Day 35 (Colca Canyon)

Trip Start Feb 13, 2007
Trip End Apr 13, 2007

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

We get a traditional andean breakfast this morning, then bid farewell to the family and walk 2 min to the main plaza, we meet the tour bus at 07:15
In the square are many stalls selling peruvian type stuff, alpaca knitted goods, bright cloth, etc also ladies with alpacas kitted out in colourful dress, which you can have photos taken with, even baby alpacas, and remarkably also large eagles, which you can have on your arm for a photo
We start the drive to the lookout point, a good hour or so away along gravel roads along the side of the canyon, the views are spectacular, we are hoping to see condors cruising in the air, there are over 30 in the area
The entire landscape is layered, with precision rock walls built everywhere, you can see how almost every single piece of suitable land has been cultivated, I will try get some photos up, we get steadily higher as we climb towards the viewpoint
When we get there just after 9am its pretty cold, overcast, and dissapointingly not condor weather, there are many tourists here, all hoping for the condors, but instead have to be satisfied with the incredible views of the canyon from the viewpoint
We leave later and head back, this time stopping along the way for photos, we spot the local colca rabbit, its identical to any other rabbit you have seen, except it has a tail, funny
At one stop we get very lucky, a pair of condors come cruising out from behind a peak, and circle for about 10 mins, a third makes an appearance, its not as great as seeing them up close at the viewpoint, but its a fortunate sighting as many other people today will have seen nothing
Back at Chivay the others get 20 min at the hot springs, then its lunch and the drive back to Arequipa, I chat most of the way home to Otavio, an Italian, who is wearing a springbok fleece, bought during his 18 month stint working in Joburg, he has an interesting job that sees him permanently travelling, he doesn't even have a home, just two boxes in storage, and his bag of belongings,  he is off to Cusco for a week to stay with a friend after this
Back at the hostel we get a better room than last time, and finally that rare south american commodity, hot water, its an early night as the taxi picks us up at 04:15 for our 5am bus to Puno, we have had so many early mornings since we arrived in Peru I have forgotten how to get a decent nights sleep
Our trip to the Colca Canyon cost $40 and is well worth the money, our whirlwind south coast tour has yielded some real gems
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