Condors in the Colca Canyon
Trip Start Oct 14, 2009
19Trip End Dec 03, 2009
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We took a quick tour of the city from the transfer bus and then checked into our hotel. We then went to dinner with most of our group and also went to watch some of the qualifying World Cup soccer games that were on. When we arrived back to our hotel we checked our emails and discovered that unfortunately one or both of our credit/debit cards had been compromised and a large sum of money had been taken from our account... Of course we called the bank and were told that since the amounts were only pending on the account there was nothing that they could do yet, but they canceled our cards
So while that was all going on we were still determined to have a good time and enjoy the Colca Canyon which is huge and spectacular. The locals refer to it as "almost better than the Grand Canyon".
Getting to the Colca Canyon is a bit challenging, there aren't many paved roads, and the dirt roads are in pretty bad repair, so it was bumpy and dusty most of the way. And it is definitely the desert out there, they only get about 150mls of rain a year (Adelaide eat your heart out!). No trees or greenery to be seen. So we're not sure how the llamas, alpacas, vicunas (similar to the llama) or cows and sheep live out there!
We reached our hotel in the afternoon and then a few of us opted for a short hike up a hill close to the hotel where we could see some old tombs from pre-Inca days and see some of the skeletons of the indigenous people who used to practice skull deformations
It was an interesting walk, but the best part was the sunset which was just gorgeous - all orange and red, in contrast with the very blue of the sky above the desert. Just amazing.
We ended the night with a delicious dinner prepared by the staff at the hotel. A buffet (which is pretty rare here), that included a lot of local dishes, including alpaca meat.
The next day we got up quite early to start the day with a drive to the Colca Canyon, in order to see the condors as they ride the thermals. After another long, bumpy and dusty ride, we reached the Colca Canyon. It is quite impressive and I did notice similarities between this canyon and the Grand Canyon. After a little while we saw two condors riding the thermals
In the afternoon we went to the local hot springs and enjoyed some relaxing time there. The waters are heated by the volcanoes nearby and the water has a slight smell of sulphur, but the water was about 39C, so nice and warm.
We again had a nice dinner in our hotel and played some cards with some of our friends from our tour group and then went to bed. Back to Arequipa tomorrow for one night and then we take the overnight bus the following night to Nazca.