Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon combined with Colca Valley, is the most popular excursion from Arequipa. A never-ending destination that combines natural richness, living history, and adventure sports like canoeing, mountain biking, mountaineering, hiking, and horse-riding. At its deepest, the canyon is 3,400 metres deep. At the top of the canyon there are scenic viewpoints placed strategically to allow visitors to admire the landscape and the flight of the majestic condor.

The minimum recommended to visit is 2 days, combined with Colca Valley.

Sights & Attractions in Colca

Along the length of the valley there are fourteen colonial towns, where it is possible to see extraordinary examples of civil and religious architecture, stone houses with thatched roofs, and temples such as those of the Lari, Yanque, Cabanoconde, and Sibayo, which constitute true masterpieces of Mestizo Baroque art.

Arequipa’s and Colca Valley distinguishing seal is its living culture, an experience you definitely cannot miss out on. Whether it is about participating in ancient rituals, like an offering to the earth, or working in the fields next to farmers, forming part of the parades during one of the many festivals, or learning to native dances or Andean music, go ahead and do it because it is going to make you feel more like home. The best way of enjoying the hospitality and kindness of a place where friendship lives is through experiential tourism.

Colca Canyon

The canyon is located north of the city of Arequipa, at 180 Km (111.8 miles) and 42 Km / 26 miles west of the town of Chivay (1 hour by car), the departure point in Colca Valley.

Chivay town is the entrance door to Colca Valley and it´s located 166 Km. from Arequipa City, the route cross the Pampa Cañahuas and National Reserve Salinas and Aguada Blanca.

Slicing through the High Andes like a giant fissure for more than 100 Km, Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in Arequipa at southern Peru, is one of the deepest places on the planet, reaching a depth of 3,400 meters (11,155 feet) at the lowest point in the location of Canco.

In May 1981, the Polish Canoandes rafting expedition made the first descent of the river below Cabanaconde, and proclaimed the possibility of its being the world's deepest canyon. It was so recognized by the Guinness Book of Records in 1986, and a National Geographic article in January 1993 repeated the claim. The joint Polish/Peruvian "Cañon del Colca 2005" expedition verified the altitudes of the river and the surrounding heights via GPS.

It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States at 13,650 ft. (4,160 m) depth.

The canyon, on the right side, it is flanked by the Cordillera Chila (Chila Mountain Range) (Bomboya, Serpregrina, Mismi, Queshihua mountains) and on the other by Mount Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya and Ampato. You can see the Ubinas volcano and beautiful Coropuna Mount in the distance.

Visits to the Colca Canyon are made very early in the morning to see the majestic flight of the condors from Mirador Cruz del Cóndor, cliff top lookout, the best viewpoint, 35 Km west of Yanque. Here, the visitors can see them at fairly close range as they float on the rising thermals and scan for carrion far below them.

Colca Canyon can be visited any time of year, but it is most beautiful, and safer, after the rains cease.

Between December and March, the waters of the Colca River offer for the lovers of river running (white-water rafting), one of the best places in the world for the practice of this sport. It includes rapids of high speed (gradient + V), and great isolation in certain tracks. The upper part (Andagua) and the middle of it can be navigated in kayaks by sportsmen with much experience. This is an area of pure adrenaline for trekking, mountain biking or clambering up Andean peaks.

National Reserve Salinas and Aguada Blanca and Colca area are great scenarios to bird-watching for Andean species, specially the Condor (Vultur gryphus).

Bird-watching in Arequipa

Lodging and Tours in Colca Area

In Colca area there are hotels, from economic rates located in the towns, and luxury hotels and lodges are located in the countryside. The main hotels has thermal baths and hot springs.

The minimum recommended to visit is 2 days, combined with Colca Canyon.

Daily bus services and tours excursions from Arequipa city.

If you planing visit Arequipa, Colca and Puno, you have the option of tourist bus service for this route, more details ...

Trekking at Colca Canyon - Video

The Condors in Colca Canyon - Video

Map of Colca Area

  • Mirador Cruz del Cóndor

    Mirador Cruz del Cóndor

    © PromPeru - G. Tubbeh

  • Colca Canyon

    Colca Canyon

    © J. Mazzotti

  • Majestic flight of the condors

    Majestic flight of the condors in Colca Canyon

    © PromPeru - G. Tubbeh

  • Colca Canyon

    River Running

    © PromPeru

  • Colca Canyon

    Majestic flight of the condor in Colca Canyon

    © PromPeru