Very close to Arequipa, you can enjoy one of the most imposing and amazing landscapes in the world, The Colca Canyon. The Canyon is one of the most beautiful landscapes that the Andean country boasts and is also home to the Andean Condor, one of the native condors of the mountains of South America. The condor can be seen throughout the continent, but still one of the best places to appreciate it is in Peru. The entire Colca region is an attraction in itself, known for its amazing landscapes, history, local culture, and the beautiful native condor that flies in its skies. For this reason, together with Machu Travel Peru, we want to tell you everything about the Colca Canyon Condors and how to appreciate them on one of the many tours that go through the Valley.
Everything you need to know about the Colca Canyon Condors
- The Andean Condor
- Innate Flyer
- Legend of the Condor
- Where to see the condors?
- When to see them?
- Other activities to enjoy
THE ANDEAN CONDOR
The numerous Colca Canyon Condors inhabiting the Valley, today are in great danger of extinction. The Andean Condor has been the focus of several international conservation projects. And that is because we are talking about one of the largest land flying birds in the world. The Condor has an average measurement of 1.3 meters (4.2 feet) and can weigh up to 15 kilograms (33 pounds). Being so large, these animals need environments with strong winds to be able to stay in the air. And the Colca Canyon is home to strong increasing winds, making it a perfect home for the bird. The Condor takes advantage of the windy region to fly at will. And all within this imposing and magical corner of the Andean country.
Within the hollow spaces of the canyon walls, is where the nests of the colony of more than one hundred Colca Canyon Condors live. And these from early in the morning begin to spread their wings and begin their majestic flight over the Canyon in search of food. It is this ceremony that attracts thousands of tourists to the place in order to appreciate one of the most beautiful animals in Peru.
The Colca Canyon Condors take advantage of the different currents of hot air to be able to launch themselves into flight over the canyon walls. Besides, they take advantage of the temperatures of the currents to build their different nests. When they are in flight is when they begin to look for their carrion objectives. The Colca Canyon Condors are carrion animals, so on their flight, they are in search of their next objectives. And because they are able to take advantage of the currents they can take full advantage of their extraordinary vision. And the Andean Condor is one of the largest birds, with an average weight of 12 kilograms and a wingspan of about 3 meters. What makes this animal a truly imposing and terrifying being. But despite that, they are not usually game animals, but rather carrion.
And to all this, you have to add their armored and sharp beaks. These are capable of breaking both bones and really hard tissues. And as if that were enough, the condor has large claws that help destroy the carrion. But despite their qualities, they are not hunting animals, rather they feed on remains and corpses. This animal is a great example of the great biodiversity in Peru.
LEGEND OF THE CONDOR
The Colca Canyon Condors are brimming with numerous legends that come from ancient Inca traditions. And one of the most popular myths tells of his rebirth and death in general. This legend assures that the Andean Condor, also known as King of the Andes when it ages it plunges to its death. This act for many symbolizes the cycle of life itself. Despite being a somewhat self-destructive legend, it makes us see reality itself. Besides, the Andean Condor is usually a solitary bird with a monogamous nature. And since numerous previous years, it has been hunted so indiscriminately because of its supposed medicinal qualities and therapeutic powers. This is not to mention the nutritional value of its meat. This reasoning and arguments explain why the condor is in danger of extinction.
In fact, that the Andean Condor decides to end its own life has turned it into a true mythological animal for the different cultures that inhabited the place. For both the Incas, Collaguas, and Cabanas it was an animal of great spiritual importance. And by way of illustration, you can find in Machu Picchu a temple in honor of this animal. Known as the Temple of the Condor, this temple has a certain resemblance to the animal. Since the rocks that are in the place were carved to resemble the wings of the animal. So you will find many options to enjoy. Being able to visit the Temple of the Condor is a wonderful opportunity to explore tourism in Peru.
WHERE TO SEE THE CONDORS?
So, Where can you see condors in Peru? Within the Colca Valley, there are a few beautiful places to appreciate the Colca Canyon Condors. All these places are appreciated within any tour or tour within the Valley. Thus, making it difficult to miss the majestic flight of the King of the Andes. But the Colca Canyon is not the only place to spot this wonderful animal. It is also usually seen in coastal regions such as Paracas, an incredible alternative.
