2 days around the huge Colca Canyon

Trip Start Jul 21, 2006
Trip End Sep 01, 2006

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Flag of Peru  , Colca Canyon,
Wednesday, August 9, 2006

To visit the Colca Canyon, we first had to reach the town of Chivay. Reaching Chivay was already a real little adventure as we had to cross the beautiful landscapes of the Andes Cordillera, and more specifically the Salinas Y Aguada Blanca National Reserve. The landscapes varied greatly, from snowy peaks to semi-desert areas and high-mountain wetlands called "bofedales". The most common animals of the Andes, the llama and the alpaca, could be seen frequently, and we were even allowed to hug the cute baby llamas !

While approaching Chivay, we could distinguish the deep Colca Valley and its cultivation terraces which were built before the Inca era. After arriving in Chivay, in the evening, we went to enjoy a swimming pool, but not any swimming pool, wonderful hot springs !

On our way to the Canyon, following the valley, we passed by little villages like Yanque and Macas, with nice little churches and colorfully clothed people. There were exceptional viewpoints along the road, with a huge precipice 20 cm away from your feet and overlooking the whole immense valley. 

Later the slopes of the valley become even steeper, that's the Colca Canyon. It is said to be one of the deepest canyons on earth, and while wandering along the edge of this canyon, we were frequently accompanied by the majestic condors, the mythical bird of the Andes. One that had maybe a 2-3 meter wingspan, came to fly only a few meters above my head. 

The town of Chivay itself is nothing more than a quiet Andean town, developing thanks to the tourism industry to the canyon. Some streets are not paved, and the little market brings a pleasant traditional atmosphere. 

On the road back to Arequipa, we got to cross the same impressive immense landscapes, with a stop at 4910 m, which was the highest spot I had ever walked in. 
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