Canon de Colca, or Colca Canyon, is a river canyon in the south of Peru that is famous for spotting the giant Andean condor. This is not the only ‘attraction’ though. The Colca Canyon and the Colca Valley are simply incredibly beautiful with their andean terraces and lots of remote traditional villages with pre-Inca heritage. Even nowadays the local people still maintain their ancestral culture and traditions.
The andean terraces were created by two ethnic groups in the Colca Valley, the Collaguas and the Cabanas. The entire Colca Valley area is home to 16 different villages of which you will be able to visit a few during your trip to the Colca Canyon.
The best way to visit the Colca Canyon is via Arequipa. Arequipa is a lovely little city located around 100 miles from the Canyon. From Arequipa there are various tours leaving each day to spend usually one to three days at the Colca Canyon.
The tour programme doesn’t differ much from the one day to the two day trips The two day trip generally just spreads out the activities from the one day trip over the course of two days. This means that the tour is much more relaxed and you don’t have to get up at 3am in the morning to wait for the bus to pick you up from the hotel. Also you will have a bit more time at the different sightseeing spots and you will have an overnight stay in a lovely little town in the mountains. So if you do have some time in Arequipa, the two day tour is the more relaxed way to visit the Colca Canyon.
Now if you’d like to do a bit of trekking, there are lots of organised two day trips and even four day trips that will lead you through the beauty of the Colca Valley. Most of the local operators also offer private Colca Canyon tours so you can customise your visit to the Colca Valley.
WHAT TO BRING TO YOUR COLCA CANYON TOUR
Unless you are backpacking and simply take the entire backpack with you on the Colca Canyon trip, you are likely to leave your bigger luggage in the hotel and just take a smaller backpack with you. So these are essential things to pack for your Colca Canyon tour:
Comfy shoes or trekking shoes (if you booked the trekking tour)
A few more layers of clothes as it may get chilly at night
Toilet paper (the usual missing thing if you go to a public toilet)
Bathing clothes (if you decide to visit the thermal baths)
Camera / Go Pro (the entire Colca Valley is really beautiful, you will regret if you forget your camera)
Whilst the Colca Canyon is really impressive and a must-see, don’t forget that also Arequipa is a beautiful town and worth visiting for a few days. And if you are a bit of an adventure seeker, go rafting the Colca River – a perfect half a day trip from Arequipa.