Of the 261 finalists and the top 77 finalists shown on July 05 2009; the panel of experts of New7Wonders chose the 28 official finalists 4 days after (marked with red) in which strangely to shock the world do not appear:

Mount Everest the highest of the world with 8.848 m and the Colca Canyon the deepest of the world, with 4.160m.


Of the 261 finalists and the top 77 finalists shown on July 05 2009; the panel of experts of New7Wonders chose the 28 official finalists 4 days after (marked with red) in which strangely to shock the world do not appear:

Mount Everest the highest of the world with 8.848 m and the Colca Canyon the deepest of the world, with 4.160m.



In 1981 the first Polish expedition, based on topographic maps of low accuracy, considered that the Colca Canyon reached a depth of 3250m. This information was used for many years.

But in 2005, an expedition led by Polish researcher Andrew Pietowski performed several measurements using modern high-precision devices, including a "Global Positioning System” (GPS), obtaining accurate data on the height of this natural wonder.

And it was on the 24th of August, 2005, in the city of Arequipa, during a press conference, that they revealed that in the territory of Canco of the district of Huambo the profundity of the Colca Canyon reached 4160m on the north side and 3600 m on the south side.

The conquest of rio colca -

Deepest Part of the Colca Canyon - Canco 4160m.
From "The Conquest of Rio Colca, The Worlds Deepest Canyon" by Jerzy "Yurek" Majcherczyk

This makes the Colca Canyon the deepest Canyon of America and approximately more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.




Along the 120km of the Colca Canyon, there are rock formations, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, hot springs worthy of consideration as natural wonders.


Peru is especially characterized by the presence of the Andes, making the Colca Canyon part of the Andes Volcanic Western Mountainrange which are made up of snowy peaks over 6000 meters in height, impressive mountains and volcanoes such as Hualca Hualca, Ampato and Sabancaya. This impressive canyon is on the right hand side of the Chila mountain range formed by glaciers Bomboya, Serpregina, Mismi, Queshihua, and on the other side by volcanoes that are part of the Ampato Mountainrange.

Ampato y Sabancaya

Sabancaya is a stratovolcano and is the youngest active volcano in the Andes, it is 5980 m high and consists of three volcanoes: the Sabancaya the Ampato volcano (6.288m) and Hualca Hualca (6025m).

Volcan Ampato

Ampato, is known to be the final resting place of the Juanita Mummy, an inca mummy with surprisingly conserved. Ampato means "frog" in quechua, referring to the form of the volcano seen from surrounding areas. This volcano belongs to the Volcanic mountain chain also known as Ampato Mountain Chain. The ancient inhabitants worshiped this mountain with offerings because they consider it as an apu, or divinity. One of the offerings was the Lady of Ampato or Juanita Mummy, a girl of 12 - 14 years old who was chosen and immersed in a religious ritual in which she was killed and given to the APU as an offering with the belief that this would improve their agriculture and farm animal production.

Juanita Mummy

At a distance you are able to observe two mountains accompanying the deepest canyon in America, Coropuna 6305m above sea level, the highest in Arequipa and a Solimana 6323m.

solimana y coropuna
Coropuna and Solimama


Outbursts of hot springs with recognized medicinal properties of importance in the Colca Canyon are located in the villages of Sibayo, Yanque, LLahuar and Chivay (La Calera).

hot springs la calera

La Calera has several hot spring pools with high contents of sulfur and iron, which flow from the interior of the hills at a temperature of 80 º C, and are combined with cold water in a pool reaching 35 º C, a temperature suitable for a relaxing bath and helpful for the treatment of ailments such as rheumatism and arthritis. It’s located approximately 5 minutes from the city.

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On the other hand, the thermal baths of Llahuar are located in the town that bears the same name which can be reached by a 3 hour walk from the district of Cabanaconde. People can enjoy and relax in hot springs that have temperatures of 35 to 48 degrees.


callalli 2

The famous "Window of the Colca is a geological formation located at 4 300 m, that through erosion by wind and rain, has taken the form of a window and is considered as a natural viewpoint, where you can clearly see the road of entry into the valley, the confluence of the rivers Colca and Pulpera, and also in very early hours of the day, you can see mist covering the Colca valley.


