Among a large number of fascinating destinations in Peru, we can sometimes overlook those that are not so obvious, but that certainly have a strong potential to delight their visitors. If you’ve been researching for a while about what to do in the ancient country of the Incas, you already know how extraordinary Peruvian lands can be!
Among these destinations, which are mostly small towns in regions that still keep, maintain, and practice much of their traditional culture, is the Colca Valley, where it is possible to visit a canyon of the same name and the village of Chivay. To visit this region of South America is to embark on a historical journey through which we will discover the strength and resistance of the people who inhabit it.
At Colca Canyon it is possible to observe up close one of the most emblematic figures of Peruvian culture and history in one of the deepest canyons in the world, in addition, those who visit the Chivay region will get to know a place that has undergone dominations throughout the period. of Spanish colonization and that, even so, managed to maintain its ancestral customs.
In general, this region is visited by tourists quickly, but do not think that this is a sign that it is not worth it, as we are dealing with a surprising destination, in addition, it is still possible to make a journey to other nearby destinations that you will want to know.
Are you ready to learn more about the Colca and Chivay region? So, read on and explore yet another Peruvian destination before you even leave your home to travel!
The Geography of Chivay
About 180 km north of plaza de armas de Arequipa is the province of Chivay. This place is located in a region of the Andean plateau that has climatic characteristics where the winter is very cold and dry, while the summer is quite rainy.
This region is located at more than 3,600 meters above sea level, being a trip that can generate some discomfort for people who are not properly acclimatized to the altitude of some destinations in Peru.
For those interested in knowing the Colca Valley, it is worth mentioning that it is above Chivay, that is, there will be a need to deal with even more altitude ahead, so it is important to remember what are the best ways to deal with evil. altitude to make the most of the travel experience without letting discomfort get in the way.
Arriving at the main local attraction, it is also in this valley where you will find one of the largest canyons in the world, the Colca Canyon. This destination receives around 300,000 tourists a year, making it one of the most visited in the country, demonstrating that getting to know it is a great opportunity to appreciate one of the most impressive natural wonders in Peru.
Besides, as we said earlier, a visit to this region can be used to discover other destinations around it, depending on the journey and the time available to travel. Some closer examples, besides Arequipa, are the Nazca region, which is about 680 km from Chivay, and Puno, home to Lake Titicaca, which is at a distance of approximately 298 km.
Discovering “El Cañón del Colca”
Colca Canyon is a place of great relevance not only for Peru but for the whole world since it is a work of nature that has unique characteristics that need to be valued. As already mentioned, it is one of the deepest canyons in the world, even ahead of the famous Grand Canyon, located in the United States.
Its importance is so evident that the site received recognition as a Global Geopark by UNESCO in 2019 since in addition to being one of the largest existing geological formations of this type, it also has other geological and historical factors that are important for the entire planet.
This canyon is about 4,160 meters deep and extends over 100 km through the Colca Valley region. In biological and biodiverse terms, this site is also home to a considerable number of species of fauna and flora, with approximately 231 species of animals and 300 species of plants.
Historically, the Colca Canyon region was inhabited by civilizations pre Inca appeared history. These cultures, which are believed to have developed between 5,000 and 6,000 BC, were of extreme relevance to paving the way for other successor peoples, as they were responsible, much later (around 200 and 600 AC), for the process of tame of animals and also for developing agricultural techniques, such as the use of ‘colcas’ to preserve food.
In general, with this information alone, we can already see that visiting the Colca Canyon is an unmissable tour of the ancient country of the Incas. And how about discovering what are the attractions to visit in this region? Keep reading and find out more.
Deep as the grand?
If you are interested in Colca Canyon and are thinking about adding it to your travel journey, here are some tips on what to visit while in the Chivay region and, more specifically, in this giant canyon. And for more information, check out our guide to the Colca Canyon!
Cruz del Cóndor
Called Mirador de Condor, this is a viewpoint located at one of the highest points of the Colca Canyon, which guarantees views of the fascinating scenery of this giant and, in addition, allows the observation of an emblematic bird in the history of Peru, the Condor. Andean, which is the factor that most attracts visitors to this point.
The star of appreciation at the Cruz del Condor viewpoint is the third-largest species of bird in the world, with a wingspan from wing to wing of up to 3 meters in length. The Condor usually makes its flights in the morning, between 9 am and 11 am, which is the recommended time to visit the attraction and see it up close.
This natural viewpoint also allows you to appreciate the nuances created by nature, between the aridity of the region, the rocks covered with vegetation, and also the silhouette of the river that originated this immense canyon. Added to this, on the horizon, it is also possible to see some of the snowy mountains that surround the region, among them is the Misti volcano, for example, which guards the White City of Arequipa.
Cultural significance of the Andean Condor
You must be wondering why the Andean Condor is such an important bird for Peru, here we will explain a little about it because, in addition to the biological characteristics that make this bird so fascinating, it represents much more for the Peruvian people.
Thus, historically the Andean Condor has a very intrinsic relationship with mysticism, as many legends say that this animal was witness to many events and births of civilizations that were important for the construction of Peruvian lands.
The Incas, without a doubt, were the biggest admirers of this bird, which received a tribute, including within the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, with a temple dedicated only to this bird, which was considered a deity for this people.
In addition, for the Andean people, the main deities that took care of the world formed a trinity, in which the puma represented the earth, the snake represented the world of the dead and the condor represented the sky, and until the present day, this bird continues to be part of some of Peru’s festivities.
But if you want to relax amid so many adventures, we also recommend visiting the hot springs of the Colca Valley, which are located about 3 km from the small villages of Chivay. In general, these waters not only help to relax but can also have therapeutic effects with the heat of up to 38ºC of their waters and also due to their mineral composition.
Colca Canyon trek is unmissable! If you want to have another point of view on life and cultural experiences in Peru, be sure to discover our packages for your trip to Peru and get inspired to build your next vacation trip with Viagens Machu Picchu. If you prefer, you can also contact our experts and we will together create the perfect trip for you, tailor-made and according to your interests!