Colca Canyon is a fascinating and awe-inspiring geological wonder, an exceptionally deep canyon formed by a fault between the nearby Ampato and Coropuna volcanoes, with the Colca River flowing through it. It’s been measured as the world’s second deepest canyon, with a maximum depth of approximately 10,730 feet.
We tend to include include the Colca Canyon on a longer, more in depth Peru itinerary, flying into Arequipa, then travelling on by road to the Colca Canyon (3-4 hours) and then on by road again to Lake Titicaca (5 hours). There are a couple of high quality lodges in the area that are well worth a stay to break up the long journeys.
One of the valley’s top attractions is the Cruz del Condor, a viewing point for spotting the striking Andean condors; they’re the world’s largest bird when combining wingspan and weight and can often be seen in the air at fairly close proximity. The natural hot springs at Chivay are also a real draw, along with some of the many other hot springs scattered throughout the valley. Settlements in the valley are very well established and have, for the most part, resisted modernization. The sprawling agricultural terraces which date back to pre-Inca times are still farmed to this day and the local indigenous culture is especially lively and vibrant here, with traditional arts and crafts forever popular with passing visitors.