Colca Canyon in Peru

South America - Editor - 21 October 2010

Colca Canyon in Peru

Established in 1540 by the Spaniards, the town of Arequipa in Peru is a picturesque destination that is located in the Caylloma Province. Its breathtaking views of snowcapped volcanoes and numerous historical buildings have developed the town into a popular tourist hot spot. It is not only the attractions within the town that draw foreign visitors but the natural wonders that surround Arequipa, such as the magnificent Colca Canyon. Even though the Grand Canyon in the United States of America is known worldwide, the Colca Canyon is viewed as the largest of its kind and is slowly beginning to gain legendary status.

The walls of the Colca Canyon are not as vertical and intimidating as its American counterpart, but it does boast incredible depths and awe-inspiring valleys. Some parts of the canyon are inhabitable, and small villages and towns can be found along the way. The largest village in the Colca Canyon is Chivay, where natural hot springs, known as La Calera, are located. One of the most outstanding features of the Colca Canyon, are the graceful Andean Condors that fly along the canyon walls and dive deep into its valleys, and many visitors come to the Colca Canyon specifically to view these amazing birds. Their flight patterns enhance the greatness of the canyon, as visitors are able to grasp the magnitude of the Colca Canyon as the Condors soar past them far below.

The Colca Canyon stretches for kilometers and on average, is twice as deep at the Grand Canyon. In certain areas, the canyon floor reaches depths of 3 960 feet. Over and above its sheer size, the canyon also holds the secrets to past civilizations such as the Inca. The Wari Indians also used the canyon as a burial ground, burying their dead in the cliff faces in a fetal position, which can be viewed at the Toro Muerto Cemetary of the Wari Indians. Visitors to the Colca Canyon are advised to take along sunscreen, hats, sunglasses and ample water, as the temperatures can get extremely high and visitors can get dehydrated. Altitudes also vary along the way, so hikers are recommended to take their time to adjust to the changes. Trekking through the Colca Canyon is an experience that few will forget, as it is a site of wonder, magnificence and natural splendor.


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