Colca Canyon in southern Peru has twice the depth of Arizona's Grand Canyon, with over 3,000 meters at its deepest. It begins high in the Andes and is a land of rich history, as the area used to be inhabited by Cabanas and Collagues. In fact, there are still traces of majestic Inca and pre-Inca terraces that hark back to over 1,000 years. The word Colca actually means smalls holes that were dug in the cliffs of the canyon and the valley. These holes were used to store the pre-Incan and Incan people's food, as well as to bury important people.

The valley is sometimes dubbed "The Valley of Wonders", as it is replete with natural geological attractions – gorges, volcanoes and agricultural slopes or terraces. Colca Canyon is also famed for being the home of the Andean condors. The species, whose scientific name is Vultur gryphus, is one of the endangered species and there have been concerted efforts to save the species. You can see these gigantic birds with their broad wingspans ruling the air. You will most likely see them at the Cruz del Condor (Condor Cross), a lookout point. Located 1,200 meters above the river of the canyon, you can come here, along with many others, to witness the majestic flight of the condors.

Other animals you can look out for are the eagles, geese, hummingbirds and Vicuñas (a relative of the Alpacas and the Llamas). The vicuñas are allowed to roam freely along the canyon.

Aside from that, if you are into adventure sports, this is a great place to indulge in them. There are plenty of extreme sports to choose from – mountain biking, mountain climbing, hiking or river rafting. You can also take a trek down to the foot of the canyon, doing down the mountains and exploring valleys, campsites and hot springs. You can also relax in the warm waters of the La Calera hot springs.

Of course, for more on local culture, drop by any of the villages lining the canyon, particularly the village of Chivay. Here, you can go for an Andean meal, complete with music by Andean artists. The cultures of the Collagua and Canabas communities have largely been preserved, and you will find that the people are distinguished by their colorful headgear, which are intricately sequined and embroidered.

Just outside Chivay is the Mirador de los Andes, which is the Colca Valley's highest point. Here, you will find a set of piled stones called apachetas. These are made as an offering to the gods, but with the influx of tourists, some were most likely made by them. There is also Maca, where you will find the Santa Ana church, with its gilded interiors. Another must-see is a pre-Inca caving of the mountains in the canyon (called the Choquetico stone).

Other cathedrals include the Cathedral in Coporaque (which dates back to the mid-1500s and has two bell towers) and the Templo de la Purisima Concepcion de Lari (which also has twin bell towers, as well as colorful murals and an altar embellished with painted columns). There is also the Franciscan mission church in Yanque.