Colca Canyon is the canyon of the Colca River in
southern Peru. It is located about 100 miles (160
kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. The Colca River
starts high in the Andes at Condorama Crucero Alto and
changes its name to Majes, and then to Camana before
reaching the Pacific Ocean.
Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world
at 10,725 ft (3,269 meters), it is more than twice as deep as
the Grand Canyon in the United States. However, the
canyon's walls are not as vertical as the ones of the
Grand Canyon. The Cotahuasi Canyon nearby to the
northwest is a deeper canyon at 11,488 ft (3,501 meters).
Since they are such major features of the landscape, the Colca and Cotahuasi canyons are both easily recognizable
in even low-resolution satellite photos of the region.
small town of Chivay (see satellite map below) is on the
upper Colca River, where the canyon is not so deep but
where many terraces are present in the canyon and
continue for many kilometers downstream. As the canyon
deepens downriver, a series of small villages is spread
out over the approximately 35 miles (56 km) between
Chivay and the village of Cabanaconde.
travelers come to witness the dwindling population of
the Andean condors. The Colca Valley is a colorful
Andean valley with towns founded in Spanish Colonial
times and formerly inhabited by the Collaguas and the
Cabanas. The local people still maintain ancestral
traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca
stepped terraces along the less precipitous canyon walls.
40 km from Chivay, the first of the towns along the way,
stands a superb natural lookout point from where one can
watch the condors wheeling over the valley, while in the
distance one can spot the Coropuna (6,450 meters) and
Ampato (6,325 meters) volcanoes. Several towns in the
valley provide lodging, but one can also camp out and go
trekking. The area is ideal for adventure sports.
Machu Picchu is perhaps the most interesting tourist
destination in South America. Many hikers do Colca
either before or after going to Machu Picchu.
Most Popular videos of
the Colca Canyon.