his is a beautiful valley loaded with history, a lukewarm sun and amazing geography, which holds one of the deepest canyons on the planet in its territory, and keeps alive the traditions of a handful of towns of ancestral origins.
The Colca Canyon is the second deepest in the world, after that of Cotahuasi, both located in the Department of Arequipa, and it is situated along the homonymous valley. Its depth reaches up to 3180 metres, becoming a natural wonder worthy of admiration.
The route linking the City of Arequipa with the Colca Valley goes through Pampa Cañahua, a Natural Reserve that protects the most appreciated South American camelids, the vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), which has the finest and most highly regarded fibre in the international market.
One of the first places you will visit is Chivay, the most important town within the valley, which is reached after a three-hour trip from the City of Arequipa. There are tours departing from here bound for the other towns, created as “Indian Reductions” in the XVI century as instructed by Viceroy Toledo to house the christened descendants of the Collagua people, of Aymara origins, and the Cabanas, of Quechua origin. The population has managed to keep intact many of their customs, such as the use of farming terraces and some of their ancient traditions as well, reflected in the diversity of their feasts and in their flashy costumes.
You can also set off on a tour to visit the Vantage Point of the Condor’s Cross, at 3287 metres above sea level, from Chivay, a beautiful natural vantage point from where you will be able to admire the majestic flight of the condor (Vultur gryphus). Besides, you will have a privileged view of the imposing Sabancaya and Coropuna Volcanoes.
The Colca region has an important diversity of species, such as the kestrel (Falco sparverius)
, the peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
, the puna tinamou (Nothroprocta pentlandii)
, the puma (Puma concolor)
and the four varieties of South American camelids, the vicuña and the guanaco, living in the wild, and the llama and the alpaca, which have been domesticated. Amongst the most representatives vegetal species we have the ichu or Peruvian feather grass, and the so called tola.
Though this region has many more surprises in store for its visitors. The waters of the Colca River are better suited for navigation between May and October, becoming an ideal place for the practice of rafting.
This zone is also famous for the beauty of its fine craftsmanship, where the people of the valley work hard on the elaboration of rugs, several designs of embroideries, hammered tinworks and engraved wooden objects, all works that will make for an excellent remainder of this dearly loved trip.