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10 Photos & Reasons why the Colca Canyon is worth visiting

“I wanna go back.”, this was my immediate thought when I got back to Arequipa. The Colca Canyon is a perfect creation of mother nature. Thank you, dear lady! Maybe you are considering to visit one of the world’s deepest canyon, but you are not sure if it’s worth your time. I am sure these photos will convince you that that the Colca Canyon is worth visiting and here they come.

1. It’s fucking beautiful!

Pardon my English here. Maybe Spanish sounds better: “El Canon del Colca es muy bonito!” Well, I just don’t know many words or swear words yet. Anyways, it’s that simple! Colca Canyon is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Especially in the rainy season, the mountains and fields are lush green, and clouds are hanging in the canyon. A really photogenic place! Hiking into the canyon will offer you more and more stunning views. I had to stop quite often, just to soak in the views and, of course, to take photos.

Massive mountains on the other side of the Colca Canyon from Cruz del Condor viewpoint
View from the Cruz del Condor

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2. It is one of the deepest canyons in the world (not the deepest anymore)

A lot of websites say that Colca Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world. With approximately 11,100ft (3400m), it is “just” one of the deepest canyons in the world. It is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, though. New measurements have proven that Cotahuasi Canyon is even deeper. Still, Colca Canyon is worth visiting because of its depth. Once you stand at Mirador Achachihua, you will believe me and understand my love for this place!

Overgrown, green, deep canyon with snow on the mountain summits
View from Mirador Achachihua: At the bottom of the canyon (next to the orange rocks) is Sangalle (the oasis)

3. You can spot Andean Condors

The Andean Condors are the largest raptors in the world. With a wingspan of 10 feet, they like to glide through the canyon. You can either see them at Cruz del Condor, Mirador Tapay or on the trails. We got to see a couple flying over our heads when we hiked from Cabanaconde to Llahuar. It was an awesome bonus!

An Andean Condor sits on a rock with clouds in the background
Just to see the Andean Condors the Colca Canyon is worth visiting

4. You can go on trekking trips

If you love trekking, Valle del Canyon is worth visiting. The shortest trek would be 2 days (1 day down, 1 day up). However, you can spend as many days as you want. There are great options for trekking junkies. Most common is the 3-day trek from Cabanaconde to Sangalle to Llahuar and back to Cabanaconde.

Cacao beans next to the hiking trail with mountains in the background makes Colca Canyon worth visiting
Cacao along the trail – For the view Colca Canyon is worth visiting

5. You may find a new four-legged buddy

On your trek, you will most likely find a little fellah, who would follow you all the way. This didn’t only happen to us but to many other hikers. We called our dog Simba because he liked to stand on rocks like the lion king.

View of the green Colca Canyon with a light-brown dog standing on rock in the foreground
Simba as he gazes into the distance

Are still looking for a place to stay in Cabanaconde? Then check out my recommendations!

6. You can go on short hikes

If you are short on time or don’t want to carry your stuff on the back, you can do some short hikes from Cabanaconde. You can either visit all the viewpoints or hike to the Kallimarka Ruins (3h). If you go to Mirador Achachihua, make sure you walk a little further on the trail to Llahuar. There are stunning views within 10-20min from the viewpoint.

Green mountains with clouds and the river at the bottom of the Colca Canyon
You have to pass the river at the bottom to get to Llahuar

7. Great for self-guided trips

Whatever you plan on doing, keep in mind that you don’t need a tour guide or company like for Machu Picchu or other sights. You can get to Chivay or Cabanaconde with the local bus and hike/trek on your own.

View of the mountains and clouds make Colca Canyon worth visiting
View from the trail to Llahuar

Do you need more information about visiting Colca Canyon without a guide? Then read Then read this!

8. Not as restricted & popular as Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu gets a lot of visitors every year and it is the right choice to restrict tourism to preserve this historical site. The popularity, however, is a little bit of disappointing at the same time. Just think about it: The day you will experience Machu Picchu, which has been on your bucket list for years, you will much likely share this with 2500 other visitors. The Colca Canyon, on the other hand, has averagely 330 daily visitors. Which one sounds calmer and more relaxing?

A large bush of cacti in the foreground with massive mountains of the Colca Canyon in the back
Cacti are everywhere – Welcome to the desert

9. You can experience Peru’s culture

The small villages are still very traditional – that’s at least what I experienced. People in traditional dresses danced at the main square when we arrived in Cabanaconde. It was also carnival season, but I believe you can get to know the culture better if you stay in smaller villages like this one.

Yellow bungalows at the Llahuar lodge at Colca Canyon
The rapid river next to Llahuar Lodge in the rainy season

10. The tranquility and pure nature inside the Colca Canyon is worth visiting

Last but not least, you will find yourself in a very tranquil environment. Especially if you trek into the valley, you will be disconnected from the internet and modern life. The beauty of the landscape and nothing else than mountains and the roaring rivers – huuuhhh, I wanna go back!

Still hesitating? Let me know why! Or did I convince you to put this canyon on your bucket list? Let me know!

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Curious who writes here?

Curious who writes here?

Adventurer, digital nomad, and freedom seeker - that's me, Nate the Nomad!
In October 2016, I packed my bags in Berlin and been roaming the world with my husband ever since.
We are slow travelers, who enjoy the freedom of the location-independent life! We love to go on little adventures and to learn about new cultures everywhere we go.

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