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Visit the well-known Canyon of the Lost in Ica

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Visit the well-known Canyon of the Lost in Ica

If you want to visit Ica and its beautiful tourist places, you have to take a tour of the Canyon of the Lost! This natural attraction is currently little explored despite having great potential as a tourist heritage.


Despite the fact that the formation of the canyon is more than 20 million years old, it was discovered in 2011 and, since then, it began to form part of the immense list of tourist attractions in Peru.


The Canyon of the Lost, a new tourist destination

In 2011, the members of the Association for the Promotion of Tourism and Culture of Ocucaje began a journey into the desert in two separate groups. Finally only one of them managed to reach the canyon, while the other group got lost on the way.


One of the travelers was the journalist Maycol Herrera Bendezú, who decided to baptize the place as "El Cañón de los Perdidos", as a way of remembering those who got lost in the middle of the trip. Likewise, he decided to give the same title to his journalistic note in which he recounted everything that had happened and which was published in the newspaper Correo, regional edition of Ica.


The Canyon of the Lost has an approximate extension of two kilometers and an average depth of 200 to 300 meters. It is the ideal place for trekking lovers.


It has two particular levels with different characteristics each:

  • The first level of the canyon is the one near the mouth of the Ica River, in that part there is more vegetation and the fauna is mainly made up of herons and other birds.
  • On the second level of the canyon are "Cara de Puma" and "Ojo de Pez" and it is a water well that appears as a result of rain and subsoil water.

The most extensive part of the canyon is where the so-called "Plaza Caracol" is located, made up of rock formations and a semi-natural roof. At this point it is recommended that you go with an experienced guide, since it is the most uneven stretch of the canyon and the adventure becomes much more challenging.


Geographically, you will be on the same route that the Dry River of Ica ran through, since the canyon was a seabed that, with the passage of wind and water, formed what we know today. However, paleontologists comment that it was a water reserve due to the fossil remains of animals such as whales and sharks that are found there, as well as sea shells, birds and other species.


Reasons to visit the Canyon of the Lost

Here are 5 reasons to visit the Canyon of the Lost in Ica. We are sure that you will remember this trip for a long time. Take note!


You will travel a unique dune route

El Cañón is located in the southwest of the district of Santiago, in the province and department of Ica.


To get to this natural attraction you will have to travel 90 kilometers from the city of Ica, which will take approximately 2 hours. Leaving the city, you must take the Panamericana Sur highway and at km. 339 you will find a detour to the right, which is the entrance to the Ica district of Callango.


Follow this detour along a trail path that will lead you to Boca del Río, on the left bank of Callango.


As you get to the Canyon, you will notice that the famous vultures or crows appear. You will also be able to see these birds while you are going down to the base of the canyon, which will take you about 30 minutes on average.


You will learn about the fauna of the Ica desert

The particular ecosystem of the coastal desert will give you a glimpse of the species typical of these scenarios. As soon as you arrive, you will see many species of birds, the most common being crows.


Also, throughout the journey through the Canyon you will see small reptiles running through the desert. Without a doubt, you will feel a very special connection with this natural setting.


You will be part of mysterious and beautiful paths

The name of this Canyon is one of the most peculiar among the natural attractions that the Ica region offers. Like all good names, there is a great story behind it, and this shows the importance of its geological configuration.


The name of Cañón de los Perdidos arises, thus, after an expedition carried out by the then mayor Pablo Alvites together with a number of residents and the local journalist Maycol Herrera. When this group of people was going to the place, they got lost, getting lost for a couple of hours. Upon finally reaching the Canyon, the journalist decided to title his report with the name "Canyon of the Lost."


You will explore the particular characteristics of the Canyon

The Canyon has 4 levels in which you can observe various natural features that have been formed over millions of years. Each of these particularities makes up the beauty of the Canyon.


A first zone of the Canyon is the mouth with the Ica river. This is the part with the most vegetation, where several herons can be seen, giving the space an air of an oasis. Without a doubt, it is a favorable setting to take many photographs.


The Cougar Face and the Fish Eye are found on the second level of the Canyon and are the most popular attractions. The Ojo de Pez is a kind of stagnant water hole, caused by rain and subsoil water and is located under the Face of the Puma. This is a fairly sharp and sharp image on the sand.


The gorge or gorge is the longest part of the canyon. You have to be very careful here because of its uneven floors. There is also the Plaza Caracol, which is made up of various rocky configurations and a kind of natural semi-roof.


You will discover a little more about the natural history of Ica

Several studies have determined that the Canyon was a seabed and that its estimated age is between 20 and 30 million years. In this territory, paleontologists have also found various fossilized remains of marine animals, such as whales, sharks, seashells, birds and others. The longest fossil found was that of a whale measuring around 30 meters.


