Arequipa. Jul. 26 (ANDINA). To visit the Colca Canyon in Peru is to discover a land of superlatives: the second deepest canyon on the planet. it's home to the magnificent Andean condor. a New World vulture with the largest wingspan of any land bird. and one of the world's longest living birds. said Hello magazine.
From Arequipa. the road to the Colca Canyon is a real roller-coaster ride complete with potholes. but offers breathtaking views at every point. says an article entitled ‘Colca Canyon: where the condor flies.’
The route is watched over by volcanoes that rise to over 6.000 metres and flanked by lunar-style landscapes where alpaca and vicuna roam. the latter animals being the source of the world's softest and most expensive wool.
As described in an article at hellomagazine.com. the valley is adorned on both sides by zigzag routes that once were followed by the caravans of llamas crossing between the Altiplano - the high plains - and the Pacific.
It is dotted with colonial churches built after the arrival of the Spanish by Dominicans and Franciscans in key towns as Chivay. Yanque. Maca. Pinchillo. Cabanaconde. Lari and Coporaque; ancient barns continue to be used to store the crops that still grow on farming terraces built long ago by the Incas.
It's also dotted with primitive adobe villages are overlooked by the snowy peaks of the volcanoes Hualca Hualca and Ampato. and markets are held where Collagua and Cabana women. clearly identifiable by their colourful costumes and hats. sell handcrafts and fabrics of their own making.
But the most striking thing about the valley is the stunning landscape. here. where the land is cleft dramatically in two. resulting in the second deepest gorge on earth. over four thousand metres. more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.
Lords and masters of the Colca Canyon are the condors; these huge creatures can weigh up to twelve kilos and their wingspan reaches over three metres wide.
They nest in the red rocky walls of the canyon and use the thermal currents that flow from the gorge to rise high in the skies. often gliding for long periods without a single movement of their vast wings.
Hello's article also provides practical tips for travelers. as well as unique stories and notes from the road.