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Colca Canyon

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Colca Canyon

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  • An overlook of the Colca Valley. With a depth of 3,270 meters (10,730 ft), it is one of the deepest in the world. The Colca Valley is a colorful Andean valley with pre-Inca roots and towns founded in Spanish colonial times.- Colca Canyon
  • The local people sell their own woven clothing and some crafts and souvenirs with designs of the culture of Peru. - Colca Canyon
  • Condor Cross is the place with the highest chance to watch the condors. As the birds soar past the canyon walls, the lookout point also offers breathtaking views down into the depths of the canyons.- Colca Canyon
  • The canyon is home to the Andean condor, a species that has been the focus of worldwide conservation efforts. The condors can be seen at close range as they fly past the canyon walls and are a popular attraction.- Colca Canyon
  • Another amazing viewpoint from the other side of the Colca River, where you can see the trailhead to the Sangalle Oasis.- Colca Canyon
  • The backpacker resort village of Sangalle as seen from the trail that descends steeply to it.- Colca Canyon
  • The finale of the trek. There are many hostels where you can stay the last night and chill out in the pool. - Colca Canyon
  • At the hostel, enjoy the swimming pool to start the last day of trekking right.- Colca Canyon
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great View. Moderate Hike. Small stores to buy snacks and water. Swimming in an oasis.
Cons: 
High altitude.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Number of days: 
3
Highest point: 
13,648.29 ft (4,160.00 m)
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Permit required: 
No
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Horseback
Total Distance: 
13.98 mi (22.50 km)
Total elevation gain: 
3,674.54 ft (1,120.00 m)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
10,761.15 ft (3,280.00 m)
Typically multi-day: 
Yes
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

With a depth of 4,160 meters (13,648 ft), Colca Canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru is one of the deepest in the world, more than twice the depth of the Grand Canyon. There are many routes into the canyon available to backpackers, and trekking the route is possible in two or three days. Three days is recommended for those who do not have hiking experience. If needed, hikers have the option of taking a horse in and out of the canyon.

Food is very basic but good. Most family houses and bungalows in Sangalle (Oasis) have set menus and vegetarian options. Their prices vary between 10 to 15 soles (USD $2.99 to $4.48). Every family house or bungalow has a little shop where hikers can buy water, beer, and snacks. It's easy to find good water resources in Colca Canyon, but water from any source must be purified; bring tablets or buy them in Arequipa. Most of the family houses have a source of fresh water, but even these require purification. Also, there are little shops to buy mineral water, though it is expensive. For hikers willing to pay the price, carry less water and refuel in villages along the way. Also, it's recommended to bring all your plastic bottles back to Cabanaconde. Locals burn the plastic, and it is not good for the environment.

Colca Canyon is remote and rustic. Many items are unavailable once on the trail. The most important of these must be carried in:

  • Swimsuit for the pool in Sangalle Oasis
  • Cash; vendors and hostels don't accept credit cards and there is no ATM
  • Flashlight (electricity is hit or miss during the night)
  • Sunscreen and hat (some days the weather is very hot)
  • Binoculars (to see the condors close up)

It is easy to find a place to sleep while trekking in Colca Canyon, but during high season (May through September), book in advance. It is not necessary to bring a tent. The family homestays in Colca Canyon offer basic accommodations, share toilets, and showers for a cheap price. Amenities here are basic. Modern accommodations are not found in Colca Canyon, so do not expect it.The Colca Canyon area is drier and hotter than other parts of Peru. The rainy season, such as it is, lasts approximately from December to March, with February being the wettest. During the rainy season, there is a possibility of flash floods and landslides. The rest of the year, the canyon is dry and hot, though temperatures drop dramatically at night. The best period to visit Colca Canyon is April through June.

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