The Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru, known for the soaring Andean Condors that can be seen throughout the year. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots and an area of astounding scenic beauty.
The Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru, located about 160 km (100 mi) northwest of Arequipa. With a depth of nearly 3,300 m (10,800 ft), it is one of the deepest in the world.
The canyon is just slightly shallower than the nearby Cotahuasi Canyon and nearly twice as deep as the US Grand Canyon.
It is an area of astounding scenic beauty and one of Peru's top tourist destinations, known for the soaring Andean Condors that can be seen most days throughout the year.
The Colca River, which downstream is called Majes and Camaná, is a Peruvian river in the Arequipa Region that flows deep in the rugged Andes of southern Peru.
The river originates southeast of the village Janq'u Lakaya (Ancolaccaya) in the Callalli District of the Caylloma Province.
On its way from the town of Chivay, capital of the Caylloma province in the Arequipa region, to Cabanaconde it flows through the Colca Canyon. Near the town of Camaná the river empties into the Pacific Ocean.
The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots. It contains towns founded in Spanish colonial times, still inhabited by people of the Collagua and the Cabana cultures.
The local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces, called andenes.
The canyon is home to the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), a species that has been the focus of worldwide conservation efforts. The condors can be seen at close range as they fly past the canyon walls, and are a popular attraction.
The Andean Condor typically lives about 60-70 years, and has a wingspan of 2.1-2.7 m (7-9) ft. It is commonly referred to as the "Eternity Bird," as the bird is a symbol of long life and eternity.
Other notable bird species present in the Colca include the giant hummingbird, the largest member of the hummingbird family, as well as the Andean goose, Chilean flamingo, and mountain caracara.
Animals include vizcacha, a rabbit-sized relative of the chinchilla, zorrino, deer, fox, and vicuña, the wild ancestor of the alpaca.
The climate is generally cool and dry. The Andean Summer (November through March) is reliably dry, with sunny days and clear, cold nights. Be prepared for temperatures below freezing, particularly in June, July, and August.
The rainy season begins, usually, in December, and lasts through April, with February being the wettest month. Temperatures remain cool, with rain or rain showers most days.