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COLCA CANYON Description (Arequipa Peru) PDF Print E-mail

COLCA CANYON (Arequipa Peru)

Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. It is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. However, the canyon's walls are not as vertical as those of the Grand Canyon. The Cotahuasi Canyon to the northwest is a deeper canyon at 11,488 ft (3,501 m). Since they are such major features of the landscape, the Colca and Cotahuasi canyons are both easily recognizable in even low-resolution satellite photos of the region. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with towns founded in Spanish Colonial times and formerly inhabited by the Collaguas and the Cabanas. The local people still maintain ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.

The Colca River starts high in the Andes at Condorama Crucero Alto and changes its name to Majes, and then to Camana before reaching the Pacific Ocean. Parts of the canyon are habitable, and Inca and pre-Inca terraces are still cultivated along the less precipitous canyon walls. The small town of Chivay is on the upper Colca River, where the canyon is not so deep but where many terraces are present in the canyon and continue for many kilometers downstream. As the canyon deepens downriver, a series of small villages is spread out over the approximately 35 miles (56 km) between Chivay and the village of Cabanaconde. The canyon reaches its greatest depth and, in contrast, about 15 miles (24 km) to the southeast rises the 20,630-ft (6,288-m) Nevado Ampato, a snow-capped extinct volcano.


The valley lies in the Callalli and Huambo districts of the Caylloma Province


An Andean Condor soars over the canyon.The canyon is home to the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), a species that has seen world-wide effort to preserve it. The condors can be seen at fairly close range as they fly through the canyon walls and are an increasingly popular attraction. 'Cruz del Condor' is a popular tourist stop to view the condors, the pass where condors soar gracefully on the rising thermals occurring as the air warms. The condors are best seen in the early morning and late afternoon when they are hunting. At this point the canyon floor is 3,960 ft (1,200 m) below the rim of the canyon.


The La Calera natural hot springs are located at Chivay, the biggest town in the Colca Canyon.


The name Colca refers to small holes in the cliffs in the valley and canyon. These holes were used in Inca and pre-Inca times to store food, such as potatoes and other Andean crops. They were also used as tombs for important people.


The Spanish laid out towns along the canyon and built churches there, but the towns did not thrive and have faded out of memory. In the 1980s, the Majes Hydroelectric Project built roads and opened the area to outsiders. Access today is usually through Arequipa.

Some Tour Packages with::  Coca canyon



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