The Colca Valley (also Colca Canñon or Valle del Colca) is a ravine near Chivay in Perú, located about 97 kilometers north of Arequipa. Depending on whether it is from the highest mountain peak near the gorge to the Río Colca or from the edge of the gorge, it is 3,269 m or 1,200 m deep. The well-known Grand Canyon is (only) about 1,800 m deep. This makes the Cañón del Colca the second deepest canyon in the world. From a geological point of view, the Cañón del Colca is less than 100 million years old.
Rock paintings and caves, which once housed the so-called “colcas” (containers for the storage of grain), bear witness to the past of the Collagua culture; the original inhabitant of the region.
The upper slopes of the canyon are often structured by human hand to terraces, many of them already several hundred years old, which the current inhabitants use for their efficient land development. These terrace structures gave the mountain range of the Andes its name.
Between Cabanaconde and Chivay is the Cross of the Condor (Cruz del Condor). The up to 3m wing span of the condor is almost predestined to use the first mild morning thermic and to circle quietly at the rim of the canyon between eight and ten o’clock. On the cross of the condor, it is usually cool and extremely draughty.
On the condor’s cross, there are various platforms from which you can watch the birds and, of course, take pictures. If the Andean condors circling slowly over the canyon, you have the opportunity to take great pictures of the birds even without professional camera equipment. Usually there are about 10 – 15 animals, if you are lucky, there may be more with young animals.
It can be quite windy on the condor’s cross. This is great for watching the condors, but it can be relatively cool. For this reason, we recommend having a light jacket with you.