Machu Picchu is doubtless the most famous place in Peru. However, the country has way more to offer for the adventurous traveller like the Colca Canyon Trek.
Peru is a great country for the adventurous traveller. The first thing that might come to your mind is machu pichu and the inca trail.
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However, it is so popular that a limited number of people are allowed in and the famous Inca trail needs to be booked months in advance. Luckily, Peru has plenty of alternative adventures such as the Arequipa Colca Canyon Trek.
The colca canyon is a region near Arequipa that holds a number of adventurous activities. Think about ziplining, watching the worlds biggest birds fly over and exploring traditional life in remote mountain communities.
The best way to get to know the colca canyon is doing the adventurous colca canyon trek.
The colca canyon is twice as deep as the grand canyon. This gives you some idea of the challenging hike that awaits you.
The start of the trek is a steep descent into the canyon and you will soon learn that going down is actually much harder than going up. Not that the thought that, whatever you walk down, you have to walk up again, can be discouraging at times.
But the amazing views will make you forget your sore muscles. This is where desert, volcanic rocks and high mountains meet each other creating spectacular and diverse landscapes.
The colca canyon trek is worth every step you take. Even though it can be done in 2 days I would recommend to spend at least 3 days in the canyon if not longer.
The bottom of the canyon is home to several traditional villages. The Collagua people have an ancient culture that predates not only the Spanish, but also the Inca’s.
In the Colca canyon it is easy to recognize the Collagua woman by their colourful dresses. One of their crafts is wool spinning and the knitten items for sale make a great souvenir.
To learn more about their culture it is possible to sleep in a homestay and enjoy local food and hospitality.
But it’s not only culture you get to experience in the Colca Canyon. The main draw still is the nature around you.
Look above you and you might see the Andean Condor, the biggest bird in the world. The colca canyon is in fact an excellent place to go birdwatching with a variety of bird species including hummingbirds, hawks and eagles. Besides birds there are wild cats, deers and foxes.
Nature can sometimes get too close here. Most of what you see is volcanic rock and the area is earthquake prone. Tremors are common, but severe damage remains rare.
The colca canyon’s volcanic origins are still visible in the presence of several hot springs. The excellent way to relax your body from the tiring trek.
The trek will end with a steep climb out of the canyon, but you will carry lots of new memories and experiences with you. In the end you will be rewarded with some final beautiful views on the mountain tops surrounding the canyon.
This is where your colca canyon adventure ends and where you can travel to other destinations in Peru where new adventures are waiting for you.
Written by Ellis from Backpack Adventures