Colca Canyon Arequipa
Colca Canyon is one of the deepest canyons in the world, Colca Canyon is the canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. It is located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) northwest of Arequipa
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, Four hours north of Arequipa lies the impressive Colca Valley. The road to the valley crosses the lower slopes of Mount Chachani and runs along plains studded with ichu and yareta (plants used for fuel) and which are home to alpacas and vizcacha rodents.
The road crosses a high point of 4,350 meters before dropping down to the valley, an area of breath-taking landscapes surrounded by terracing and snow-capped peaks. Far below, at a depth of 3,400 meters, the Colca River winds along the bottom of the canyon, one of the world's deepest.
The valley features archaeological remains left behind by the Collagua, the ancient inhabitants of the area. These include cave paintings and grain storerooms known as colcas. There are 14 towns based on both riverbanks, towns which were founded in the sixteenth century to settle the Collagua natives who were scattered around the area.
Despite the ravages of time, the towns have preserved their original characteristics, such as the outline of their streets, their richly-decorated colonial churches and traditional festivals. The area stands out for the superb regional arts and crafts such as carpets and embroidered clothing (like the skirts and blouses worn by the local women), which feature colorful designs, as well as items that have been sculpted and embossed in tin. Other folk art includes statuettes such as San Isidro el Labrador, plus candles and wooden sculptures.
A Some 40 km from Chivay, the first of the towns along the way, stands a superb natural lookout point from where one can watch the condors wheeling over the valley, while in the distance one can spot the Coropuna and Ampato volcanoes. Several towns in the valley provide lodging, but one can also camp out and go trekking. The area is ideal for adventure sports.