choose from, most offering climbing trips of the nearby mountains and volcanoes, rafting, and Colca canyon treks. A 3 day 2 night climb of the famous volcano, El Misti was offered as low as $52 covering the guides some equipment and food. Around $60 to $70/person was the typical price for this climb.
Some of the travel agencies are connected to each other by Instant Messaging programs – so we found that if one agency had a particular trip already booked, they could immediately instant message another agency to find out if they still had space.
There are many travel agencies in Arequipa. Several of the agencies we visited and or used their services are listed below in alphabetical order.
Cusipata Tours specializes in River Rafting trips on the nearby rivers. The closest trip they offer is the Chile River about 35 minutes from the center of Arequipa. You can run this river in the morning and be back in town by the afternoon. We’ve used their services before – they are professional and really know what they are doing. Visit: www.cusipata.com
GSA Tours is located at Portal de San Agustin 111. They offer many guided trips, rafting, climbing and trekking. They also offer Arequipa city tours to some of the main highlights. You can rent a personal guide, or rent cars through this agency. For more information call them at PHONE 054-202427, email email@example.com or visit their website: www.gsaperutravel.com
Giardino Tours is located at next door to La Casa de mi Abuela Hostal. This is a good source of general tourist information – not only do they offer outdoor activities but they can handle your transportation including plane, train & bus tickets. For more information PHONE 51-54-221345 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at: www.giardinotours.com
Incaventura is located in Arequipa at Santa Catalina 118-D Cercado. This company offers reasonable priced treks, climbs and rafting trips. They offer several options to hike the Colca Canyon. Be sure to ask for Edison as your guide on the Colca Canyon trip (if he is available). Edison is studying to be a lawyer and guides during his spare time. He’s a great guy. Be sure to talk to either Tessy Mogrovejo Vera or Lizbet Junco Cabrera. They handle the front desk and they both speak English and are fluent in Spanish of course.
Land Adventures is physically located across the street (upstairs) from Zarate Adventures (see below) – about a block north of the main Plaza De Armas park. Their address is Santa Catalina 118-B. They offer a variety of very inexpensive climbing options – if you need more time to acclimatize during a climb, ask them and they can arrange longer more custom trips for you. Visit: www.landadventures.net
Yunisa Travel Tour is run by Yunisa Lopez and offers trips to Colca Canyon of course but they also offer cheap climbing trips as well. They are located at Portal San Agustin 105. Their trips tend to be very low cost and slightly lower priced than many of the main agencies. For a few dollars cheaper make sure you know what you are getting. The owner of this agency used to work for Incaventura (see listing above). For more information you can email them at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 054-223317-9639822
Zarate Adventures offers a variety of trips including treks, climbing both easy and technical, mountain biking, eco tourism and more. The founder of this company Carlos Zarate is in his late 70’s and he is still putting younger climbers to shame. We met one of his sons, also named Carlos – see photo – and he told us that his father was currently out climbing volcanoes!
This company is well-known because its chief guide, Miquel Zarate helped find the famous frozen Inca mummy girl Juanita on Ampato Mountain – a very tall mountain north of Arequipa. They were featured in an article in the National Geographic. Be sure to visit the information about Juanita who is housed in the Museum – Santuarios Andinos.
They are very centrally located, just a block north of the main Plaza de Armas at Sta. Catalina 115-A/Vitrina B. For excellent service, professional guides and a trip you won’t forget, this is the company for you. They can also arrange other national and International climbs. www.zarateadventures.com