With nearly double the depth of the Grand Canyon, this Peruvian canyon is one of the deepest in the world, the Cotahuasi Canyon.
Measuring approximately 11,595 feet at its deepest point, Cotahuasi Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world—more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It’s an impressive thing to imagine and even more spectacular to behold.
Cut by the Cotahuasi River, the canyon forms a fantastic landscape of traditional Andean farms and terraced fields, steep canyon walls and plunging gullies, and occasional pre-Inca and Inca ruins.
The immense chasm is located in southern Peru, about 123 miles northwest of Arequipa. Its deepest point runs near the village of Quechualla, a six or seven-hour trek down the canyon from the town of Cotahuasi. Near the latter town, the canyon runs closest to its nearest high point: the extinct volcanic massif of Nevado Solimana, which has a peak that stretches 19,990 feet above sea level.
As well as protecting the local flora and fauna, including the magnificent Andean condors, the reserve helps maintain a traditional way of life. The often centuries-old agricultural practices of the local farmers include the cultivation of crops such as kiwicha, quinoa, tarwi, chulpe maize, muña, and a variety of other beans (the kind of things that stores in more developed countries package and sell as “superfoods”).
You’ll also see farmers leading packs of llamas and herds of sheep, and if you find yourself wondering why some of these farmers have one strangely bulging cheek, it’s because of the locally grown coca leaves they chew to give themselves more energy in the rugged environment.
Despite being a prime location for trekking, climbing, and kayaking (class IV and V), Cotahuasi Canyon receives far fewer visitors than its more famous neighbor, Colca Canyon, which is some 60 miles to the southeast. Colca, being closer to Arequipa and more accessible, is one of the region’s main tourist destinations. Cotahuasi, however, is the deeper of the two by a few hundred feet, providing bragging rights to anyone adventurous enough to walk its rim or plunge its depths.
Feel the magic and the energy of Cusco and Machu Picchu, then continue to where the legend began – Lake Titicaca, to get off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy the peace and tranquility on the shores of the Lake.
Visit Peru and discover its highlights from Lima to Cusco on an exciting journey that encompasses modern cities and ancient worlds. From the depths of the Colca canyon to the heights of the Andes and on to the unique islands of Lake Titicaca, be immersed in fascinating Peruvian culture while discovering its history buried deep within the walls of lost cities.
Colours of Peru calls to you with all the allure of the ancient and the mysterious. From the soaring peaks of the Andes to the lush Amazon Rainforest, from the pre-Colombian ruins in the mountains to the Spanish colonial mansions on the coast, 14 Days in Peru offers you exciting adventures and unique experiences.
Peru is a multicultural country, and megadiverse, because it has different ecological floors, which have special microclimates, where ancient civilizations dominated the cold landscape of the Andes, and the hot coasts of the Pacific. It is also part of the great Amazon forest where a great variety of unique animals and plants coexist. This tour will take you to the most impressive landscapes in South America.