Colca Canyon is one of the most popular tourist spots of Southern Peru. Located in Caylloma province at a distance of 160 km from Arequipa, the Colca River Valley boasts of its rich flora and fauna with over 300 species of plants, 100 species of birds and different types of camels. The majestic flight of Andean Condor attracts tourists from across the world to the area. Stretched along an area of 100 km, the valley is home to many caves depicting Pre-Inca rock art and natural geysers. And if you are an adventure enthusiast, this is an ideal place for trekking, rafting, climbing and bicycling.
Rich Colca Ecology
Despite extreme weather conditions typical to the area, the diverse flora has plants with medicinal use, fuel wood, dying, nutritious food for domesticated cattle and wild animals such as vicuña and guanaco. In some areas, vegetation is dense and you can observe trees in some streams. The vegetation changes at different elevations. Different species include cactus, pajonal, tolar characterized by shrubby plants, bofedal or wet grassland with high nutritional value for camels.
Likewise, the entire region has a variety of wildlife with herbivores including white-tailed deer, guanacos, vicunas and vizcachas-a rabbit-sized relative of the chinchilla. Among carnivores, it includes foxes, skunks, cougar and achocalla. Bird watching, a major activity, includes birds such Andean Condor, Chilean flamingo, giant hummingbird, waterfowl, eagles, hawks, falcons, owls, nightjars etc. It is an exquisite sight to see large Andean Condors, best viewed from a popular spot called Cruz del Condor, fly past the canyon walls. And among reptiles, you have a huge variety of snakes, lizards etc.
Another characteristic feature of the Colca Valley is the presence of hot springs from Caylloma to Canco with a progressive decrease in water temperature as well as change in chemical composition from sulfur to carbonate. The maximum temperature measures around 85 ° C at the exit of the spring. The famous La Calera natural hot springs are located at Chivay, the biggest town in Colca Canyon. The presence of geysers in Pinchollo, Cabanaconde and Tapay is indicative of volcanic sources nearby. When groundwater reaches the surface usually through a crack, its temperature rises due to contact with hot or molten rocks under the surface.