Peru

Colca Canyon

This canyon is reportedly one of the deepest in the world, reaching a depth of 4,160 meters. It is located about 160 kilometres (100 miles) northwest of Arequipa, near the small town of Chivay. Colca River canyon was formed as a result of seismic activity of two nearby volcanoes: Sabancaya and Hualca Hualca. Sbanacaya has been active since 1993 and you can see it during your trip to the canyon.

The Canyon is ideal for adventure sports such as hiking, climbing, rafting, among others. December to March is the best season to visit Colca canyon.

Colca Canyon

Andean Condors

The Colca Valley is a wonderful and colourful Andean valley with many small and remote towns with cultivated terraces on the both side of the Canyon. The Canyon is home of a great variety of flora and fauna, but the most popular attraction is to see the condors soaring above the abyss. The Andean Condor is the largest flying bird in the world. Its wingspan can reach 3.3 meters (around 11 feet)! The Condor can be seen at "Cruz Del Condor" viewing point, which is 1.5 hours travel from Chivay.

Colca Canyon

Oasis Sangalle

At the bottom of the Colca Canyon in the Sangalle region there is a plateau with almost a tropical climate. You can see palms here and the water in the river is crystal clear. This place is called Oasis. The Oasis is surrounded by ice glaciers and 4500m high mountains. The Oasis is only accessible by foot and you will need to walk from Cabanaconde for at least 3 hours.  Cabanaconde is a little farming village on the northern lip of the Colca Canyon. The descending road to Oasis is a narrow path in the shape of a horseshoe, where the tourists often run into each other due to thick fog covering everything around. To explain how difficult this descent is, think of this: the Oasis is located at 1900 meters (6234 feet) above sea level, while the starting point in Cabanaconde has an elevation of 3500 meters (11483 feet)! The path to the Oasis goes through several temperature zones – from chilly winter the tourists descend to hot summer. No matter how hard this descent is, this piece of paradise is well worth it.

How to get to Colca Canyon 

In order to visit Colca Canyon you need to get to Arequipa. You can take a bus from Cuzco (520km (323 miles), 10-12 hrs) or from Lima (1010 km (628 miles), 16 hrs) or you can fly form Cuzco or Lima.

You can stop in a hotel in Arequipa or in Chivay, which is nearer to the Canyon.

Recommendations

Canyon Colca is located high in the mountains, therefore before starting the hike you need to acclimatize your body.

It is very cold in the mountains. You should dress in layers, so as the temperature goes up, you can remove layers as needed.

Nearest tours Peru

Organized tours with professional guides. Group or private services. All categories of hotels. 

Short tours in Peru

Short group excurstions with English-speaking guides for independant travelers.

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Natalia Volchkova
Peru maven, founder of ExploreByYourself