Four hours drive to the north of Arequipa and twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA, the Colca Canyon lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty with the Rio Colca snaking its way through the heart of the gorge some 3500m above sea level. The area offers some superb walking with trails running throughout the terraced countryside and it is sometimes possible to see alpacas, vicuna and a wide variety of plants and delightful views of the snow-capped peaks.
- Hang out in the delightfully relaxing hot springs at Colca Lodge
- Watch the majestic condors glide on the mountain thermals
- Get up close and personal with the enchanting alpacas & llamas
- Go hiking in one of the world’s most spectacular canyons
- Explore some of the pretty Andean villages by horseback
There are a number of little villages around the canyon, which sprung up around the 16th Century for the local Collagua people to inhabit and many of these are fascinating to see with their little churches, terraced agriculture and fabulous views across the canyon. There are also some hot springs at La Calera. Cruz del Condor is another point of interest, not only for the wonderful scenery at the deepest point of the gorge, but this is where the Andean vulture or Condor can regularly be seen rising on the warm thermals at quite close quarters.
The road to Chivay, which is the gateway to the canyon offers fabulous views of the surrounding volcanoes including Misti, Chachani, Ampato and the still active Sabancaya. It is also often possible to see the charming vicuna en route, which are a relation of the llama.
Another place of interest is Cabanaconde which is a typical village of indigenous Cabanas people and famous for the beautiful embroidered hats worn by the womenfolk and also for its central plaza which is bustling with life and colourful fruit markets, goats, sheep and llamas.