Cañon de Autisha is a stunning place to visit near Lima in Peru. It’s fairly well-known by locals, who tend to visit on the weekends. But, this beautiful area is barely known to foreign visitors. Certainly, visiting this place isn’t a mainstream tourism activity for tourists. Commonly, locals do a full-day Cañon de Autisha tour, from Lima, which involves trekking, rappelling and puenting (bungee jumping). During our time in Peru, Beck and I decided to join the locals and do a Cañon de Autisha tour from Lima.
In this guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting Cañon de Autisha. Given the fun activities and beauty of the area, the canyon certainly deserves a higher profile with tourists. By reading this Peru travel guide, we hope to inspire you to do a Cañon de Autisha tour.
We hope you find this guide helpful. For information about another adventurous day trip from Lima, read our guide on Cordillera de la Viuda.
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Visiting Cañon de Autisha in Peru
Cañon de Autisha, also known as Autisha Canyon, is one of the most popular natural attractions for locals to visit from Lima. The canyon is 170 metres deep and is a well-known place for adventure sports and activities. But, as far as we’re aware, it’s not a location familiar to tourists. Indeed, during our Cañon de Autisha tour, there were no tourists in our group, nor, in any other groups. Similarly, at the time of visiting, we couldn’t find any blogs written about visiting the canyon. So, how did Beck and I find out about this place?
Basically, in between our hiking trips in Cusco and Huaraz, and, before and after our Amazon trip (read our Tahuayo Lodge and Amazon Research Center Lodge reviews), we found ourselves in Lima. With some time to kill, we looked at some day tour options from Lima. One of the most popular trips we read about, from Lima, was to Marcahuasi. But, we’d heard mixed reviews and it was only really possible to visit as an overnight trip. So, Beck and I kept looking for another day trip option, preferably to a natural attraction.
We then stumbled upon multiple online tour agencies, prominent on social media, promoting cheap weekend group tours. Luckily, our time in Lima coincided with the weekend. So, these cheap group tours were a viable option. There were many to choose from. But, many trips involved too much travel time on a bus (Cordillera Raura, Cañón de los Perdidos, etc.) Essentially, the best options were day tours to Cordillera de la Viuda, Marcapomacocha and Cañon de Autisha. After some further reading, and with tour availability, we chose to visit Cañon de Autisha. So, where is it?
Cañon de Autisha Location Description and Map
Cañon de Autisha is located in the Huarochiri Province, which falls in the Lima region. The canyon is located around 66km northeast of the capital city. Given some of the winding and bumpy mountain roads in between Lima and Autisha, the drive takes around 4–5 hours.
How To Get To Cañon de Autisha
The most popular and easiest way to visit Cañon de Autisha is by doing a tour from Lima. A full day tour includes roundtrip transportation in a minivan. Transportation in between the sites for trekking/rappelling and puenting, at Cañon de Autisha, is also conveniently sorted. So, getting to and around the canyon is all taken care of. Certainly, it’s easy to get to Cañon de Autisha by taking advantage of the transport offered on a day tour.
Although, it’s possible to visit independently if you’re the intrepid type. But, given logistics, doing a day trip independently is just about impossible. To get there and visit independently, it would have to be over two days. Even then, trying to fit in trekking, rappelling and puenting at Cañon de Autisha over two days, doing an independent trip, would be difficult.
Basically, we don’t recommend visiting independently. In fact, given that Cañon de Autisha is basically unknown to tourists, it’s possible that no tourist has ever visited independently before! So, if you’re brave enough to try, be our guest!
Getting There Independently
In terms of visiting without an organised tour, it’s essentially the same as how to get to Marcahuasi independently. You’ll need to firstly catch a two hour public bus or colectivo from Lima to Chosica. Then, a three hour public bus from Chosica to San Pedro de Casta; but, alight earlier at Autisha.
- Lima to Chosica Bus: depart from Paseo Colón or Vitarte in downtown Lima. Costs are between S/5–10 ($1–2.50USD). There’s not much information online about this service. A colectivo from Lima to Chosica seems to be the more popular option.
- Lima to Chosica Colectivo: departs from three locations in downtown Lima (see interactive map below). We’ve read that people doing this journey have arrived in Chosica by 9am. So, we assume the Lima to Choscia bus departs around 6–7am. Costs are similar to the bus, around S/5–10 ($1–2.50USD).
- Chosica to San Pedro de Casta: you’ll likely get dropped at Parque Echenique de Chosica in the centre of town. From there, make your way north, around 120 metres along Jr. Libertad. There, you should find the bus service. If you’re unsure or get lost, ask a local. We’ve heard there are only two or three departures per day at 7am, 9am and 12pm. But, ask ahead to confirm departure times. Of course, you’ll need to alight at Autisha, before the bus continues all the way to San Pedro de Casta. Costs around S/10–15 ($2.50–4USD).
Getting Back Independently: we’ve heard there’s a 2pm service from San Pedro de Casta to Chosica. This service passes through Autisha (on the road where the puenting occurs) between 2:30–3:15pm. So, you’ll arrive in Chosica at around 5pm. From there, finding a colectivo back to Lima should be fairly straightforward.
Cañon de Autisha Tours
Conveniently wrapped into a full day trip from Lima, Cañon de Autisha tours include trekking, rappelling and puenting. Because of the exciting activities, Beck and I wanted to do this tour. In addition, with some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Lima region, and even Peru, we believed a visit to Cañon de Autisha was justified.
You’ll find most tour companies offering Cañon de Autisha tours are tailored to locals. This means, that guides usually only speak Spanish. In addition, cheap tours only tend to run on the weekend. Of course, you can visit privately with these companies during the week. But, it’ll cost around $100–150USD per person!
