Tourists generally arrive in Chivay, a nice and very friendly town at the beginning of the canyon, with plenty of hotels and hostels, and restaurants–as well as La Calera hot springs. Chivay is a good place to look for high-quality, locally-produced crafts, in particular goods hand-knitted from 100% alpaca fiber, and elaborately embroidered goods produced by hand on sewing machines (hats, coin purses, belts, etc.)
Archeological sites include the Caves of Mollepunko (map) above Callalli where rock art (said to be 6,000 years old) depicts the domestication of the alpaca; the Mummy of Paraqra, above Sibayo; the Fortaleza de Chimpa, a reconstructed mountaintop citadel that looks down on Madrigal; ruins of pre-Hispanic settlements throughout the valley; and many others.
Cultural attractions include the Wititi festival in Chivay, named as a “cultural heritage” of Peru. The Colca is also well known for crafts: goods knitted from baby alpaca fiber and a unique form of embroidery that adorns skirts (polleras), hats, vests, and other items of daily wear and use.
Cruz Del Condor (map). The most popular spot for viewing condors. The best time for condor sighting is in the morning, between 07:00 and 09:00. If you arrive at 07:00 you have about an hour of solitude before the package tours arrive around 08:00.