The Cañón del Colca – the Colca Canyon

A visit to the Valley of the Condors

In southern Peru, near the town, Chivay is the Colca Canyon, after all, the second deepest gorge in Peru and almost twice as deep as the American Grand Canyon. Here, the Colca River made its way through the mountains for millions of years, forming an impressive landscape.

In the upper areas you can find the typical terrace of Peru, which is still used by the inhabitants of the Colca Valley for agriculture. But the main attraction in the Colca Canyon is undoubtedly the flying inhabitants: the Andean condors, the largest flying birds in the world, roam the valley for hours, thanks to the thermal conditions, attracting thousands of visitors.

The cross of the condor

The Colca Canyon is home to the majestic Andean condors. This species of bird in danger is up to 40 years of age and its males can reach a wingspan of more than 3 meters. The male representatives have black plumage with white and silver feathers on the top and white collar. The ladies are more delicate and only black, while the young birds, who live with their parents until they are two years old and learn all the tricks to fly, are brown.

Due to the special winds that prevail in the Colca Valley, the condors here find the perfect conditions to be carried effortlessly through the air. So the animals can travel several hundred kilometers per day and even fly to the coast more than 300 km away! But if the conditions are right, on sunny and dry days, the Andean condors appear around 8:00 a.m. in the “Cruz del Cóndor” and cross the valley for approximately two hours. The observation platforms are approximately halfway to the canyon and are about 40 km from Chivay.

On the cross of the condor, there are several platforms from which you can see the birds and, of course, take pictures. If the Andean condors are slowly circling over the canyon, you have the opportunity to take excellent photographs of the birds even without professional camera equipment. Usually, there are 10 to 15 animals, if you are lucky, there may be more with young animals.

Attention, in the cross of the condor can be quite windy. This is ideal for seeing condors, but it can be relatively good. Therefore, it is advisable to have a light jacket in your backpack.