We originally were looking to do some mountain biking in the Canyon. There are so many tour operators in Arequipa that there are many options to choose from, however these all exceeded our budget! We ended up using a 3 day 2 night expedition offered by our hostel at a price far below that of any of the others we had seen. It was explained to us that this was because the group size may be larger and the guides english may not be perfect. This we accepted and we were collected from our hostel bright and early at 3am the following morning.
The tour far exceeded our expecations and in all honestly what we paid! Our guides english was perfectly understandable and the accomodations were way beyond what we had hoped for! The trek is tough! Dropping in to the canyon on the first day in what must have been mid 30 to 40 degrees. Trekking along the canyon on day two to the oasis which can only be described as a little bit of paradise, and an early start on day three at 5am to hike out of the canyon before the sun catches you. The last hike was really quite tough, but you get a massive sense of achievment on completion. This said, I suppose it depends on your fitness level etc?! But it hurt me! Our guide did all the cooking for our group, which was rather a diverse group, but we were provided with 2 breakfat, 2 lunch and 2 dinner over the 3 days.
Ultimately this is the same as anything, you get what you pay for .We paid for one of the cheapest tours available and expected very little, what we got was Omar: a man local to the area who was passionate about it conservation and educating those around him. He could cook, sing, put up with a group of various levels and run up BIG hills! He was wonderful, and we would not hesitate to recommend this tour to any one.