Condors, Canyons and calve muscles

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Peru  ,
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Left Chivay at 6am after breakfast and stopped on the way at viewpoints of incan terraces where we are told that there are 3,500 types of potatoes grown in Peru and that there is also a National Institute for the Potato. Bet you never knew that.

We then stopped at Yanque another colonial town with a nice square and 17th century church with locals doing their local ´love´ dance done at festival time. Was great to watch esp with the mountains and church in the background.

We then got to Cruz del Condor, the main focus of our trip. This is where the condors fly in the mornings mainly due to the thermals and temperature and the ´offerings´ which are given here. There were loads of buses and tourists and we all sat in anticipation waiting for the show. Condors apparently have a wingspan of 3.5metres which is pretty incredible. After a wait a couple decided to cruise past. They dont have to flap at all. Was amazing to watch. We occasionally saw them go back and forth before it was time for us to go onwards on a local bus to Cabanaconde the next town.

We now had a new guide, Eduardo, (havent met a Davido or Kevino yet though) and were with 2 other Japanese tourists for the next 2 days trekking. They were really interesting as they are sailing around the world on a 40 ft boat currently docked in Panama.

We started our trek down the steep sides of the 1km high canyon. It is pretty impressive to look down esp as you can see the villages and houses dotted around and paths zig zaggin up and down. Naturally there is no transport, apart from mules, in the whole valley. Was not as stark a drop as the Grand Canyon though. The path was very stony and rocky and dusty and the temperature increased as we descended and the sun rose. It was quite slippy in parts and your calves and knees start to hurt after a while. We stopped briefly at the base of the canyon by the bridge over the small river. By this time we were looking forward to going up as it would be easier on our knees and a bit different. That didnt last long. It was v hot and any ascents were hard work. We got to San Juan de Chucco by lunchtime and had a good relax and lunch. We then carried on uphill a bit and then undulating past streams, small houses and saw no other tourists for a long time. As we reached a high point again we could see our destination, the Oasis. Our home for the night with a swimming pool glistening in the distance. You have no idea how much we wanted to be in there!

We descended down the valley and past some other tourists and eventually got to the Oasis. We were shown our bamboo hut with bed and headed straight to the swimming pool which was lovely and still in the sunshine. We popped open the champagne we had brought with us (it is our anniversary) and sat and drunk it. It was Peruvian and cost about 2 quid. Was quite sweet but ok but put us off from going to Ica, the place where Peruvian wines tend to be made!

After the sun went down we headed to the shower and got ready for an early dinner. Were joined by other tourists and after dinner were told by Eduardo that we needed to get up at 2.30am (yes you read it correctly) to go up the valley to get the 6am bus as there was no room on later buses. We had been told we would need to go at about 4am and get the 8 or 9 bus so werent v happy esp as would mean walking in the dark. Fortunately the Japanese couple agreed too and we decided to chance getting a later bus or a tourist bus.
Were in bed by about 8pm!
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