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Colca Canyon, Peru

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Where condors soar


The spectacular canyon country around the city of Arequipa – a UNESCO World Heritage-listed gem home to Spanish churches, stately mansions and volcanic sillar-white stonework – is one of high altitude deserts and sweeping terraced valleys.

Colca Canyon

Plunging more than 3,000 metres from the cactus-studded desert near Arequipa, this spectacular river canyon is the second-deepest on earth. But, it's not just its scale that impresses. Along its 100 kilometre length, the changes in landscape are just as awe-inspiring, ranging from barren rocks and steppes to terraced farmlands peppered with tiny villages and grazing llamas. And, high above, condors soar on thermal currents. Giant birds of prey with two-metre wingspans, they're best seen from the popular viewpoint at Cruz del Condor, some 1,500 metres above the canyon floor.    


Peru's second city is tiny compared to the Lima. And, that's no bad thing. There's no wasted space here, with everything from the grand colonial masterpieces of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre, all carved from white volcanic sillar stone, to a full spread of superb restaurants – think everything from high-end dining to locals' favourite picantería eateries – crammed into a space ten times smaller than the sprawling capital. Of particular note is the main cathedral, one of Peru's most impressive Spanish-era buildings, set against the backdrop of the conical El Misti volcano.


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Top itineraries in Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Huillos, Sacred Valley, Peru

The Best of Peru: Colca Canyon, Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca

14-day tailor-made holiday from £5,140 pp incl. flights

Explore the very best of Peru, from Lima to Arequipa, the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca. Then, head to the Andes to explore the ancient sites of Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley.

Belmond Andean Explorer

Luxury Peru by Rail with Belmond

13-day tailor-made rail journey from £8,870 pp incl. flights

With luxurious accommodation, exclusive tours and a trip aboard the continent’s most luxurious train, this itinerary showcases the very best of Peru, from its Incan treasures to its spectacular natural world.

Top places to stay in Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Colca Lodge, Colca

Colca Lodge, Colca

Contemporary lodge

The natural beauty of the Colca Valley is complemented by the rustic luxury of this garden-ringed retreat.

Belmond Las Casitas

Belmond Las Casitas, Colca Canyon

Contemporary lodge

This Belmond hotel is Peru at its traditional, and luxurious, best. Stay in a stylish stone cottage where rustic charm is married with private pools and designer four-poster beds just a stone's throw from spectacular Colca Canyon.

Suite, Casa Andina Premium Arequipa, Arequipa

Casa Andina Premium Arequipa

Historic hotel

Housed in a historic, 18th century building, this is one of Arequipa’s finest hotels. Expect characterful rooms, traditional dining and a delightful spa, all on the doorstep of the city's UNESCO World Heritage-listed centre.

Cirqa Hotel Arequipa Peru - Bovedo Room

Cirqa, Arequipa

Contemporary hotel

A luxurious, minimalist enclave in the heart of Arequipa, Peru. Partly made of volcanic sillar rock, this stunning hotel is an architectural masterpiece.

Where to go in Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon is an area of outstanding beauty. Once thought to be the deepest canyon on earth - that accolade now goes to nearby Cotahuasi Canyon - visitors now flock here to witness giant Andean condors gliding on rising thermals.


The colonial ‘White City' of Arequipa stands in stark contrast to the harsh surrounding landscapes.

Arequipa & Colca Canyon articles

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