The Callalli enchanted castles is a famous viewpoint, located at 3850 meters above sea level, it’s a group of geological formations of volcanic lava created by the erosion of wind and rain which have the form of a large feudal castles. They are located near the village of Callalli and each region has its own name as Saya Saya, Pucara and Q'elq'ata; these rocks look like many forms of animals such as frogs, snakes, guinea pigs, llamas and camels. It is advisable to visit this natural wonder in the afternoon as the coloring on the rocks creates a beautiful landscape.

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This future natural wonder of the world also has several waterfalls located in different parts of the canyon. One such place worthy of mention is Huaruro, located near the town of Cabanaconde, with a waterfall of over 60 meters. You can get to this beautiful place by walking an hour and a half from the community of Fure.
Besides Huaruro, the Colca Canyon has a special place called Agualihua, located 3 hours walking distance from Cabanaconde in which there are numerous small waterfalls or water wells, it is said that condors take their baths here.

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The product of volcanic activity in the surrounding areas of the Colca Canyon, geysers and fumaroles occur, this is a strange phenomenon and only exists in some parts of the world because it requires a special hydrogeology. There are about 1000 geysers around the globe and most of them are located in the Yellowstone National Park of the United States.


One of the most important geysers of the canyon is known as "Infiernillo," or "Devil's Shower," located at the foot of Mount Hualca Hualca at 4250 m and at a distance of 8km. from the Pinchollo village. Here we can see small volcanoes that eject steam of hot water, with craters of all sizes, the largest with a diameter of up to 60cm and smaller geysers where you can cook eggs in less than 10 minutes.
There are also other geysers located in the Colca Canyon such as Shihui at 4.850 meters, where you can see a crater of water vapor that has the form of a volcano and Fuye at 4,600 m. All the geysers emit steam and water that boils at 80 º C.

Geyser 02



Andean Condor

Known as the largest flying bird on the planet, the Andean condor is a bird of great importance to the Andean territories, symbolizing magnificence, strength, and freedom.

The Andean Condor (Vultur Gryphus) belongs to the new world Vultures and Cathartidae family whose members are characterized by feeding on carrion and rarely on vegetables or small animals. It lives in the highest Andean mountains, distributed along the Andes from Venezuela to the Tierra del Fuego. The Colca Canyon is one of the sites, recognized worldwide, as the condor’s habitat where you can observe the flight of this magnificent bird.

Andean Condor

It can fly over 7000 m high and glide for hours without moving its wings. The Andean condor can easily live up to 85 years, therefore it is called the “eternal bird" and is characterized by being sedentary and monogamous.

With a menacing and challenging appearance, this bird has a bluish-black plumage and a white back. It can measure up to 1.30 m tall, 3.30 m wide and its maximum weight is 12 kg.

It has a small, bare head that is usually a reddish in color and a hook-shaped beak. Their wings are long and wide and their legs are short and have slightly curved claws. Despite their dangerous appearance, the condor isn’t a bird of prey, as their legs lack the strength to lift an animal and their claws and nails are just like those of a hen.

Andean Condor

The Condor has no larynx and therefore doesn’t make sounds or sing as do other species of birds. The female has shiny, red eyes and lacks the fleshy crest unlike male condors.


Andean Condor

The magnificent Andean Condor occupied a place of great significance to ancient Andean societies. Its imposing presence, longevity and ability to glide for hours were a source of inspiration in primary andean arts such as representations of cave painting, ceramics, sculpture and mural painting, placing this bird as an icon within the religious and spiritual beliefs of Andean civilization.

The Incas believed that due to its longevity, the condor was immortal. According to the myth, when the animal is without strength and begins to feel it’s old age, he believes that his life has no meaning so he chooses to commit suicide. The condor settles at the highest peaks of the mountains, catches flight and reaches a height high enough for it to then spiral down at high speed and crash against the mountains, putting an end to his own life. It is said that his death is symbolic, as the condor is reborn with suicide.

Andean Condor

Nowadays, the condor is the national bird of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile appearing as a patriotic symbol in their coat of arms.


Andean Condor populations have fallen greatly throughout South America resulting in the critical condition of this species in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. This bird has been placed on the list of endangered species since 1973 by the U.S. Fish and Wildflife Service, becoming a challenge for conservation and a struggle against humanity for survival.

Andean Condor

This unfortunate situation is caused mainly by hunting, loss of habitat, pollution, the severe reduction of their food source and the low rate of reproduction of this species in which a pair of condor lays an egg every two or three years .

