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What to see in the Colca Canyon Arequipa - Peru

Home » Que hacer en Perú » What to see in the Colca Canyon Arequipa - Peru
Home » Que hacer en Perú » What to see in the Colca Canyon Arequipa - Peru

The white city of Arequipa, has undoubtedly an extensive list of tourist attractions, both cultural and natural, and it is well known that the greatest natural attraction of Arequipa, is the Colca Canyon, home of the mythical Condor, a natural beauty, worthy of being admired.

Here is some useful information for your next trip to the Colca Canyon.

Where is the Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is located in the Arequipa Region, in the province of Caylloma, Chivay.

It covers an area of more than 200 kilometers in length and a depth of about 3,600 meters on the south side and 4,160 meters on the north side.

It is currently considered the 3rd deepest canyon in the world.

During 2019 this Canyon and the surrounding area was declared by UNESCO as a World Geopark, being currently a protected area.

It is currently one of the most popular tourist destinations in Peru.

Cañón Del Colca, Arequipa
Colca Canyon, Arequipa

Tourist Destinations in the Colca Valley and Canyon

Within the Colca Valley, you can find different attractions that you can take advantage of during your visit to this wonderful place.

Thermal Baths ''La Calera''

Banos Termales ‘‘la Calera
La Calera thermal baths

A tourist complex called La Calera, in the Colca Valley, was inaugurated in Caylloma.

It is a set of 5 heated pools, whose waters are attributed medicinal properties since the water of these pools originates in the Cotallumi volcano, the water descends with an initial temperature of approximately 80º.

To make it suitable for human use, it undergoes a previous treatment to reduce its temperature to approximately 38º and also to take advantage of its Calcium, Zinc and Iron content, components that are ideal to reduce muscular and bone ailments. 

The entrance fee is S/. 5.00 and S/. 15.00, Peruvian, the rates vary according to how many pools you want to enter, the opening hours are from 4 am to 19 pm, every day.

In addition, a few steps from the pools, you will find the site museum where pieces found in the archaeological excavations carried out in the Colca are exhibited.

Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon, a natural wonder, is a formation that occurred 150 million years ago approximately, during the deglaciations in the Quaternary period, and also contributed the erosive process by the passage of the Colca River. Additionally, the morphology of the Colca Canyon was shaped by the presence of the Sabancaya and Hualca Hualca volcanoes.

Currently the Colca Canyon receives many visitors every day, trekking and bird watching activities are carried out, since this is one of the points where you can still see the majestic flight of the condor, as well as other representative species such as the taruca or Andean deer, hawks, and as for the flora you can appreciate the forests of queuña, yaretas, ichus and pajonales.

Viewpoint of the Cruz del Cóndor

This viewpoint is located at 3,287 meters above sea level, is a viewpoint that offers a privileged view of the Colca Canyon, is a perfect place to observe the flight of the condors, the recommended time is in the mornings as these majestic birds take advantage of the hot air currents to glide without making much wear of energy, since the large size of these birds, do not make flapping, if not that are carried away by the wind currents.

Uyo Uyo archaeological complex

It is located in the district of Yanque, in Caylloma, 3 hours from the city of Arequipa.

The Uyo Uyo archaeological complex is made up of 4 sectors: Urban I and II, Agricultural Sector III and Cemetery Sector IV.

According to historians in the Colca Valley there were two villages, the Cabanas and Kullawas, the curacas resided in Uyo Uyo, and from there they took control of the water, in order to have power over agriculture, it is noteworthy that the agricultural terraces are still in use.

It is believed that the settlement that inhabited this place was the Kullawa culture that developed in approximately 1300 A.D., with Inca influence.

Later the place was abandoned during the Spanish invasion, but thanks to the wonderful architecture, the walls have been preserved in perfect condition, so that currently and thanks to the investment of the municipality of Caylloma the archaeological site has been restored, and can now receive visitors who wish to know the cultural side of the Colca Canyon.

Valley and Canyon Towns

  • Chivay: It is the capital of the district of Caylloma at 3,635 meters above sea level, founded during the Spanish colonization, it is located in the highest part of the canyon, this community stands out for the divisions in terms of Inca distribution, there are still 3 areas: Ccapa, which is the main neighborhood and is where the hot springs ''La Calera'' are located,
  • Urinsaya; it is the lower part dominated by large agricultural areas, known for the young, hardy people who live in this neighborhood.
  • Hanansaya: upper neighborhood, this area is much larger and borders the Yanque district.
  • Achoma: A small town in which stands out its church built in 1759, which is built entirely in ashlar, which is a type of volcanic rock, carved that is used in many places in Arequipa.
  • Yanque: In this town you have one of the most beautiful churches with baroque style, the temple of the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception, which has an elaborate facade, with numerous saints and virgins, as well as Andean elements, carved in ashlar which makes this temple one of the most beautiful of the Andean baroque.

Trekking or hiking in the Colca Canyon

Trekking Cañón Del Colca (1)
Trekking in the Colca Canyon

Currently the most popular activity in the Colca Canyon is trekking, an activity that is done in tours of 2 to 4 days, these activities are oriented for a public that already has some previous experience or a good physical condition, this tour is not recommended for pregnant women or children under 10 years old.

The trekking is not really complicated, it is the altitude that causes discomfort, the trails are in good condition and well marked.

Remember that it is always better to do this type of adventure activities in the company of a tour guide specialized in trekking, you can hire the service with licensed and certified agencies.

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