Condors with a wing span up to 10 feet glide through the mountain pass from both sides of Colca Canyon in the Highlands of Peru. We watch these gigantic birds put on a spectacular show from our perch on a rock wall rising up from the canyon.Condors can live up to 150 years and, most surprisingly, they eat only dead animals, scavenging wherever they can.
We’re at a spot called Cruz del Condor or Condor’s Cross, a natural lookout on the edge of the canyon. At an elevation of 10,784 feet, it is an excellent place to watch condors soar gracefully on rising thermals formed when warm currents rise from the canyon floor.
|Looking down into the canyon|
No one can predict exactly when or how many condors may perform their aerial show on any given day, but the largest crowds come to view the spectacle early in the morning when the majestic birds are hunting for food.The valley offers stunning views of the Andean landscape. It’s a popular location for hikers, backpackers, and mountain bikers, but what entices most people to this region is the opportunity to see the powerful Andean condors in flight.
We also marvel because it’s where the mighty Amazon River begins. Colca River starts high in the Andes Mountains of Peru and flows to the Pacific Ocean in stages, forming a scenic canyon twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Snow-melt from the 16,800-foot high volcano Mismi is a distant source of the Amazon.
|Terrace farming originated by the Incas is still practiced today.|
|Walking along the canyon rim.|
|This lupine resembles|
our Texas bluebonnet.
Peru is an increasingly popular destination for U.S. travelers.
|The road to Cruz del Condor in Peru.|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier