- Encounters with locals
- Hiking / Trekking
The numerous terraces cut into the Colca Valley are part of a pre-Incan system of agriculture that's still in use today by the region's Andean communities. Along the road leading to Cabanaconde – the small village where the canyon adventure really begins – I encountered several communities worth stopping off at.
The descent down to the bottom of Colca is quite steep and demanding. This is the world's second deepest canyon. When I visited, I fully arranged everything so that I could spend the night there. You can actually camp right at the bottom of the gorge, or you can rent a very simple, though sufficiently comfortable, room. The next day, after a restful night far from civilisation, I tackled the climb back up to the top. Don't forget your water bottle! I personally found myself short of water after just one hour's walking, and that with a blazing sun beating down too. It's an experience that's guaranteed to leave you with unforgettable memories, though perhaps not for the right reasons!
Colca Canyon is one of Peru's most popular destinations. However, there is something a little sinister about the place for many Peruvians, with it having been the site of several disappearances. One such case received a great deal of media attention and even served as the inspiration for a telenovela (a serial television drama) that was shown across the whole country.
It is 01:55am and I am leaving for 2 days of hiking at the bottom of the Canyon de Colca. A highlight of my trip to Peru. Let's go together.
After the first stop at Cruz del Condor to admire the majestic flight of the condors, the hike begins. With a depth of 3,400m, this canyon is the second deepest in the world. The deepest is actually its close cousin, the Cotohuasi. The landscapes are superb. A river snakes along at the bottom of this enclosed valley. The hike continues, surrounded by mountains, and it is magnificent.
I wake up the next day at 04:30am. The night walk begins at this time to be able to see the sun rise over the canyon. Three hours of walking begin, all uphill. It's tough, but magical when the sun's rays finally decide to appear and drench the canyon in their light. The effect is otherworldly, and all fatigue is instantly forgotten.