Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
Guided tours
Yes
ADA accessible
No
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Condors live throughout the Andes Mountains of South America, but they are not common everywhere. Condor Cross Overlook (Mirador Cruz del Condor in Spanish) is one of the best places to see them, and it also happens to be a spectacular viewpoint of Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world. From a single spot, you can witness two of the planet's most impressively sized creations: the canyon and the condors.

The Andean condor is the world's largest flying bird with a maximum wingspan of more than 10 feet and weight of more than 30 pounds. They are essentially oversized vultures, but they have a truly majestic appearance in flight. They glide effortlessly, hardly ever flapping their wings, with wingtip feathers splayed out like fingers and upturned at the ends. The adults are jet black with white accents on the wings and a white collar beneath their bald neck and head.

The birds fly surprisingly close to the overlook despite the crowds that gather, and you may see as many as 10 at a time. They often swoop very low as if they are purposely showing off for spectators. This allows you to really appreciate their size and grace and capture stunning photos. The condors seem to like this spot because of particularly good thermals rising from the canyon, which give the birds effortless lift without flapping their wings. They likely have nest spots nearby as well, evidenced by the many young birds commonly seen. The juveniles are uniformly brown in color, less attractive than the adults but still large in size and fascinating to watch.

Condors can be seen at Condor Cross nearly every day of the year, but typically only between 7 and 10 a.m. This is when temperatures are ideal for flying on the thermals. Later in the day, they move elsewhere or retreat to roost in the cliffs. Because this spot is so scenic and reliable for seeing the birds, it is extremely popular. Any organized tour of Colca Canyon stops here in the morning, so it gets swamped with tourists. The crowds typically concentrate around the uppermost viewpoint, where the namesake stone cross stands. There are other viewpoints and paths, however, so you can walk a short distance to gain a little more breathing room.

Condor Cross is right along the road between Chivay and Cabanaconde, the two main gateway towns to Colca Canyon. A guided tour of the canyon will certainly take you there, but you can also visit on your own.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Andean condors. View of Colca Canyon.

Cons

Crowds. Short time window to see condors.

Pets allowed

Allowed with Restrictions

Features

Family friendly
Guided tours
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Attraction

Location

Field Guide

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