The impressive and majestic Colca Valley is located in the far northeast of the department of Arequipa, in the province of Caylloma, 102 miles from the city of Arequipa. Its main attraction is the famous Colca Canyon, considered to be one of the deepest in the world.
62 miles long, it is located between the districts of Callalli and Huambo. The route to the Colca crosses the foothills of the Chachani and plains full of ichu and yareta, local Andean vegetation. As for its fauna, the Colca Valley is characterized as a natural habitat for alpacas and vizcachas, Andean animals typical of the area. However, the most popular species of fauna in the valley is the Andean condor and its impressive flight.
Near the Ampato and Sabancaya volcanoes is the Colca Canyon, which is approximately 2.58 miles deep. Also known as ´The Valley of Fire´, the shape of this impressive Canyon is due to the volcanic activity of Sabancaya and Hualca Hualca. It is important to note thatvisitors to the Colca Canyon have the opportunity to practice extreme sports such as canoing, mountaineering, mountain climbing, fishing and trekking, among others.
Flora and Fauna
Despite being located in a region with desert conditions and high mountains, the Colca Valley has a varied biodiversity. As for its fauna, species include the Condor, the Parihuana, the Llama, the Guanaco, the Alpaca, the Vicuña, the Taruca, the Fox and the Viscacha. Its flora comprises about 300 species, the most important ones being the Queñua Forests, the Bosques de Queñua, el Ichu or Puna Grassland, the Bofedal, the Yareta and the Columnar Cacti.
Flight of the Condor
The Colca Canyon is home to impressive giant birds like the Andean condor. One of the most eagerly awaited spectacles by tourists to the Colca Valley and Canyon is the sunrise next to the cliffs when you can observe the flight of approximately 20 condors. The best place to witness the Flight of the Condor is from the ´Cruz del Cóndor´ viewpoint, where visitors will be able to see the gliding flight of this majestic bird in danger of extinction up close.
Another of the main attractions and a source of relaxation for tourists in the Colca Valley is its hot springs, from Caylloma to Canco, with a progressive decrease in water temperature. These waters have a chemical composition comprising calcium, zinc, iron, carbon and salts, among others. They also have a maximum temperature of 85 C° at the spring outflow.
OTHER ATTRACTIONS OF THE LOCATION
Towns and churches
Picturesque Andean villages and ancient churches are to be found in the Colca Valley, with some beautiful architecture. Chivay is the busiest town in the Valley, its church characterized by its color and its images of saints and virgins, with their natural hair. Other towns to be explored in the Valley are Coporaque, Yanque and Maca. In these towns, tourists can take pictures of native animals such as llamas, alpacas and different types of birds. The locals also sell souvenirs and local gastronomic products. It is important to note that the Wititi, Qamili, Tincachi, Turcu Tusuy and the Carnivals are the main folkloric expressions of the Colca Valley
The embroideries with which the women embellish their typical costumes and hats are features of local fabrics on display. Textiles made from alpaca and llama fiber and produced by the people of the highlands are those most in demand by national and international tourism.
The Colca Valley is one of the most extraordinary tourist spots in the Peruvian department of Arequipa and Peru. Observing the flight of the condor, the flora and all the beauty of the Colca Canyon, as well as visiting its ancient towns and churches, is an unforgettable experience. After having suffered natural disasters such as strong earthquakes and volcanic activity, its inhabitants have continued to work hard to preserve their beautiful villages lost in history, and so that future generations may appreciate them in their greatest magnitude and state of conservation.