Colca Canyon. Peru
For a long time, very little was known about the valley of the Colca River. Various legends were formed about this practically unexplored area of Peru, therefore it was called: The Valley of Miracles, of Fire, of Incas and even the Territory of Eagles.
Colca Canyon (spanish Cañon del Colca) is located in the southern part of Peru, 160 km from Arequipa. Its length is over 100 km, and its depth from the bottom to the mountain peaks reaches 3,400 m, making it the second deepest canyon in the world after the Cotahuasi Canyon, which crashes down to 3,535 meters at its deepest point. It is twice as large as the Grand Canyon in the United States and, unlike it, the Colca Canyon is suitable for life and agriculture. The Canyon is situated high in the Andes, at altitudes from 3260 meters above sea level.
The Colca Canyon was formed in the valley of the river with the same name. By the way, the very name “Colca” is translated as “granary”. The fact is that in this area the Incas grew very good crop yields, and still there are numerous terraces harmoniously blending into the mountain landscape. The Colca Canyon has been inhabited for more than 1500 years by people, the first of which were the ethnic tribes of the pre-Inca era. On the canyon lands, they managed to create a complex system of agricultural terraces, which occupied an area of more than 10,000 hectares. Today, large parcels of terraces in the Andes are still preserved, and are processed by local residents, and the preserved Inca dwellings are even used for crop storage.
Nature lovers adore these stunning views and tourists – rafters are attracted by the river at the bottom of the canyon. But travelers visit the Сolсa Сanyon not only for the sake of gorgeous nature, unique landscapes and picturesque settlements. On one of the highest points of the canyon there is the overview platform “Cruz del Condor”, from where at the closest possible distance you can watch the condors, the world’s largest birds, whose wingspan reaches 3.3 meters. They are often called the hosts of the Andes. It is not accidental that one more ancient name of the lost mountain areas is the Territory of Condor. The condor does not just fly, it hovers. Tens of minutes the great bird keeps on the streams of air, not making a single stroke of the wings, but only controlling the flow of air. At this time the condor, from the huge height of the canyon, is looking out for its prey.
Watching the flight of birds, you can make unforgettable photos against the backdrop of the majestic canyon, have a snack, and buy souvenirs. Here, at the viewing platforms, the local residents sell their products, for example, you may purchase handmade cute things of alpaca wool. In addition, from the numerous observation points of the Colca Canyon, you can watch the volcanoes of the Peruvian Andes: Sabancaya, Ampato, Hualca-Hualca and others.