Facts about the Canyon of the Lost

  • Usually tours carried out by authorized agencies that include a trekking circuit are taken. These services have a price that oscillates between S/.150 soles, which include costs of transportation, guidance, and refreshments.
  • The recommended minimum age to do the tour in the Canyon of the Lost is 14 to 16 years old, due to the demands of the walk.

What will you see in the Canyon of the Lost?

  • The mouth with the Ica river: it is the part with the greatest vegetation, in which -product of migrations- herons are found giving that space a touch of oasis.
  • Garganta or Gorge: it is the most extensive part of the canyon
  • Plaza Caracol: it was baptized like this by the reporter Luis Miranda, thanks to its shape and in addition to having a semi-roof.
  • The face of the Puma: it can be observed in the stopped form that presents the image of the face of a feline: its eyes, its nose and its mouth.
  • Ojo de Pez: it is a kind of stagnant water hole, caused by rain and by subsoil water. It is located under "The Face of the Puma".

How to get to the Canyon of the Lost?

By Car

The Lost Canyon is located about 83 kilometers from the city of Ica and to get there it is necessary to take the Panamericana Sur highway. To enter the area you have to take a detour at kilometer 339, next to the entrance to Callango.


The approximate travel time by car is about two and a half hours from Ica. After parking, you will have to walk for approximately 30 minutes to finally reach this magnificent canyon.


By Bus

If you decide to go by bus, it will take a little longer, but it is still an accessible route for any tourist. To get there you must take any bus that has the city of Ica as its destination, through the Panamericana Sur highway. In Ica you will see that from 6:00 AM the tourists begin to crowd to start their trip. It's the perfect time to find adventure partners! Initially you will arrive at Ocucaje, and from there you will begin the path to the Canyon of the Lost.


What should you carry in your backpack?

  • Water.
  • A bag for waste and thus not contaminate the environment.
  • Light clothing.
  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.


  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages inside the canyon.
  • Do not enter the interior of the canyon with vehicles.
  • Do not drive anywhere, since fossil remains are found and the tires can damage them.
  • Do not go alone, since no one could help you in an emergency.

Ocucaje Attractions

If you are visiting the Canyon of the Lost, we recommend you take a tour of Ocucaje, which is only 40 km away. Here you can continue exploring more natural attractions typical of the ecosystem and geological configuration of the region.


Ocucaje Paleontological Cemetery

This cemetery is one of the most important paleontological excavation centers in the region. Marine species dating back more than 1.8 million years have been found there. It is for this reason that it has become an area of great interest for those who want to learn a little more about the natural history of the coastal territory.


In this place you can find remains of the largest marine predator, the giant shark, or better known as megalodon. Likewise, different species of whales, turtles, birds, reptiles and mollusks belonging to the lower, middle and Pliocene Miocene have been found.


Dune The Lizard

Duna El Lagarto is well known for being the perfect setting for tournaments and competitions in the discipline of sandboarding. If you like this sport or any other similar one, you have to visit this Dune.


Pampas of Stones

8 kilometers before reaching the Canyon of the Lost, you have to visit the mysterious and enigmatic Pampa de Piedras, which is located in the Pampas de Gamonal. This rock configuration is believed to have been created due to the fall of a meteorite, which caused several rocks to be scattered in a very unique way throughout the place.


There you will be able to observe very particular figures such as El Sapo, La Tortuga, La Paloma or the Cabeza de Caballo.


One of the characteristics that attracts the most attention from tourists is the Magic Eye, which is a hole through which tourists take very original photographs.


Other tourist attractions of Ica

If the previous natural attractions were not enough, you also have a great tourist offer around the city of Ica. You can reach this destination by bus from Lima, transport companies such as Oltursa, Peru Bus and Tepsa carry out this route. The approximate price of the ticket starts at S/.25, and the average travel time is 4 and a half hours.



Ica is known for being fertile land for the harvest of grapes and their derivative products. It is for this reason that many tourists take advantage of their stay in the city of Ica to make different visits and tours to the main wineries in the city.


On these tours you will not only learn more about the grape harvest process, but also taste the most important selections from the vineyards.


Huacachina Lagoon

The Huacachina Lagoon is a very particular oasis in the world. It is a large lagoon that appears in the middle of the desert. Take advantage of your stay in Ica and visit a little more of this lagoon. Around it there is a wide range of restaurants and lodgings.


Also, in the dunes that surround this oasis you can practice the famous sandboarding or buggy circuits. This is a perfect plan if you are traveling with the family!


Best Tours in Peru

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Entrance Tickets in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.

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