Colca Canyon, located approximately 100 miles northwest of Arequipa, is one of the deepest chasms in the world.
At some points, Colca’s sloping walls drop for over two miles. The surrounding landscape is dominated by the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Chila.
Mount Hualca Hualca, Sabancaya, and the 20,630-foot Ampato volcano feed the Colca, the river that carved this enormous canyon.
Today, the Colca settlements include more than a dozen traditional towns, where life is much as it was a century ago.
Maca and Lari, in the central portion of the valley, are noteworthy for their historic churches.
Coporaque, Ichupampa, and Yanque
In the valley’s east, Coporaque, Ichupampa, and Yanque are home to indigenous communities, dutifully maintaining their traditions and cultivating the terraced hillsides.
The four-hour journey passes through Altiplano, populated by vicuña, alpacas, and llamas.
Several of the mountainsides along the route feature remarkable terraces, constructed by Inca and pre-Inca cultures.
Horseback Riding, Mountain Biking, Hot Springs and Fly Fishing
An excellent way to see the canyon is on horseback. Trekking, mountain biking, fly fishing, and day-trips to hot springs and geysers are also available.
Andean Condors, some with wingspans in excess of ten feet, ride thermal currents near this observation point.
Colca Canyon Climate
Several hotels and lodges are perched in or around the colonial town of Chivay. Due to the altitude, the climate is warm during the day and chilly at night.
Average dry season temperatures range from freezing to the high 60s. During the rainy season, (November to March), cloud cover is often present.
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