To join a group tour on the weekend, costs are usually around S/100–240 ($25–62USD) per person. The costs depend on how many activities you choose. We paid S/129 ($33USD) per person for our Cañon de Autisha tour, which included trekking and rappelling, but not puenting. With IncaTrek Peru, to also include puenting to a Cañon de Autisha tour, the price is S/239 ($62USD) per person.
Let’s look at a typical tour of Cañon de Autisha, so you know what to expect.
Typical Cañon de Autisha Tour Itinerary
Here’s the typical itinerary for a Cañon de Autisha tour.
- 4:30am: pickup from Plaza Norte
- 5:15am: pickup from San Borja
- 8:00am: after driving through the Santa Eulalia Valley, stop at the town of Huinco for breakfast
- 10:00am: arrive at Autisha; trekking and rapelling
- 1pm: lunch
- 2pm: rappelling
- 3:30pm: depart Autisha
- 8–9pm: arrive back in Lima; drop-off at San Borja, then Plaza Norte
As you can see from the itinerary, you’ll spend a lot of time in the mini van. Sure, this isn’t ideal. If anything, it’s very tedious. But, this is to be expected with most day trips from downtown Lima to areas of natural beauty in the region. Besides, it’s absolutely worth it for the fun and exhilarating activities on offer. So, which Cañon de Autisha tour experiences should you do?
Cañon de Autisha Experiences
Most people doing a Cañon de Autisha tour in Peru will partake in all of the main activities – trekking, rappelling and puenting. Honestly speaking, you’d be unwise to not choose either rappelling or puenting if you’re doing a Cañon de Autisha tour. That’s because there really aren’t tonnes of trekking or trails on offer. Basically, if you only chose to do trekking, we imagine you’d be spending a long time twiddling your thumbs.
At the very least, combine trekking and rappelling during your visit to Cañon de Autisha. That’s what Beck and I did and we really enjoyed it. By skipping the puenting at Cañon de Autisha, the tour was much cheaper, which we were pleased about. But, to be honest, you’ll be watching and waiting for people to finish puenting before the tour finishes anyway. So, if you’re not as price sensitive, you may as well give puenting at Autisha ago whilst you’re there. Albeit, we wouldn’t recommend it if you have ongoing neck or back pain. Sorry, that’s just the physiotherapist in me talking.
Cañon de Autisha Trekking
Cañon de Autisha is certainly a scenic destination for trekking in Peru. Admittedly though, as part of a Cañon de Autisha tour, there isn’t very much trekking involved. In reality, the trekking that you’ll do is the walking involved to get to and from the site for rappelling. Don’t get me wrong, the little amount of trekking was enjoyable and in a gorgeous place. But, trekking definitely isn’t the main attraction.
Cañon de Autisha Rappel
After a short hike, in hot conditions, you’ll arrive at the rappelling site at Cañon de Autisha. Your guide will then run through a brief safety demonstration. Here’s hoping your Spanish isn’t too bad! Next, it’s time to rappel approx. 30 metres below to the canyon floor. Despite a lack of experience, having rappelled recently at the 7 Qorihuillca Canyons in Ayacucho, we weren’t feeling too nervous.
Before you know it, you’ll be touching down on the valley floor, wondering where the time went. Personally, rappelling is always a gratifying experience. Not too dangerous that I need replacement underwear; but, thrilling enough to get the excitement juices flowing.
Once you land on the canyon floor, you’re within touching distance of a glorious waterfall and lagoon.
Sheke Waterfall is truly an incredible waterfall. Indeed, it’s one of the most unique waterfalls in South America. Hidden at the bottom of the canyon, water forcefully gushes through a gap in the wall, flowing serenely into a lagoon. Beck and I thought the whole trip was worth it to see this amazing waterfall.
After admiring the waterfall, you’ll explore more of the canyon floor with your guide. Then, you’ll climb back out of the canyon using a spiral metal staircase. Next, you’ll head back to the parking area, where it’s time for lunch. You’ll then drive over to the Autisha puenting site.
Cañon de Autisha Puenting
Puenting at Cañon de Autisha seems an exhilarating experience. Basically, you’ll have the option to jump or be thrown off by a group of four or five men. Given the jerky whiplash-type movements generated during the activity, Beck and I were happy to sit this one out. Indeed, it was very entertaining to watch!
In between watching people leap and screech, Beck and I relaxed and enjoyed the sunset over the canyon. It was a fitting end to an enjoyable day trip.
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What to Wear and Pack
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
You should also pack water, snacks, lunch, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.
- Take motion sickness tablets if you need them: if you get travel sickness, be prepared! The roads leading to the canyon are horrendous.
- Take something to keep you entertained on the long bus journeys: reading a book might not work on the winding roads. Better take those headphones and have some music or podcasts ready to go.
- Visit other Huarochiri tourist places: why not make a bigger trip out of your visit to the canyon? Particularly for those visiting independently, you should also check out the nearby Marcahuasi. We’ve also heard there’s a bit of a San Mateo Peru tourism scene. There, you can visit the Ichoca Waterfall, Laguna Neveria and Puente del Infiernillo. Yes, very off the beaten track. But, there could be a hidden gem waiting to be explored.
- Don’t forget the tourist places in Lima Peru: Beck and I are always jet-setting away from cities to areas of natural beauty. But, don’t forget to explore Lima before heading to other parts of Peru.
Are you heading to Lima soon? This could be an awesome day trip option. Share with your travel buddies on Facebook.