Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River, in the Andes mountain range, in southern Peru. It is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in the United States, but is not as steep. The local people still maintain ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces. Colca Canyon is located 162 km northwest Arequipa The name Colca refers to small holes in the cliffs in the valley and canyon. These holes were used in Inca and pre-Inca times to store food, such as potatoes and other Andean crops. They were also used as tombs for important people.
One of Bolivia’s most extraordinary natural wonders is the Salar de Uyuni. These eerie salt flats stretch over an area covering 9000 sq km in the Altiplano, to the west of the town of Uyuni in Bolivia’s southwest. Salar de Uyuni is by far the largest salt lake in the world. Although technically a lake, it does not look much like one. It has a thick, hard crust of salt on its uppermost layer – so thick, indeed, that it is possible to drive across it! And there is a very limited amount of visible water, even in the rainy season. Despite its desolate appearance, the landscape is home to many types of animal, including the rabbit-like viscachas that live on the islands in the middle of the lake, three of the South American species of flamingos that feed and nest here during the rainy season, the Andean fox, and herds of vicunas grazing on the scarce vegetation. Isolated Quechua and Aymara communities live on the shores of the lake. The Salar de Uyuni is what remains of a sea that filled the entire high plateau up to Lake Titicaca. Over the course of millions of years, the sea disappeared, and today Lake Titicaca in Peru, and Lake Coopo, the Salar de Coipasa and de Uyuni in Bolivia are all that remains. It is an astonishing and unusual sight, and driving in a 4X4 across this perfectly flat, white and harshly inhospitable expanse is one of Bolivia’s most enjoyable and otherworldly experiences.
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