Colca Canyon

Watch Andean Condors soar on thermals above the mosaic of fertile terraces that line the canyon.


Although it was once thought to be the deepest canyon in the world, Colca Canyon (Cañon del Colca), twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA, is the second deepest after nearby Cotahuasi Canyon. The canyon reaches a depth of 10,725 feet (3,400 meters) and is the result of a seismic fault between two volcanoes. At the base far below is a winding river.

The Colca Canyon area has been inhabited for thousands of years and was home to the Collagua, Cabana, and eventually the Inca peoples. Stone terracing along the canyon walls dates to AD 800 and is still in use today.

The canyon is about a four-hour drive from Arequipa. Day trips to the canyon are available from Arequipa but two or more days are recommended considering the driving time involved in accessing the canyon. The canyon is also home to the famous Andean Condor and ancient terraced hillsides which were built by the Incas for agricultural purposes. A great place for walking, horse riding, hot springs or generally relaxing in the warm sunshine.

Colca Canyon can be visited at any time of year, but it is most beautiful outside the rainy season (December – April). Be prepared for cool nights in June, July, and August.

Discover Colca Canyon