This is reputedly one of the deepest canyon in the world, averaging 3140m for the stretch between the mountain villages of Chivay and Cabanaconde, almost twice as deep as the more renowned Grand Canyon in the States. Cabanaconde(3280m) seen here just behind is a convenient place to start the hike to the bottom of the canyon. Descending for about 1,000m the hike is steep at parts but is not difficult and the trail is wide and easy to follow. Colca river which gouges out this spectacular landscape however, is not that spectacular. There are several villages near the bottom where simple lodgings are offered. The villages seemingly perching onto the opposite hillside precariously are Cosnirhua (2,660m) and Tapay (2,800m) respectively.
South America makes up the southern half of the Americas and a large part of Latin America. It's home to the world's longest mountain range, biggest waterfall and largest river -- even these mammoths pale in comparison to the stunning variety of life forms thriving in the rainforest. To the northwest, off the coast of Ecuador, lie the Galapagos Islands, which are unique for hosting species not found anywhere else on earth. These were the subject of study for Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution, which he himself said will require proof in every single case. The main languages in South America are Spanish and Portugese, which basically tells you which European countries colonized the place. The South American wars of independence took place over two decades in the early 19th century, led by Simon Bolivar of Venezuela and Jose san Martin of Argentina. Following liberation from Portugal and Spain, South America took off into its own development, capitalizing on the rich deposits of oil, gold, copper, silver and tango musicians. Brazil is the largest country in South America and home to one of the world's best parties, Carnaval. Have you heard of samba music? How about bossa nova? Maybe dancing for three days straight? I can't say enough good things about South America. All the world's continents have amazing secrets and treasures laying in wait for your discovery, but in South America... just have a look at our pictures while you're waiting for online confirmation of your plane tickets to hit your inbox.Text by Steve Smith.