Condors and Llamas in the Colca Valley

Trip Start Nov 29, 2008
Trip End May 08, 2009

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Flag of Peru  , Colca Canyon,
Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well, we finished our volunteering at Jardin Belen which was so sad as we LOVE the children! We really enjoyed working with them and had a great time trying to teach them "heads, shoulders, knees and toes" in English...the 4 year olds of Jill and Georgi's class mostly just got the actions down, but the 5 year olds of Hev's class managed to grasp it a little better. We all enjoyed it anyway and the teachers especially appreciated the effort and got us to write the words down so they could continue learning it. When we left the teachers told us how much they had enjoyed having us as we were the only volunteers there in a long time. They also bought us a pretty bag each and got the classes to ask god to keep us safe and they told us they loved us! Sooooo sweet! We had a nice fun last night out which ended at 4 and we then got the bus at 5am to Arequipa...this was interesting! But we made it there in the end after a 10 hour journey where the creepy bus driver stared at Jill the whole time rather than the road! This is NOT a quality we like in bus drivers!  

The next day after a nice long nights sleep we headed of on our tour of the Colca Canyon. It was really good value for money at $20 for a two day tour including the nights accommodation and an amazing guide for the whole time. The whole trip was brilliant! We were in a group of 16 people from various countries in a little bus. We basically slowly traveled to Chivay in the Colca Valley with lots of stops for beautiful view points along the way. We saw lots of llamas, vicuņas, alpacas, volcanos and one condor. This was all very exciting and we took a lot of photos, we have TRIED to only upload the best, this does however seem to still amount to about 140 photos....  
We went to some thermal springs in the mountains which was LOVELY, so relaxing and it felt quite deserved after our strenuous working with children, sitting on buses and partying! We enjoyed a nice jugo and beer in the thermal pool. In the evening we went for a nice dinner of various traditional Peruvian foods including alpaca goulash which was delicious! We also enjoyed a show of some traditional dances from the area including the "Love" dance and the "Malaria" dance which involved a display of the dancers biting an apple then falling to the floor and shaking. They then whipped these dancers with malaria as apparently in the past that was believed to be the right thing to do! Hev got up and danced with them and then at the end we all had to get up and dance with them as it was believed to be us massaging the belly of mother earth and we could then get our wish, which, of course, was to see lots of condors the next day during our visit to condor view point.  

We had an interesting night  as SOMEHOW we managed to lock our bathroom door from the inside...all was well again when we got the girl to open it when she came for our 5am wake up call. We then headed pretty much straight for the Condor view point which is a view point which looks out over the Colca Canyon, which is apparently the deepest canyon in the world (I think this is subject to debate) but whether the deepest or not it was a really impressive view and a very dramatic looking canyon. In this canyon and the area around it there is thought to be around 50 condors but they can only be seen occasionally. I think that the dancing massage did the trick as we were so so lucky and saw LOADS of condors.

A lot of them were really close to us as well. It was absolutely incredible. They are huge! We must have seen about 11 in total, sometimes 5 at once were just flying around us. We stayed at this point for about an hour and a half just gawping in amazement at these fantastic birds floating around the equally impressive canyon. The condors are around 3 meters by 1.5. We also saw a brown eagle which was about 1.5 meters long which clearly paled in comparison to the amazing condors. 

We stopped at other various view points and towns in the Valley which were all incredibly stunning. In a town called Maca we tried some of the fruits that are only found in the Valley and we also came across a random man with a eagle which we held! Very exciting!

There are a lot of random and very interesting facts which I (Jill) cannot remember that we were told throughout our tour. Hopefully Heather will remember them and add some in later.
Slideshow Report as Spam
Where I stayed
Hostal Santa Carolina
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