In Cotahuasi, capital of La Uni├│n province, time goes by slowly, as though it were spellbound by the numerous natural attractions surrounding the town, located at 379 kilometers from the "White City" of Arequipa and at 2,683 m.a.s.l.
Its narrow streets tempt to walk by the old buildings of the quiet town, a preamble of the stunning lakes, thermal baths, waterfalls and mysterious stone, puya and cactus forests, which stand out in the surroundings. The following places may be visited:
Iglesia Nuestra Se├▒ora de la Concepci├│n: It has a colonial style and shows typical characteristics of the province churches: simple design, arches of half point with attached pilasters, a high altar made of golden bread ("pan de oro") and thick walls of adobe. It is more than 170 years old and shelters valuable pictures of the Arequipa's school.
Campanario de Santa Ana: Located at the exit of Cotahuasi's town. It is the ideal place to fully admire this provincial capital as well as the nearby Chaquicocha lake.
Cerro Huy├▒ao: From its top you may enjoy a panoramic scene of the town and valley. It is located at one hour from Cotahuasi and during the adventure sports festivals; it is the departure point of seasoned "parapente" and "ala delta" trainees.
Santo Santo: It is a mysterious stone forest formed by the erosion of rains and winds. The strange figures spread in an area of 5 square kilometers. It is located at the Huaynacotas district, almost 17 kilometers from the Cotahuasi town, approximately 4,200 m.a.s.l.
Ba├▒os termales de Luicho: The temperatures of its waters - rising from the hill bearing the same name - range from 33┬║ to 38┬║ grades centigrade. Due to its healing qualities, they are recommended for patients suffering from rheumatism, arthritis and muscular atrophies, among others. A few kilometers away, you can find the Supaycanchis, Purahuasi y Huacchar ruins.
Bosque de Puyas: Near the Lauripampa town, in the Puyca district and more than four hours away from the provincial capital, there is an important number of "puyas" (Puya Raimondi), belonging to the bromeliacea family and considered the biggest inflorescence in the world. It may reach 10 meters and flower every 80 years.
Las puyas: In danger of extinction, only grow in the High Andean Areas; in case of Lauripampa they grow at approximately 4,000 m.a.s.l. Additionally, in the area, you can walk by graves, Aimaran mummies and an impressive cultivation terrace system of wari and inca origin. The Maukallacta ruins stand out.
Bosque de Cactus Gigantes de Jud├şo Pampa: These are some strange species of cactus that reach up to 13 meters high, which have established a mutual dependence with a kind of bats that belong to the ecosystem. The forest is located at the Quechualla district (1,980 m.a.s.l.) known for its vineyards and its fruit production. It can be reached after a five-hour walk from Cotahuasi. You should take the path to Sipia.
Charcana: It is one of the most traditional towns of La Uni├│n province. Most houses still maintain their straw roof. From here, you can enjoy an excellent sight of the Solimana and Firura snowcapped mountains. It is located at 3,417 m.a.s.l and it may take 8 hours to reach it riding a donkey from Cotahuasi.
Pampamarca: It is a district located two hours away from Cotahuasi if you travel by combi It has an impressive cultivation terraces system, pre-Inca ruins, Aimaran mummies and beautiful waterfalls.