Arequipa and Colca Canyon
Trip Start Jun 13, 2006
177Trip End Jun 12, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Our second and third day in the Arequipa area were taken up in a tour to see our main interest in the area - Colca Canyon. Colca Canyon is a candidate for the deepest canyon it the world - it currently counts as the deepest but a neighboring canyon may actually be deeper but they don't know - can you believe that, you would think they could just zap it with a satellite and find out but they actually have to do an expedition (with GPS sensors) to find out!
The canyon is about 4 hours away from Arequipa but the drive was broken up with a few stops. We saw a few Vacuņas (like Llamas and Alpacas but wild), learnt the difference between Alpacaa & Llamas and, supported by coca tea, went to the highest point we have ever been on land: 4910m above sea level (on the Inca trail we got to 4200m). The coca tea stop included free entertainment in the form of a sugar addicted sheep cleaning the remnants of a spilt sugar bowl from our table!
We got to Chivay in time for lunch (Alpaca steaks - yum) and then headed out on a fairly breathless hike up what in Peru is a fairly low hill
That evening the group went to a touristy restaurant with local folk dancing, the kind of place we usually avoid like the plague, but it was actually quite good fun. The last dance involved each of the dancers lying on the floor as if in shock while the other tried to revive them by fanning them and hitting them with a piece of rope, which was all very well until they started dragging people up to join in - the photos have been destroyed! The highlight for Dean was lying flat on his back with a girl flapping her skirt over his head... part of the dance apparently!
The second day started at Cruz del Condor, which is apparently a good place to see condors. Cruz del Condor or Condor Cross was thought to be the deepest part of the canyon until a couple of years ago but it has since been proved not to be, the deepest bit is further downstream. We had a nice walk to the viewpoint and then hung around for about an hour but no condors, it's nesting season so they must have had other things on their minds than showing off to tourists
When we got back to Arequipa we took an impromptu break from our travels. We went to a fantastic restaurant which was quite expensive by Peruvian standards (read dirt cheap by UK standards) called El Turko II. We had some really good food (possible the best since Evil Dave's in Jasper, Canada), nice wine and it all felt quite posh, very nice indeed! It will be up bright and early tomorrow for a bus to Puno on Lake Titicaca our last stop in Peru before journeying to the distant lands of Bolivia!