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COTAHUASI - PERU

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A valley, a bunch of towns, several snowcapped mountains, tens of cultivation terraces. A waterfall, a couple of hanging bridges, a "puya" forest and also a cactus one. Pre-Hispanic and historical ruins and Aimaran mummies, waris and incas; but above all a gigantic, huge and fantastic canyon: Cotahuasi, the deepest canyon all over the world that has 3,535 meters depth according to the researchers' opinion. This destination in Arequipa is such amazing! Here, geography is cut by powerful rivers, exciting ravines and deep abysses. Populations, unaware of time passing by, keep their old countenance, refusing to change, refusing to lose their old habits.

The impressive Cotahuasi canyon is located at La Unión province, one of the roughest provinces in Arequipa, thanks to its snowcapped mountains of perennial beauty like the Coropuna volcano (the highest of the country with 6,425 meters) and the Solimana (6,117 meters); in addition to its varied vegetation growing between 1,000 and 6,100 meters high.

Enjoying the canyon depth is an experience marked by particular events: a 14-hour trip (from Arequipa) through a road in bad conditions; a peaceful stay in Cotahuasi town and an exhausting long walk, crossing two hanging bridges and probably sighting condors until reaching Sipia, a magnificent waterfall of 150 meters high.

Cotahuasi's depth is the ideal home for species in danger of extinction like the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), vicunas (Vicugna vicugna) and guemales (Hippocamelus antisensis). Just a brief description of the large fauna, which together with the archaeological and cultural attractions of the canyon justified its denomination of National Touristic Reserve Zone, granted in 1988.

It is not so visited not by any means by foreign tourists. Even, Cotahuasi's cartography has been just prepared in the 90s.

Undoubtedly, an incredible geographic area providing the necessary natural resources for the survival of Cotahuasi's settlers, whose origins date back to 10,000 years ago; when a group of Andean men and women set up in the area.

Afterwards, the region would be conquered by waris, chancas and incas; the latter baptized the towns with quechua names, that remain until today, as well as many of their habits.

But adventure is also present in Cotahuasi, as the area is ideal for practicing rafting, free flight, rock climbing, mountain biking; rides, rapelling and trekking. Cotahuasi is a canyon of adventures and a remote place of the ancient past that waits for being visited.
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