Colca Canyon

The Colca river begins high in the Andes, and drops down to the Pacific in stages, changing its name to Majes and then Camana as is goes.  Where it runs between the tiny mountain villages of Chivay to Cabanaconde is a deep canyon known as the Colca Canyon.This Canyon is reportedly the deepest in the world, thought to be twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the USA.  Unlike most of the Grand Canyon, portions of the Colca Canyon are habitable , with pre-Colombian terraced fields still supporting agriculture and human life. What brings increasingly more visitors each year, in additions to the awesome sights, are the Andean condors. The condor population of South America is unfortunately dwindling, but here in Colca Canyon, visitors can see them at fairly close range as they float on the rising thermals and scan for carrion far below them, as these photos of condors in flight demonstrate. The river and valley were well-known to the Incas and their predecessors, and the Spaniards laid out township along the valley, no doubt planning to use Rio Colca valley as the route to Cuzco and other Andean locations.  One of the attractions to visitors is a glimpse into a way of life that has endured in isolation for centuries.