Swim your heart outSangalle, Peru
The Colca Canyon is one of the deepest in the world (twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, in fact) and a magnet for tourists who visit to spot giant birds of prey at Cruz del Condor and see the pre-Incan ruins of Kallimarka. But few venture into the canyon itself, a rugged knee-crunching hike that rewards the energetic with a valley-floor dip that’s not to be missed.
The oasis of Sangalle is where the desert becomes sub-tropical and lush vegetation surrounds a surprising series of man-made swimming pools filled with spring water. Most do the three-hour downhill hike from the town of Cabanaconde and stay overnight before hitting the trail for the steep walk back.
While the walk can be completed on your lonesome, it can be risky and difficult to navigate the maze-like terrain. Signing up with a tour operator is your best bet.
Peruvian Colca Trails offer two-day hikes from US$130 per person.
Make sure you’re in top-notch physical condition – the path to get to the oasis is tricky and can be dangerous.
Buy your own bottled water beforehand, prices are a lot dearer within the canyon and you’ll get thirsty in the heat.