Colca is a fascinating place for those who love hiking in the mountain. It is located on the side of the Apurimac river canyon. Its geography is dominated by mountains and valleys, here lives an indigenous people dedicated to agriculture and animal husbandry in the ancient way.

The apurimac canyon

It is the landscape that dominates the environment of Colca. The harmony of the hills, mountains and ravines is suddenly interrupted by the canyons formed by the rivers that feed the Apurimac river, which in turn will form the great Apurimac canyon.
This canyon is the main destination of Cusco to practice canoeing, especially in the dry season where the rains are absent and the flow of the river is less.

About Colca local community

It is located in the Cotabambas district and province of the same name, in the Region of Apurimac Peru.
It has a population of 450 families, who since hundreds of years are dedicated to agriculture and livestock, being this community the most important livestock resources of the district.

Centro Poblado de Colca

Old colonial town, which is still appreciated the arch, the cemetery and the typical streets. In this is the local Municipality.

Examples of Colca Culture

The archaeological sites

The samples of ancient cultures are seen in the mountains and in the town of Colca itself. Among them are:

Inka Pirqa

Carved stones, brought from Inkapirqa, at the door of the ancient Colca temple.

Located to the North West of the Colca Town Center. It is an archaeological complex, it shows a complex that had to be inhabited in a period of time by different settlements. The last must have been the Incas, who, fleeing the invasion in Cusco, took refuge in Colca. Well it shows the bases of an enclosure under construction with finely crafted stones that are currently scattered and a part of them is in the old Colca temple.


It is the hill to the north west of the Colca Town Center. In this hill there are the ruined bases of “chullpas” that are funerary niches made with stones with human remains that were looted. They are groups of chullpas that still remain.

Chullpas of Arkipiña

Qhapaq Ñan

At the feet of Arkipiña, a path that is known to come from Cusco extends and goes to Nazca. Much of this road is still used, and show the great influx and importance that should have.

Road to Colca

Traditions and Celebrations of Colca

The knowledge contained in the traditions and customs, still keep the biocentric and agrocentric culture of their ancestors.

Reading the Coca Leaf

The villagers still have faith in the mother earth and the spirits that live in the mountains. Celebrating ancestral ceremony.
They emphasize the tikapallana, a flower harvesting party, where it was offered to the nature, for the animals and the abundance granted to the men .

Economy of Colca

Agriculture and Animal Husbandry

Colca’s main activity is agriculture and livestock. For thousands of years this town has developed ancestral agriculture, they cultivate an immense variety of crops including potatoes, corn, tarwi, olluco, maswa, kiwicha or amaranth, quinoa and many more.

Their work system is still the traditional one, such as Ayni mutual aid, minka communal aid, aid to fellow Wayka.

The payment to the land continues to be practiced as gratitude and causing nature to continue providing food.

Likewise, they breed llamas, alpacas, guinea pigs, chickens, sheep, cows, horses, among others.

Inca mining in Colca

In the Colca area there are samples of old mining operations. Precisely for that fact, it owes its name to the area: Cotabambas, which comes from the Quechua word kutaqpampa, which means place where gold is ground.

It is no coincidence that approximately 150 km away is the largest mining operation in South America called Las Bambas, operated by a Chinese company.

Artisanal Mining

Recently, artisanal mining has been developing. As an alternative to the economy of its population.

The environment

In the same province where Colca is located, there is the Las Bambas Mining Project, which has been operating for 10 years. What had generated expectations regarding the economic movement of the area. However, such a situation has not been yet.

Volunteer Abroad Program in Colca