Colca Canyon - Day 3

Trip Start May 12, 2013
Trip End Jul 30, 2013

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Flag of Peru  , Cusco,
Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Got out at 6am to find the mule owner already waiting for us outdoors. We walked out of the village, where 6 mules were parked. There was another British lady with the four of us, and we waited some time for a local Peruvian to get on the last mule.

Once that happened, the mules automatically started on the path up to the Cabanaconde village, on top of the canyon. We are currently at around 2100m above sea level, and the village was almost 3300m above sea level, a 1200m climb! Had we not taken the mules we had to set off on a 3 hour uphill hike at 5am. Lucky us.

The mules were amazing animals. And I felt a hint of sadness for them when they just kept getting pushed to move by their owner. I had to hold tight to the saddle as the uphill climb was filled with steep steps. Often, my boots would come off the pedals as well, and I had to fish for the pedals back. The mules didn't seem to like each other much: when my mule went near the other mule in front, it would whip it's tail hard, and it even hit me once - it hurt. Poor mules had to get whipped everyday.

The road was bumpy, and I figured my buttocks started to hurt as we made it uphill. The mules made it up in barely 2 hours. Nearer to the top we caught up with the hikers who had set off before us. Their faces said it all.

It was money well spent as we had to rest our legs for the inca trail as well. It was a great experience and took many photos along the way, though it was super bumpy at times.

We had breakfast at the village, before getting picked up by a minivan to send us back to Arequipa, making several photo stops along the way.

The first was on our request, back at the Cruz del Condor to see the condors we missed out on on the first day. Sadly, there were none again. They probably had taken off already as the weather was sunny.

Next we stopped at the Inca terraces viewpoint, which was amazing. The horizon was littered with layers and layers of terraces where the Incas once grew their crops.

Then we went to some village with locals selling goods, and allowing tourist to pose with their pet eagle and alpaca at a price.

The bus then headed to Chivay, where we parted ways with our guide, Cheeky.

Two more stops were made before we hit Arequipa. The first was kinda lame - a viewpoint at the highest point of the canyon to see the volcanoes and mountains. They were there but were so far away. Plus the air was really thin and cold so we got out of there quickly. Next was a quick stop to take pictures of a herd of alpacas.

Went back to our favorite restaurant at plaza de Armas once we arrived for the 11 soles menu. Then headed back to the hostel to pack our bags for our night bus to Cuzco

Arequipa, Peru
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