Cotahuasi Canyon & Hidden Andean Communities: Kendra D. shares her tale

Read about expert travel advisor Kendra D. and her trekking adventure through Cotahuasi Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world!
by Kathleen McAfee

At Peru for Less, we are a group of experienced travelers who pride ourselves on providing helpful advice to those seeking to expand their horizons with a trip of a lifetime. One of our travel advisors, Kendra D., had the opportunity to trek to the secluded Cotahuasi Canyon, the deepest canyon in the world. On her trip, she discovered firsthand what life is like for many Peruvians living deep in the Andes Mountains.

Cotahuasi Canyon: The world’s deepest canyon

The town of Cotahuasi in Cotahuasi Canyon, Peru

While Cotahuasi Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world, it is very wide with small villages nestled in the ravine. Photo by Leo Guellec/Flickr

Cotahuasi Canyon cuts 11,560 feet into the earth. Winding through the Andes Mountains about 124 miles northeast of the beautiful city of Arequipa, Cotahuasi Canyon is very remote and does not receive a lot of tourists. Roads are narrow and undeveloped, so the fourteen-hour bus ride from Arequipa to the town of Cotahuasi can feel like an epic journey into the wilderness. But this is all part of the appeal, “to visit a natural wonder that is not so commercialized, like Colca Canyon,” according to Kendra.

Thermal hotsprings at Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru

One of the many natural highlights of Cotahuasi Canyon are the thermal hot springs bubbling up from the earth. Photo provided by travel advisor Kendra Downer with Peru For Less

With a variety of recreational activities, such as hiking, visiting the thermal hot springs, whitewater rafting, and wildlife watching, Cotahuasi Canyon is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. On a trip through the canyon, visitors can expect to experience the tranquility of the natural terrain, explore the stomping grounds of pre-Inca civilizations, and learn of a different, simpler way of life.

Kendra’s tale of a simple mountain life in Peru

A lady with her sheep in Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru

The small villages of Cotahuasi Canyon reflect a simple and pious way of life, as you can gather from this picture of a woman with her sheep. Photo by Leo Guellec/Flickr

While exploring the canyon over the course of 4 days, Kendra fell in love with the simple, yet wholesome lifestyle of the people. She comments, “This is so, so remote, I have never been that far removed, and it is a very simple lifestyle, but everyone is very happy.” Spending 8 hours a day hiking through the canyon and sharing homegrown fruits, veggies and foodstuffs with the local people, Kendra discovered not only the beauty of the landscape, but also found a deep appreciation for the society hidden in the Andes Mountains, sheltered from urban chaos.

Kendra with her host in Cotahuasi in Peru

Kendra and her college friend stand with their host as they help to pick fruits and vegetables which sustain the family. Photo provided by travel advisor Kendra Downer with Peru For Less

Visit Peru and explore untouched beauty

Are you eager to explore the secluded societies of the Andes Mountains? Contact us today to speak with an experienced travel advisor to plan a fully customizable tour package to Peru!