THE COLCA CANYON AREQUIPA

THE COLCA CANYON AREQUIPA

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THE COLCA CANYON HABITAT OF THE ANDEAN CONDOR

The Colca Canyon is located in a river valley in southern Peru and is famous for being one of the deepest in the world. It is a famous destination for trekking. It is a habitat of the giant Andean condor, which can be seen from viewpoints such as the condor cross. The canyon landscape encompasses a green valley and remote traditional villages with terraced agriculture that predates the Incas. The Colca River is popular for rafting.

Through the Colca Valley we can find samples of ichu and yareta, characteristic vegetation of the area and some animals such as alpacas and vizcachas, a species of medium-sized rodents similar to chinchillas.

colca canyon

LOCATION OF THE COLCA CANYON

Located in the northeastern end of the Arequipa Region, Caylloma province, and 165 km from the city of Arequipa, the Colca Canyon is about 100 km long and runs between the inactive volcanoes of Coropuna (6,613 meters) and Ampato ( 6,288 meters), having its lowest point at the confluence of the Colca and Andamayo rivers, at 970 meters above sea level.

LOCATION OF THE COLCA CANYON

THE CONDOR CROSS VIEWPOINT

Undoubtedly, this viewpoint is one of the best known and admired by tourists who visit this route, because from here you can appreciate the depth of the Colca Canyon and the flight of the majestic Andean condor, considered the symbol of the Arequipa region and even From Peru.
From this viewpoint, traditionally known as Chaq’lla, you can take impressive photos of these birds that arrive gliding from the thermal currents that come from the canyon, and glimpse the 1,200-meter drop to the river or the top of Nevado Mismi.
It is recommended to spot the condors between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. in the morning or after 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon. In the rainy season these birds are not usually seen, so it is better to go in the dry season (from May to November).
THE CONDOR CROSS VIEWPOINT

THE VILLAGES OF THE COLCA CANYON

There are several towns to visit in the Colca Valley, here are the main ones:

  • Chivay: It is the main arrival point to the Colca Canyon and the most touristic with many restaurants, hotels, hostels, etc. In addition, its viewpoint offers a beautiful panorama of the region. 3km away (by bus) are the hot springs of La Calera, a good option to relax after long hours on the road.
  • Cabanaconde: A town of 3,000 inhabitants, it is a must-see for hikers since it is the start of the Colca Canyon trek. In addition, a 20-minute walk away are the Cejana or Achachihua viewpoints.
  • Yanque: 7 km from Chivay, it is the town that has the most beautiful main square in the region. Here, almost every day at 7 in the morning, children dressed in traditional costumes dance to the rhythm of typical music: It is a must see!
THE VILLAGES OF THE COLCA CANYON

CHIVAY, THE BASE TO VISIT THE COLCA CANYON

The town of Chivay is the most important to see in the Colca Canyon. It was not only the first founded by the Spanish, who used it as a base, but also because it is the largest and most equipped.

If you are going to visit the Colca Canyon, especially on your own, remember that this is the only place where you will find ATMs and other services such as the police, travel agencies or a bus station in good condition.

Chivay is about 3600 meters above sea level.

There are several things to see in Chivay, such as the main square and the parish of Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, the hot springs and even a planetarium! Nearby is the so-called lagoon of the three colors. In it, apparently, the color changes throughout the day, depending on the temperature, the light, the wind.

CHIVAY, THE BASE TO VISIT THE COLCA CANYON

THE OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF THE COLCA CANYON

In addition to the main places of interest in Colca, there are many other activities and attractions to do that are not usually talked about much. Here are some examples:

  • Laguna de la Mucurca (4350m): You have to go in a 4×4. It offers a magnificent panorama between the Hualca-Hualca, Sabankaya and Ampato volcanoes, as well as the possibility of seeing many birds, among them the pink flamingos.
  • The ruins of Kallimarca: It is a pre-Inca religious archaeological site located 1h 20m from Cabanaconde. They offer magnificent views over the agricultural terraces, the town of Cabanaconde and the Hualca-Hualca volcano.
  • The ruins of Uyo-Uyo: This abandoned town that dominates the valley was the capital of the Colca. You can then head to the abandoned village of Uyo Uyo, which was the capital of the Colca. There are ruins of the Collagua and Inca cultures, as well as remains of their irrigation system.
  • The Chimpa Fortress: It is a pre-Inca fortress built by the Collagua people, strategically located and hidden in the beautiful landscape. It can be reached by an ascent of 2h-3h.
  • The Hualca-Hualca volcano (6025 m): It is possible to climb it by trekking, only for experienced hikers!
  • Lari Church: Called the “cathedral” of Colca, it is a beautiful baroque building from the 18th century.

It is also possible to carry out different activities in the Colca: Cycling, horseback riding and rafting.

THE OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF THE COLCA CANYON

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