Tour to Colca canyon – condors and views

Tour to Colca canyon – condors and views

Tour to Colca Canyon was perhaps one of the best experience I got from Peru. Colca Canyon is located about 3 hours from Arequipa. So if you are thinking about day trips, you shouldn’t miss this one. I got to see condor view, traditional dances, and incredible views on one of the deepest canyons on the planet. The views were breathtaking, I cannot recommend it enough.

Tour to Colca Canyon

Women in Inka dress
During our tour to Colca Canyon, we met these women in traditional inka dress

A little bit about the tour first. As I found out in Peru it is not necessary to book day trips like this in advance. I mean, it can be cheaper if you do, but if you don’t, you will still find a good tour. For example with the tour to Colca Canyon, I just knew I want to go there. Which is the thing I said in my hotel and the first thing they did, was offered me this tour for 70 soles with lunch. I had no reason not to trust them or not to take it. They even woke me up in the early hours to go for the bus. So if you are planning to do something like this, you can just ask your hotel, they will find something for you. However, if you are planning a trek in Colca Canyon, you might need to be more prepared than this.

First three stops

Because I’m constantly hungry, I quite appreciated that our first stop was in Chivas, where we got breakfast. It was really early in the morning, I’m pretty sure most of us were freezing, so this was a great way of how to make us feel a lot better. Chivas is something like a capital town in Colca Valley. Our stop was mainly just for food and refreshment, also to see if we all will manage this climate.

Chivas has an altitude of 3600m, which makes it one of the critical places in Peru, mainly because this is the point where you might get sick. And since this was the lowest point in the valley that we visited, it is critical that you enter this land already used to this, otherwise, you might spend the next day in the emergency room.

Markets for tourists

Tour to Colca Canyon
At one of our stops, we get to a village with a beautiful colonial church and markets all around it

Next stop was finally something for us to observe. One of the villages nearby has a little market and their traditional dance. So we stop there in 7 in the morning for about half an hour just to see them dance and have a look at what they had in the market. I have no illusion that this is what people normally do there at 7 in the morning, so I’m pretty sure that this is very much just a tourist attraction. But it is still interesting to see how different this culture is from anything that you might meet closer to the coast.

The third stop was pretty much the same. Markets full of people who came just to take something from tourists. The special thing about it was the colonial church in the village that you can visit, which was really nice. The good thing about markets is that here it is fine to bargle about prices, which I highly recommend since they are trying to make it very expensive.

Condor view

Best view
El condor pasa view was really breathtaking

Finally, after these little stops, we got to the best one. The condor view. This was also a reason, why we get off so early, according to our guide, condors are flying there mainly in the morning, so if we would get longer sleep, we might not see them. The funny thing about this is that first time I heard about it, I thought it is super of the beaten path thing with not so many tourists. Well, I was wrong before and I will be wrong again.

Condor view is actually quite full of tourists. To the point that if there is a condor flying somewhere down in the canyon, you won’t see it, because people there are making long lines and sometimes it is really hard to get to the point where you can see the birds.

Here it is important to know that the view is quite long and there are usually a lot of condors, so you will probably get lucky at some point anyway. Just count that this attraction is more popular than you might expect.

Tour to Colca Canyon and views

Tour to Colca Canyon view

I’m sure that anyone who likes mountains would enjoy this tour. The minibus we got often stoped on some views. That was a great opportunity for taking pictures or just enjoy the breathtaking nature around. Because Colca Canyon once belonged to Inka kingdom, you can still see all their plantages. Some of them are hundreds of years old and people are still using them.

Except for those, you can also see amazing peaks in the Andes. We also went to the highest point in Colca Canyon, which had about 5000m, I was already pretty sick at that point, but I got out just to see all the volcanoes all around.

But don’t just wait for the views, overall the drive in this area is amazing. On our way back, we met a herd of wild alpacas. Words of advice: they are used to beg people for food. And if you decide to go to the toilet somewhere in nature around them, they will definitely check what are you doing there.


Condor view
watching condors in Colca valley was one of my favorite experience in Peru

Is Tour to Colca Canyon just a tourist attraction? To some extent, yes. But is it still worth it? Definitely. If you are planning to do that, prepare your self for a long day in the minibus. But I’m sure that views from outside will make it all better for you.

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One Reply to “Tour to Colca canyon – condors and views”

  1. I’ve visited the Colca Canyon many years ago and still have great memories of it. It’s such a beautiful and special place. We did not see any condors flying around, so I’m glad you managed to see some. And it is a tourist attraction, but it does not matter as it’s worth a visit.

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