Colca Canyon – Condors and Natives
Blog post by Gary
My wife Malka and I have recently returned from a trip to the Colca Canyon area of Peru and I felt like sharing some of our experiences and knowledge of this lovely area with you all.
Colca Canyon is the second deepest canyon in the world and is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the US. The deepest canyon is said to be the Cotahuasi which is actually next door to Colca! The main attraction for our clients visiting this area is the ease with which they can see the largest land-living bird, the Andean Condor. Each morning during the dry season the Condor Cross viewpoint is visited by hundreds of tourists eager to see the spectacle of often half-a-dozen or more condors swooping on morning thermals.
I personally have been very lucky in that many times I have seen more than 10 of these majestic birds flying around, but be aware that at other times you may only see a couple of them, you cant get nature to order of course but this place is the most accessible point in Peru to view the birds.
Malka and I were taking it easy while we were there and I had a break from the office but we did re-visit and stay at some of the hotels we use for our clients, not just as somewhere to stay but also to re-check the standards and services of each hotel. For value for money our favorite is the Colca Lodge. The awkward transfer to this hotel is more than made up for by the comfortable rooms, great spa and the best feature, their own hot springs right in the hotel grounds. It is a real pleasure to wander down to the pools in the cold evening air in your fluffy robe and slippers, immerse yourself in the soothing hot water with spectacular views of the valley and stars, and enjoy a cocktail before dinner. A great experience which we recommend to all our clients.
For those looking for luxury however the Casitas de Colca is a superb, high-end pampering experience. This Orient Express property is simply sublime with guest having their own houses to stay in, each one with a sumptuous level of comfort and facilities. If you want to splurge on luxury this is the place, have a look at my video of the room we were in with its own private outdoor hot pool.
The little villages in the Colca valley are fascinating too, many still cling to age-old traditions and the rivalry between the two sides of the valley and canyon are still evident in the hats that the women wear. The two cultures, the Collaguas and the Cabanas, have different styles of hats, one being more of a cap style and the other with a wider round brim. The women always wear them, and not just for the tourists. As you walk arounf the villages you will see what rural people have done for hundreds of years, in many areas of the Colca valley life continues in much the same way as it always has.
This is a beauftiful place that the majority of visitors to Peru dont get chance to see, if you have the time in your itinerary i highly recommend it and as you can see, its not all about the condors!