Exploring Colca Canyon On Your Peru Vacation

by Captain Bill

Exploring Colca Canyon on Your Peru Vacation

I was skeptical about a hard hundred miles of travel from Arequipa Peru, to access a remote, difficult Andean valley, to see the second deepest crevasse in the Americas, Colca Canyon. The reason I decided to explore Colca Canyon was the possibility of looking down on the Andean Condor, the largest flighted bird, as it soared up to meet me. That is what happened at the Mirador Cruz del Condor, at 13,000 feet; it was like a dream.

Andean Condor, Colca Canyon

It was hard to get a perspective of how deep the canyon was until Marmelita spotted two condors flying three quarter of a mile below our perch on the canyon rim. They looked to be the size of wrens. At first I refused to believe they were condors, or that the canyon was that deep, but they were condors…and the canyon is that deep, more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Try to imagine giant Colca Canyon Condors down below you that look the size of wrens, nearly impossible.

We left Arequipa around 8:00am passing through Pampa Cañahuas, where we spotted wild beautiful Vicuñas, and the National Reserve Salinas, where we saw herds of grazing Llamas and Alpacas,

Llamas and Alpacas

Then on to the pueblo of Chivay where we ate a buffet meal at the Ghapag Nan, with over a dozen well prepared regional recipes to choose from for only S/ 20.

The next stop was La Calera hot springs where we soaked in the natural hot water and soaked in the view of the surrounding cliffs and valley, until Marmelita became agitated and felt she was cooking like a shrimp.

La Calera Hot Springs, Colca Canyon

The scenic view along the Colca Canyon of the 1,000 year old pre-Inca agricultural terraces still farmed today by descendants of the Collaguas is beautiful and inspiring. We were there December 19th and saw cebada, peas, onions, and green vegetables I did not recognize. The irrigation system was simple and efficient.

Colca Canyon Pre-Inca Terraces

On the road from Chivay to Condor Pass, the first village is Yanque, where I was happy to make the acquaintance of an Andean Eagle in front of the church.

Andean Eagle and Me

On the road back to Arequipa, at the highest point, Marmelita, the Jungle Girl played in her first snow.

Marmelita Plays in her first snow, Colca Canyon

The condors, the eagle, the scenic beauty, the pre-inca terraces, the herds of llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas, the hot springs, the quiet traditional lifestyle, the quaint village of Chivay and the dramatic changes in elevation and vegetation, make exploring Colca Canyon a worthwhile destination to get off the beaten path on your Peru vacation.

Exploring Colca Canyon on Your Peru Vacation

Bill Grimes, Dawn on the Amazon

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