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The Colca Canyon is a huge gorge in southern Peru, about 105 km northwest of Arequipa. Reaching a depth of around 3,270 meters (10,730 feet), it is among the deepest canyons in the world. This full day Colca tour will take you to the best viewpoints along the canyon, offering unparalleled views. You’ll also have the chance to see giant Andean condors as they swoop and soar, sometimes just meters from where you’ll be standing.
We will leave Arequipa early in the morning, around 3:30 am, so that we have time for a full Colca Canyon experience. On our way to the canyon we will pass through spectacular mountain scenery and beautifully rugged terrain, stopping first at the small Andean community of Pata Wasi (meaning “High Home”). Here we can see some intriguing rock formations and views of the Chachani and Misti volcanoes. To help with the altitude, we will also stop to enjoy a traditional coca tea. As we approach the town of Chivay, which sits at an elevation of 3,600m above sea level (12,000ft), we will pass through colorful agricultural terraces found throughout much of the Colca Valley, some of which They date back to the time of the Inca. After breakfast we will head to the famous viewpoint, or viewpoint, known as Cruz del Cóndor (Cross of the Condor), arriving at approximately 8 am The viewpoint is located near the small towns of Maca and Cabanaconde. Here strong winds rise from the canyon, providing a favorite spot for Andean condors, the world’s largest flying birds. They fly in thermals, often in pairs, usually in the morning and late afternoon. You may see these huge condors with their three meter wingspan flying very close huge condors with their three meter wingspan flying very close to the overlook providing a truly majestic sight. After observing and taking photos of the condors, your guide will take you on a short hike near the canyon for about 45 minutes. Then we will return to Chivay, first stopping at the traditional town of Pinchollo and the Antahuilque viewpoint. This viewpoint offers wonderful views of the 1,500-year-old agricultural terraces that curve along the slopes like an amphitheater. You can also see some of the charming lagoons of the Colca Valley. The next stop is the Choquetico viewpoint, where we can see two very interesting features. First there are the hanging graves, or hanging tombs, built by the Aymara-speaking Collaguas around 1200 AD. These funerary niches were cut into the cliffs of Cerro Cabanaconde and later sealed with rock walls. To reach these otherwise inaccessible cliffs, the builders likely worked their way down using ropes suspended from trees above. The second interesting feature that we can see here is the litomaquette, a model of the canyon terraces carved into a rock. Continuing, we will visit the small Andean town of Maca, which is located on the slopes of the Sabancaya volcano and the Nevado Hualca Hualca. We will then visit the town of Yanque, which is home to a pretty white church, a small archeology museum, and thermal baths by the river. We will then return to Chivay for lunch before heading back to Arequipa.
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