Located about 100 miles northwest of Arequipa, Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River. Its main claim to fame is being touted as the “world’s deepest canyon,” with a depth of 13,650 feet. Colca Canyon can be explored in many ways, like hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and rafting. Not only is this vibrant Andean valley great for adventure-enthusiasts, it also offers pre-Incan history and is still home to Collagua and the Cabana cultures, who still retain their heritage from 800 BC. Visitors can find archaeological sites such as the caves of Mollepunko above Callalli, where 6,000-year-old rock art shows the domestication of the alpaca. There are also ruins of pre-Hispanic settlements throughout the valley, as well as Chimpa, a pre-Inca fortress where you can see hanging tombs. Adventure, heritage and the ability to easily spot Andean condors make this Peru’s third most popular tourist attraction.
To reach Colca Canyon from Arequipa, catch a bus to Chivay or Cabanaconde on either end of the canyon. Chivay is the more popular choice, as it is home to relaxing hot springs. From here, you can easily access the canyon.