No animal better represents the majestic, wild spirit of the Andes Mountains than the condor. It’s fitting, then, that if you make your way to Peru, it’s worth a visit to see the condors in Colca Canyon.
Colca Canyon is located near Arequipa, one of Peru’s largest cities (and a worthwhile destination in itself). From Arequipa, it’s very easy to make a day trip to the canyon for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing the impressive condors glide through their natural habitat.
Seeing the Condors in Colca Canyon
The first thing you’ll notice about day trips to Colca from Arequipa is that they leave early. Very early — on the order of 3:30 or 4 am. It’s entirely worth the early wake-up time to see a condor in flight. You can get a little more sleep on the three-hour drive to the canyon.
Why do the tours leave so early, you might ask? It has to do with the fog that settles in the Colca Valley every morning. As the sun rises and burns off the early morning fog, the warming air creates a more comfortable climate for the flight of the condor.
In other words, the condors are most active between 8 and 10 am; between those hours, you can see potentially dozens of condors soaring through the mountains. Throw in the three-hour drive and a quick stop for breakfast and an early start is the only way to maximize the experience of seeing the condors in Colca.
Many day trips to Colca take you to a series of attractions in the valley besides the Cruz del Condor (Cross of the Condor), where you’re most likely to see the Peruvian condor. These attractions include scenic overlooks, roadside artisan and food vendors, charming mountain towns with alpaca photo ops, and more.
About the Peruvian Condor
Condors are extremely unique animals. The species found in the Colca Valley can have a wingspan of up to 3.3 meters (about 10 feet) and weigh up to 15 kilograms (about 33 pounds). Condors live about 60 years on average, but they may live up to 80 years!
It’s also worth noting that the condor is an endangered species in Peru, due to an infrequent reproduction rate and some other factors related to human activity. Given the bird’s central role in Peruvian culture and folklore, the government is taking concrete measures to preserve the species.
Colca Canyon Tour 4 Days
Fertur Travel offers a four-day, three-night package to Arequipa and Colca, for those interested in seeing not just condors, but all the wonders of Colca and “The White City” (Arequipa).
The first day of the package is spent in Arequipa, touring the marvelous city and its famous Santa Catalina monastery. The second day sets out for Colca, with a tour of some of the local towns and natural delights (including the Calera Hot Springs).
After staying in Colca for the second night, you will see the flight of the condor on the third day, then enjoy a few more attractions in Colca before returning to Arequipa for a good night’s sleep. You’ll transfer out on the fourth day.
Click here for more information on our Arequipa and Colca tour: Colca Canyon Tour 4 Days
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