If for many years neighboring Colca Canyon was famed as the world’s deepest canyon, it is only because Cotahuasi Canyon wasn’t measured until 1995. At 3,535m, this geological wonder is the rightful owner of that title. The canyon was home to the Wari before the Inca conquered this region and annexed it to their empire in order to shorten the salt route connecting Cusco and the coast.
Let yourself be humbled by the immense landscapes and humbling profundity of Cotahuasi Canyon, and the power of the river that carved it out over the millennia during this four-day tour that will take you along a route marked by stunning lakes, thermal baths, waterfalls, petrified forests, and puya and cactus forests. Walk along Inca trails, passing local peasants with llamas or donkeys; visit quaint towns with narrow streets bordered by white-washed buildings and centered round colonial churches; relax in the Luicho Medicinal Baths. Observe how pre-Inca terraces are still being farmed today, producing quinoa, amaranth, purple corn, and other native crops. We’ll descend through the 12 ecosystems of the “Canyon of Wonder” See the surprising Sipia Waterfalls, where the rocks narrow the river to 5m wide so that they burst through, fall 150m, and crash over the rocks in a spectacle of spray and rainbows. Explore the canyon floor and riverside.
During the return trip to Arequipa, we stop to visit the rock formation known as Maje Castle, fodder for a variety of legends, the mysterious Toro Muerto (Dead Bull) petroglyphs, where volcanic rock resulting from eruptions of Coropuna and Chachani were engraved 1000 to 1500 years ago. They are believed to be the work of the Wari and Chuquibamba cultures, but no archeological remains have been directly associated with this site.
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