Colca Canyon is the world’s deepest canyon, more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in Colorado, USA.
Situated in Peru, Colca Canyon is shaped by the river Colca, which springs in the Andes and flows into the Pacific Ocean, after changing his names twice (Majes and Camana).
Certain parts of the canyon are inhabited and the local people, isolated in the middle of the wilderness, still maintain their ancestral traditions. The stepped terraces from pre-Inca and Inca times are still used for agriculture. Small communities are settled between the small town of Chivay – situated on the upper Colca river, where the canyon is not so deep and where the agricultural terraces are - and the lower-course village of Cabanaconde, where the canyon is deeper. The canyon reaches its greatest depth in the region of Huambo, emphasized by the vicinity of the 6,288 m snowy peak of the Nevado Ampato volcano, situated 20 km southwards.
The name Colca refers to the small holes in the canyon rock walls, used in pre-Inca and Inca times for storing food, as well as tombs for important people.
Colca Canyon is home to the famous Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), which can be seen at dawn in dry months hovering over the Cruz del Condor pass, 1200 meters deep, or flying on the wings of the thermal currents between the canyon walls. The largest dryland flying bird, the condor is one the longest-living species, with a lifespan that can reach 50 years.
Colca Canyon is an absolutely unique place, of surreal beauty. The scenery is out of this world, with its heights of up to 6,000 meters or precipices thousands of meters deep, the condors gliding over the rocks and the herds of wild llamas, alpaca or vicuña running freely.