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Colca Canyon Overview

The Colca Canyon is located north of the city of Arequipa, at 180 km from it, between the Coropuna (6425m) and Ampato (6325m) volcanoes. Over this valley, the erosion from the river creates a canyon of about 70 km length, being the deepest of the world, 3000m. The Colca Valley was used to be called the Valley of the Collaguas which is formed by the river of the same name. Collaguas river is formed by two rivers called Majes and Camana.

Pre-Incas and Incas inhabitants of this valley used deposits known as "collcas" to store grain. The valley took its name as a result of the great number of these collcas. Lots of these collcas can be visited and one of the most important to visit is the Pumunuta collca, which is located in a frozen cave.

In the mirador "Cruz del Condor" (3320m) located among Maca and Cabanaconde's town you can see the deepest part of the canyon, and it is very common to see Andean Condors in majestic flight.

On October 13th, 1995, John Reinhard and Antonio Chavez from the Catholic University of Arequipa discovered, in the peak of the Ampato Mountain, three mummies very well conserved because of the freezing temperature, they thought it were Inca's sacrifices. The principal mummy was a maid, called "Juanita", but they changed the name into "La Dama de Ampato", you can visit it now at the Museum inside of this university. (See the history in National Geographic)