- Canocota Canyon: The Canocota Canyon is not as well known. Besides, it is not that deep, but it is still full of local flora and fauna. Among its many animals, you can have the opportunity to see the mara rabbit, the great Andean rabbit, or the beautiful Andean Condor.
- Chimpa Madrigal Fortress: This ancient pre-Inca military site is located high in the Colca Valley (at about 4,412 meters). It is usually a fairly famous hike within the Colca Canyon tour. To get to it, it is necessary to do a fairly steep trek but of moderate difficulty. Although there is also horseback riding options to it. Thanks to the height you will be able to witness a panoramic view of the Valley. And hopefully, appreciate the Andean Condor in flight.
- Mirador Cruz del Cóndor: If you are going to visit Colca Canyon, the Mirador is one of its main points to enjoy the sighting of condors. This observation point is the central location where tourists look for the majestic birds in the skies. It is also a great spot to acknowledge the depth of the Canyon. While you wait for the arrival of the Condors you can enjoy the wonderful scenes of the surrounding landscapes. But what makes Colca Canyon Special? What makes this canyon special is its different landscapes. Also, the fact that it is the refuge of the Colca Canyon Condors.
- Apurímac Canyon: This famous tour is another wonderful place to see the Andean Condor. This forms a fairly popular walking tour and is not far from Cusco. If you are looking to enjoy this tour, you will start in the town of Chonta. The town is located approximately two hours away. One of the best places to enjoy trekking in Peru.
WHEN TO SEE THEM?
As with any bird or wildlife sighting, it is not always guaranteed. And this also applies to the sighting of the Colca Canyon Condors. But we can still give you some interesting tips about the right time to try and appreciate them. In general, there is a greater probability of seeing condors during the dry season of Peru (April to November). But even so, this does not mean that during the rainy season (December to March) you cannot see the Andean Condor in flight.We also recommend visiting the Colca Hot Springs. Especially after a hard day touring the Valley.
The Condor can be seen throughout the year. But it must be borne in mind that the most important thing to see the Condor is not the season or the weather, but the time of day. There are specific times when the Andean Condor leaves its nest. And that is why a great majority of tours, hikes, and visits to the Canyon are usually scheduled in the morning. Although visiting in the afternoon can be beneficial to avoid the big crowds.
Birds are usually seen flying in the morning around 8 a.m. at 10 a.m. and also in the late afternoon between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.Similarly, you can never predict when they will leave their nests or how close they are flying. But, by general testimonies, the morning is usually the best time to appreciate the birds. Being able to see the Condor is one of the best things to do in Arequipa and its surroundings.
OTHER ACTIVITIES TO ENJOY
Similarly, being able to appreciate in flight the native birds of Peru is not the only activity to undertake within the Colca Valley. The Colca Canyon offers a wonderful set of views and truly unique natural settings. There are numerous entertainment possibilities in the vicinity and many of them with adventurous tones. You can enjoy various hiking treks where you can appreciate the incredible views that the Canyon offers.
You can also check our Colca Canyon trek guide so that you are aware of everything you need for a successful trek. Or you can also immerse yourself in the varied and beautiful Colca Hot Springs after an arduous tour through the Valley. Whatever your decision, you can have an incredible moment in this magical corner of Peru. And is Colca Canyon deeper than Grand canyon? If it is. The depth of the Colca Canyon is double that of the well-known Grand Canyon.
“IF YOU WANT TO FLY, GIVE UP EVERYTHING THAT WEIGHS YOU DOWN”
And is the Colca Canyon worth seeing? Yes, it totally is. As you will see, the Colca Canyon Condors are wonderful animals that are worth knowing. And being able to see them in flight is an unparalleled view that, added to the natural landscapes, form a true spectacle. Machu Travel Peru hopes to have been able to clarify the main doubts about the King of the Andes. For a good sighting tour, you can consult with our qualified advisors to inform you of all the aspects to be covered. And remember that you can do much more in the Valley than witness the beautiful Condor. To find out about the different routes, we recommend consulting with our team of advisers. They will be happy to help you fulfill the trip of your dreams. What are you waiting for to travel to Peru? Don’t miss it for anything!