Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. It is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa. It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States. However, the canyon’s walls are not as vertical as those of the Grand Canyon. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with towns founded in Spanish Colonial times and formerly inhabited by the Collaguas and the Cabanas. The local people still maintain ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces.
The Colca canyon is home of the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus), a species that has seen world-wide effort to preserve it. The condors can be seen at fairly close range as they fly through the canyon walls and are an increasingly popular attraction. ‘Cruz del Condor’ is a popular tourist stop to view the condors, the pass where condors soar gracefully on the rising thermals occurring as the air warms. The condors are best seen in the early morning and late afternoon when they are hunting. At this point the Colca canyon floor is 3,960 ft (1,200 m) below the rim of the canyon.