The Colca Canyon starts125 miles or 200km and five hours by bus from Arequipa, Peru’s second largest city.
It’s a draw card for visitors for its unique beauty and for its preservation of a distinct Andean culture.
It’s also one of the deepest canyons in the world.
Pre-Inca terraces climb up the steep canyon walls, enormous cactus farms support the cochineal insect, used to made red dyes, and indigenous women show off their colorful dresses and beautifully embroidered hats at stalls and markets along the ridgeline.
Treks can also be made into the depths of the Canyon, with zigzagging paths linking small isolated towns that cling to the hillsides, and following the mountain rivers that converge on an oasis at the base of the gorge. The canyon is also famous for the giant condors that soar overhead from their perches hidden in the cliff face.