Humans are the main predator of the condor. The motives that drive them to hunt this bird are, fear of losing farm animals and cultural activities or festivals such as Yawar Fiesta, where members of a community catch a live condor to fight a bull and then get the bird drunk as a celebration, usually involving the death of the animal. The condors are hunted because of the belief that certain body parts have magical or therapeutic powers, and their feathers are used for different folk dances and activities in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador.

Andean Condor

In addition to human predators, the condors have to face birds of prey of various types and sizes, which do have claws and feed on them when these condors are searching for food, and enter the territory of the birds of prey.


Andean Condor

In Latin America, not many countries are concerned about the preservation of the Andean Condor, apart from Argentina and Chile. Peru is among the countries that haven’t done much in favor of this species; however there are signs of initiatives and projects for the conservation of the condor in this country.

In the Chaparrí Ecological Reserve, located in the province of Chiclayo, proyects are undertaken for the conservation and reintroduction of several endangered species including a national plan of action for the conservation of the Andean condor. 30 years ago, the Andean condor was a common species in Chaparrí and with the low presence of animals that they fed on; these also eventually disappeared, leaving only a small number of them in the reserve.

Andean Condor

Heinz Plenge, coordinator of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the Andean condor, is convinced that in a few years the critical situation that the Andean condor is facing in Peru will be reversed. This project was born when he attended a conference of birds of prey in Ecuador where he was appointed coordinator.

The project started with forty condors living in captivity, which would be prepared to be released in their habitat, thereby helping to repopulate their species. There will be a mapping of the condor’s population in the country, in order to release more of these birds where necessary. This project is supported by international organizations such as the Frankfurt Zoological Society of Germany, “Fundación Cayetano Heredia”, San Diego Zoo, Peregrine Group, South Lakes in the United States, Wild Animal Park in Germany, and the Zoo of Doué La Fontaine in France, all pf which are fully concerned for and involved with the conservation of this scavenger bird.

Another project has been taking place for the Protection of Andean Condor which started through the cooperation between the Peruvian engineer Miguel Ayala Calderon and the Italian ornithologist and sportsman Angelo D'Arrigo. In 2005, D'Arrigo obtained two condor eggs that were held by an Austrian university and decided to try to be the mother of the chicks which had the names of Maya and Inca. He incubated them in a nest built specially for them in their experimental farm, covering it with a black and white glider, so that the chicks were used to its presence and form. As the chicks grew, D'Arrigo gave them flying lessons around the area so that in the future they could be released into their natural habitat, the Peruvian Andes.

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Angelo D'Arrigo With Andean Condor

D'Arrigo, known as the "condor man", died in March 2006 due to an accident during an air display in Sicily. His death has not stopped the completion of the project in which Laura Mancuso, widow of D'Arrigo in coordination with a technical team from the University of San Antonio Abad and the National Geographic, they ensured that Inca and Maya would get to Cuzco and set free, five months after the disappearance of the father of the project. Today, Inca and Maya are in good health and are an essential part of the project for the protection and conservation of this endangered species.

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Angelo D'Arrigo With Andean Condor

D'Arrigo, created in Cusco the first resettlement program of condors in Peru, therefore, it is essential to follow his example of determination and dedication to the care of this species to save this magnificent bird, because the conservation of the condor leads to conservation of all the Andes, and therefore the protection of biodiversity in the Colca Canyon.

Angelo D
Angelo D'Arrigo With Andean Condor


Biodiversity refers to the variety of animals, plants and everything else that surrounds them, which is an undeniable aspect of the Colca Canyon, which currently hosts a large quantity of species of flora and fauna.

This special characteristic of the canyon occurs because Peru is located in the subtropical area of South America and it has a rugged geography, in addition, ocean currents and the air mass movements, create an incomparable ecological, climatic and geological variety.

The Colca Canyon is a synonym for extensive biodiversity, observations and studies in the canyon show the existence of an assorted flora and fauna, which given the particularities of the Andes, are fully adapted to extreme conditions of coldness and altitude.



The existing flora in the Colca Canyon includes about 300 species, which are sometimes used as medicine, fuel, in dyeing and as a nutritious food for and wild and farm animals. The plant species consists of three groups: trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants, these exist in different plant communities according to the altitude at which they are found.

