Cruz del Cóndor

Top choice in Cañón Del Colca

This famed viewpoint is for many the highlight of their trip to the Cañón del Colca. A large family of Andean condors nests by the rocky outcrop and, with lots of luck, they can occasionally be seen gliding effortlessly on thermal air currents rising from the canyon, swooping low over onlookers’ heads. It’s a mesmerizing scene, heightened by the spectacular 1200m drop to the river below and the sight of Nevado Mismi on the other side of the ravine.

Some much-hyped travel sights are anticlimactic in the raw light of day, but this is not one of them. Recently it has become more difficult to see the condors, mostly due to air pollution, including from travelers’ campfires and tour buses. The condors are also less likely to appear on rainy days so it’s best to visit during the dry season; they are unlikely to emerge at all in January and February. You won’t be alone at the lookout. Expect a couple of hundred people for the 8am ‘show’ in season.

If you are not part of a tour, large Milagro buses (S8) travel here on the way to Cabanaconde, departing at 7:30am from Chivay's bus station. Afterwards, the only public transportation to Cabanaconde is with the minivan (S5) that transports the women selling artesanías (handicrafts) at about 11am, otherwise it's a long 12.5km walk or a long wait until the next large return bus from Cabanaconde materializes.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Cañón Del Colca attractions

1. Mirador de San Miguel

4.21 MILES

The spectacular views here are a highlight of Cabanaconde, taking in the mountain range, with the villages resembling specks of white dust clinging to its…

2. Uyo Uyo

15.77 MILES

The remnants of this pre-Inca settlement aren't visible from the road, but can be reached by a half-hour uphill hike from Yanque (or one hour along Carr…

3. Baños Chacapi

15.98 MILES

These hot springs, a more basic version of La Calera in Chivay, are a 30-minute walk down to the river from the plaza. The early-bird opening time is…

4. Museo Yanque

16.67 MILES

This university-run museum is unexpectedly comprehensive for a small village, explaining the culture of the Cañón del Colca in conscientious detail…

5. Astronomical Observatory

20.31 MILES

No light pollution equals excellent Milky Way vistas. The Casa Andina hotel six blocks southwest of the Plaza de Armas has a tiny observatory which holds…

6. Paso de Patopampa

23.67 MILES

The highest point on the road between Arequipa and Chivay is this almost lifeless pass which, at 4910m, is significantly higher than Europe’s Mt Blanc and…