Our wake-up call was bright and early at 5 am next day, to give us enough time to see the canyon. Colca canyon is the deepest canyon in South America and the second deepest in the world! One of its attractive features are the condors, bird with an incredibly long wingspan and ones that were equally as important in Inca culture and traditions. The Andean Condor is a symbol of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador and is currently an endangered species. One of the best places to view the condor is in Colca Canyon. The condor is one of the animals that the Incas used to worship, along with the puma and the snake. Not only is it an important symbol of past history, but today it is an attractive feature that draws audiences from all over the world.
We saw at least 10 condors that day, so the rumors are true! They are majestic birds and it’s almost soothing tilting your head back and watching them gracefully swoop up and down the depths of the canyon. Vendors of artisanal crafts are everywhere in Peru and can be found at the entrance of the Colca Canyon viewpoint as well. One such vendor and musician stood out to me. He was blind and was playing beautiful Peruvian music on his guitar. He also sold jewelry and hand-carved pipes! I bought the pipes to support him and his incredible talent 🙂
When most tourists visit Peru, they hear much about various Inca ruins aside from Machu Picchu, but Peru has years of history and the existence of civilizations even before the Incas established theirs. This period is known as the pre-Colombian period and remains of their civilization can be found throughout cities like Cuzco but also in Colca canyon.
Want to go to Arequipa to visit Colca canyon and see the majestic Andean Condors in flight? Here are some tips!
Booking the 2-day tour: My best piece of advice is to ask multiple tour agencies for prices. I asked at least 5 different companies before I settled on EcoManu. It only takes a few extra minutes to ask around and can save a ton of money!
Approximate cost: $110-120 USD
– 1 night stay in hostel
– 2 lunches & 1 breakfast (we had to pay for dinner on the first night with the show)
– Guided tour with English/Spanish speaking guide
– Entrance to Colca Canyon (usually $20 if you’re not from South America)
– Transportation from Cuzco to Arequipa (10 hour bus ride)
* Thermal baths are optional but highly recommended! They cost ~$5 USD*
If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments below!