Colca Canyon Vacations
Embark on an outdoor adventure through Colca Canyon and see glaciers, gorges, ancient villages and some of the world’s biggest birds. With a depth of 13,650 feet (4,160 meters), Colca is one of the deepest canyons in the world. The natural wonder carves through the High Andes and is twice as deep as Arizona’s Grand Canyon.
Colca is home to the Andean condor, one of the world’s largest flying birds. From Chivay, the principal gateway to the canyon, go 30 miles (48 kilometers) east to the Cruz del Condor. This lookout area approximately 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) above the canyon floor offers close-range views of flying condors. Look for kestrels, peregrine falcons and mountain partridges too.
Stop in some of the 16th-century villages on your route through Colca. Many have elaborately decorated churches. These are also places where you can buy embroidered goods, including rugs and skirts. As you journey through the canyon, observe terraced fields along the canyon slopes, many dating back to Incan times.
Thrill seekers can ride a zip line across the canyon. Reach speeds of 60 to 70 miles per hour (96 to 112 kilometers) and fly more than 300 feet (91 meters) above the Colca River. The aerial attraction is located close to Chivay. Nearby, find the Calera Hot Springs; soothe aching limbs by slipping into indoor or outdoor thermal pools.
Start your visit in Chivay where you can pick up maps and detailed information about routes through the gorge. Purchase a Boleto Turistico (Tourist Ticket) required to enter some of the canyon’s attractions, such as the Cruz del Condor.
Getting to Colca Canyon involves a 4-hour drive or bus ride from the city of Arequipa. The majority of visitors tour Colca as part of an organized excursion. Before exploring the canyon’s attractions, it is common to stop in Chivay for at least a couple hours to acclimate to the altitude. Prepare for cool, dry weather.