The Condors of Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Caynon is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Back on my round-the-world trip from 2008-10, I realized this in the first person, when I hiked down to the bottom of it, spent the night, then was considering the prospect of hiking back up the next morning when the guide came up to the group and said “if anyone wants to take a mule back up….”

He didn’t finish the sentence before I said “sold!”

I wasn’t the only one that had a problem with hiking down and up this challenging location. My very good friend Ayngelina wrote a brief post about her failure there also in 2011 (she should have asked me about it before trying it — I think I will remind her of that over some Spanish wine soon).

This time, I was on an entirely different type of trip. I was touring the southern part of Peru in a fairly rapid fashion and luckily for me… there was not enough time to hike down and back on this trip. Instead, after staying in the very new Aranwa hotel, we took a tour of some of the towns around the edge of the Canyon, then headed to a couple of the best spots to view the large number of condors in the area.

Frankly…. a much better day that it would have been hiking. Here is my quick video about the Colca Caynon experience, from the topside — I hope you like it.


My previous two videos from this journey are here — Strangers on a Train and also the Story of Machu Picchu.

I hope you enjoy and that you subscribe to my YouTube channel, so you will be able to get new videos right when I upload them.


This trip was sponsored by Cox & Kings and Prom Peru, but the opinions (and photos and videos) are my own.


13 thoughts on “The Condors of Colca Canyon, Peru

  1. Colca Canyon really surprised us with its beauty. We weren’t expecting much, so it was a nice surprise. Didn’t see as many condors as you, though!

  2. Thats one big Canyon! Thanks for the video but I think the funniest part is you not letting him finish the sentence when you had the chance to ride the mule back up.

  3. After hiking Grand Canyon several times down and up I’d gladly opt for the mule here. The condors are majestic in flight. When I see the CA’s flying here I dream of seeing the Andeans.

  4. This video made me sad, because I really want to be back there! What a fantastic place. I enjoyed Arequipa and Colca Canyon more than Machu Picchu!

    Great video of the condors. I was lucky to see a lot the day I was there too, but capturing them in videos or photos was tricky when they swooped by so quickly! My arms were aching for days after from holding my camera above my head for so long!

    As for the canyon, poor effort! My friend and I got lost for 2 hours, almost following a very dangerous non-path along a cliff and eventually descending into the canyon at about 10:30 am. We reached the oasis and had 30 minutes to grab some orange juice and share lunch before hiking all the way back out on the same day in the afternoon heat! We only just made it back to Cabanaconde as the sun set!!! It was an exhausting day but we had such a sense of achievement and I’ll never forget it! 🙂

  5. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon and was blown away. I can’t imagine what it might have been like to see the Colca Canyon, much less spend the night at the bottom! Thanks for sharing!

  6. I thought the Colca Canyon was beautiful but we only saw one condor there which was a shame. It was very far away! I think we actually saw more condors on every other hike we did throughout Peru, so at least we saw some. Oh and that hike is such hard work! Down in the midday sun, back up at 5am. It was the first hike I did in Peru and it definitely had me worrying about how well I would cope with the Inca Trail, luckily it was just a good warm up!

  7. Everytime I see birds soar I wish I could too. We have about 8 parrots in our yard in the DR that just moved in a couple of days ago. It’s so cool to see them interact.

    1. LOL, I felt the same way, Noah. Birds aren’t really my thing, but… those are some damn big birds!

  8. Really dig the video. They are so majestic from afar, but like you showed, not very close up. What fantastic scenery in Colcannon Canyon though. Thanks for sharing!

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