In the area of the Colca Canyon, floristic species are varied, such as the cactus that grows and develops more easily in low areas near the river Colca and are locally known as: “Chiri-Chiris”(Grindelia bergii), “Corotillas”(Tephrocactus corotilla) , and Tuna (nopal). Shrubs grow in abundance in the valley such as the “Cantuta”(Cantua buxifolia , Cantua candelilla); the “Chillko” (Vulpia megalura); the “Chinchircuma” (Mutisia comptonaeoifolia) and “Sullun Sullu”(Alchemilla pinnata).

Tuna - Nopal
Tuna- Nopal


In the upland areas located more than 3500 meters above sea level, the “ichu” (Stipa ichu, Stipa obtuse), dominates the landscape giving the appearance of a land covered by tall usually yellow colored grasses.


The land over 4000 meters high is the habitat of rural meadows and Polylepis, a kind of trees and shrubs known in Quechua as “Queñuales”, wetlands and swampy areas are also found here.

In the higher plant community known as Yaretal located over 4500 meters above sea level, grows an extraordinary plant with a cushion form and which grows up to 1 m tall known as yareta (Azorella yarita, Azorella diapensoides). Yareta has managed to survive in a place of critical conditions and extreme cold and grows at a slow rate of one millimeter per year.



Wildlife is just as extensive and varied as flora, including 32 species of mammals, 5carnivores, over 130 species of birds, rodents, amphibians and reptiles. The canyon and its surroundings are home to an important, substantial and diverse fauna, specially adapted to the environment of the Andes and its extreme aridity.

A species considered as representative of the Andes is the majestic Condor(Vultur gryphus), known as the king of birds, it is here in this deep canyon where this scavenger bird is flourishes given the ideal conditions it finds.

Andean Condor

In the skies of the valley there are also a variety of species of birds such as eagles, hawks and eaglets; “lique-liques” (Vanellus resplendens) and “yanavicos”(Plegadis ridgwayi). Birds of all sizes, shapes and colors, make the colca canyon worthy of the title of bird observatory.

The giant hummingbird deserves special mention as it’s the largest in the world, 23 cm long including the thick 3.5 cm long peak. These special birds have developed a unique feeding strategy. They have long peaks and a tongue even longer, which are inserted into certain tubular flowers that can only feed them. The plant attracts them with its color and gives them its sweet nectar in exchange for this, the hummingbirds carry pollen to other flowers allowing the polenization of the flowers. They feed especially on the flowers of cacti and “Cantuta”.

Giant Hummingbird

On the high lands of the canyon you can find two species of wild cameloids, the guanaco (Lama guanicoe), whose herds find food in the semi desert regions and the vicuñas (Lama vicugna), clustered around areas of abundant meadow.



The “tarukas”(Hippocamelus antisensis) are unique mammals from the high Andes. In dry periods they descend to the crops near the villages in search of food. The White-tailed deer or Grey Deer that is widely distributed throughout the Americas is found in the lower parts of the Colca Valley especially in the towns of Huambo and Cabanaconde.

Among the most important carnivores in the Colca valley you can find: the fearsome puma, the wild cat or "Osjollo" (Felis colocolo), the Andean fox (Pseudalopex culpaeus), recognized as the most significant predator of the Andes, the skunk or “añas”, and the weasel known as "Achocalla”.

The Puma is the largest animal in the canyon and therefore demands enormous quantities of food. It is solitary and is remarkable adaptative to to different environments. Their scarcity in the Colca is due to the little food they hunt here. They feed on animals including foxes and wild cats.

The “viscachas” (Lagidium peruanum) are very abundant in this region especially in rocky areas of the high Andes. Their appearance is quite similar to a rabbit, but with a long and hairy tail. It appears to be the main victim of carnivores such as foxes and birds of prey. They live by eating many plant species of their surroundings and have a habit of sunbathing in the morning.

Vizcacha 01

Reptiles and amphibians are rather scarce in this part of the country, represented by three amphibians and five reptiles.

The Colca Canyon is the natural habitat for different species of flora and fauna, from the majestic Andean condor, the puma, white-tailed deer, foxes, vizcacha, wild cats and birds of all shapes and sizes, therefore the importance of conserving the ecosystems that keep alive the variety of animals and plants that this canyon has, is a primary goal in keeping this place a true natural wonder.

zorro andino


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