Three kilometres deep, Colca Canyon is the deepest canyon in the Americas and is twice as deep as its famous northerly counterpart, the Grand Canyon.
High up in the Andes, the views from the top are breath-taking and often include sightings of condors, gliding on the warm air of the thermal currents.
Accessed via Arequipa or Puno through the fertile valleys, some areas of Colca Canyon are habitable by both wildlife and humans, making visits here remarkably different to those to the Grand Canyon.
The route up to Colca includes stops at traditional villages and pre-Columbian terraced fields which still provide agricultural land for the small groups of people that call the region home.
Although the population of the Andean condor is sadly dwindling, sightings of the bird are still frequent, and the verdant land provides a home to other fascinating wildlife including llamas and vicuñas.
Most lodges in Colca Canyon are a short drive to the Mirador viewing platform, providing some of the best views in the Andes.
Staying close to the viewing point is a convenient option for an easy morning excursion to admire the sun rising over the canyon’s steep sides, and for the best early vantage point for watching the enormous condors soaring through the impressive landscape. Creature comforts come in the form of the nearby hot springs, ideal for a spot of relaxation after an excursion horse-riding around the canyon.
After an early start spotting condors, the main town of Chivay is an ideal place to visit in the afternoon and is home to popular thermal springs.
Visit Colca Canyon by train on board the new Belmond Andean Explore, connecting Arequipa to Cuzco via the canyon and Lake Titicaca.
The fully-inclusive sleeper train journey travels along one of the highest rail routes in the world, reaching an altitude of up to 4,800 metres in a sleek train with an observation car and library on board.