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  Peru: Destinations : Sierra

Valle del Colca

Valle del Colca. Arequipa

At 3,000 meters (9,900ft) in depth, Colca Valley is deeper than the famous Grand Canyon of the United States. The slanted walls of this geographical wonder drain thermal waters to create some well known retreats for medicinal and relaxation purposes, such as La Calera and Yanque. It is located west of the city of Arequipa, in a region isolated from traditional means of communication. Colca is known for being one of the deepest canyons in the world, formed by the Colca River, and in recent years has become a place to practice adventure sports such as canoeing and paragliding. There are 14 towns stretching across the valley, full of color and life. At the Cruz del Cóndor (Cross of the Condor) the road passes by the ridge of the canyon. Experiences from past visitors indicate that the panorama from this point is simply spectacular. The amazing Colca River is located 1,200 meters (3,960ft) below, and the thick canyon wall in front of you stretches up to a height of 3,100 meters (10,170ft), whose peaks are perpetually coated with ice. And further down the condors fly majestically. In addition, other areas you can visit in the region are Coporaque, with its impressive church and unique history (ask any village person), Yanque with its thermal pools, and the baths of Maca and Achoma.  However, it is worthwhile to visit the towns of Colca Valley, rich in history and architecture. One can appreciate some of the most beautiful and oldest churches in Peru, decorated with murals and valuable paintings from the colonial ages.

Approximately 160 km (100miles) north of Arequipa.
When to go
Year round
Colca Canyon, National Salt and White Water Reserve, Cruz del Cóndor, Indian Lagoon, Forest of Maucarquipa rocks
How to get there
You should hire a tour service from Arequipa, or take an urban bus to Chivay (160 km or 100 miles)
Photography, observing wildlife, hiking, walking, mountaineering, canoeing.
Accommodations, roads, transportation, food.

Colca Canyon

Valle del Colca

Condor flying

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