Around Peru: Colca Canyon

Yet another of the posts that got squeezed out last year when I was too busy travelling and battling with bad wifi to get them online.  This one is from May last year.  I almost left Peru out of my little South America itinerary, and I’m so glad I didn’t…..


From Arequipa I took a trip to the Colca Canyon, apparently the second deepest canyon in the world (the deepest is in Tibet.  The Grand Canyon, which I thought was the deepest because it’s certainly the most well-known, is way down the list at number 5).

You can do this as a day trip from Arequipa, but it would be very rushed. Instead I opted for a 2-day trip. My tour cost 100 soles (US$30), which included basic accommodation in Chivay, a tiny town in the middle of the canyon. On top of this I had to pay entrance fees to the National Park of 70 soles plus food and drink.

It gets very cold at night in the canyon and a basic hotel doesn’t come with any heating.  I slept in all my clothes and was still very cold all night. With hindsight, it might have been worth paying a bit more to upgrade the hotel.

Some of the options include a trek, but this is a tough trek, some say even tougher than Machu Picchu. The altitude is high and it is a long haul uphill.  I didn’t do the trek.

Instead, we drove through the scenic Aguada Blanca National Park…


The highest point, at almost 5,000 metres above sea level.  Breathing was hard.  You can see the one active volcano in the background, having a little smoke.


Plenty of opportunity to meet llamas and alpacas.


Afternoon excursion to a hot springs near to Chivay

In the evening we went to a folklore show with plenty of Peruvian singing and dancing and everyone encouraged to join in.

The next day we got up early to get to the Condor cross to see the amazing Andean condors.  Condor sightings aren’t guaranteed of course, but we lucked out and there were plenty there on that day.  Condors fly by gliding; they don’t flap their wings to move.

Sarah’s useless condor facts: condors – like swans – mate for life, although recently there has been some skepticism that any animals do in fact ‘mate for life’.  As with humans, they often have affairs.  (I have an image of Mr and Mrs Condor in therapy; him complaining that she’s let herself get fat, her complaining that he’s always out at the pub).


There was some dancing to keep us entertained whilst we took in the views


2 replies »

  1. Hello Sarah. I read this and thought you were back in South America! I hope all is well. xxx

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