But first, Colca Canyon. Here are some fun facts about this place:
- The canyon has a total depth of 3,270 meters (10,725 feet) and is one of the deepest ones throughout the entire world. For those who have visited the Grand Canyon, Colca is twice as deep.
- Colca Canyon is home of the Andean Condor. They can usually be seen hunting for food.
- Nearly 300 different species make up the flora of Colca Canyon. These plants are used for medicine and fuel.
- 32 different mammal species, 5 carnivore species, 130 species of birds, and numerous amphibians, reptiles, and rodents call Colca Canyon home.
For nature lovers, the canyon is a must. Usually, people do a 2 or 3-day trek through the canyon. As I didn’t have a lot of time, I did the super easy one-day option that started at 3 am and ended at 6 pm.
The first stop was the
The tiny village of Maca was our next stop. Located 160 km (100 mi) away from Arequipa, Maca had little contact with the rest of the world until a road was built in the 1970s.
Today, Maca sees tourists year round. It’s a small place with a church, a main square, and plenty of souvenir stands.
And, of course, a man dressed a condor, just in case the condors are not flying at the viewpoint. At least you can say you have seen a condor, right?
The Condor Viewpoint
The condors like to hang around at Condor’s Cross. It also offers the best views of how deep Colca Canyon really is.
I waited here for an hour for the condors, and luckily, I was not disappointed.
Here are some fun facts about the Andean Condor:
- These condors have a wingspan of over 3 m (10 ft), making them one of the largest flying birds in the world. When fully grown, they can weigh 15 kg (33 lb) and stand 1.2 m tall.
- Because of their weight, they sometimes struggle to fly. They prefer hanging around windy areas so they don’t have to put as much effort into flying.
- Male condors have yellow eyes, and female condors have red eyes.
The Baños Termales de Chacapi in Yanque is where people like to relax while watching the river flow. I didn’t bring any swimwear, so I just watched people instead. But for 15 PEN ($4.47), it buys you entrance to multiple pools of various temperatures.
Chivay is the main entrance and exit of Colca Canyon. My tour had an obligatory lunch stop at a restaurant in Chivay. As I was not craving a buffet meal of not-so-great food for 30 PEN ($8.94), I decided to walk into town to search for food. Sadly, I found two tiendas (stores) that sold a lot of cookies but no salty snacks, which I was craving!
Colca Canyon Tips
- If you have a tendency to get car-sick, get some motion-sickness pills (dimenhydrinate). In a van of 20 people, I had to watch and listen to four people fill up several bags with vomit.
- Bring some snacks and water, if possible. Otherwise, expect markups of up to 50%.
- Bring sunscreen. Condor watching in the scorching sun can have serious effects afterward.
- For foreigners, the fee to enter Colca Canyon is 70 PEN ($20.85). Ouch…