Araquipa and Colca Canyon

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September 30th 2008
Published: November 24th 2008
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After a night bus from Nasca we arrived in Arequipa early in the morning and took a taxi to a hostel, which was a renovated mansion in the middle of town. Our room was really nice and not very expensive. We spent the rests of the day exploring and had lunch on a sunny restaurant patio. That day we also signed up to do a two day hike in Colca Canyon. We went to bed early that night because we had to wake up at 2am to catch a bus 5 hours to the Colca Canyon. The bus was miserable though, smelly, and crammed and we were barely able to sleep. Finally we arrived at this tiny town where we had breakfast and then hiked about 20 minutes to the start of the trail and our first sight of the canyon. Colca Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon. Looking down we couldn’t see the bottom but we could see a couple small villages on the side of the canyon which we would later walk through. We hiked down a very arid trail a total of about 6 hours, stopping for lunch in one of the small villages, just long enough to get a quick nap in the sun as well. We reached the bottom of the canyon and our oasis hostel at about 5pm when the sun was just slipping past the side of the canyon. There was a pool there but it was too cold to go in. We were shown to our hut which had only beds and a dirt floor. We immediately had dinner and then went to bed because we were so tired. In the middle of the night I felt extremely nauseous and felt like I was going to throw up the whole night and I didn’t sleep at all. Then when we had to wake up at 3am I still felt sick and right when we started our 5 hour hike out I started throwing up all over the trail. I did feel better after throwing up but after struggling for 45 minutes hiking, I threw up again and our guide got a donkey for me. I was so embarrassed to be taking a donkey but there way no way I would have made it out of there feeling so bad. After what Rachel and Amanda said was a grueling hike out we made it back to the start and took the bus back to Arequipa. Along the way we stopped to see the condors (giant birds with huge wingspans which the canyon is known for). However, I was still feeling so sick that I had to lie down and I feel asleep on a bench with tons of tourist surrounding me. But by the time we got back to the city I was feeling much better and was able to meet up with our friend from Lima, Luciano for dinner that night.
The next day we relaxed after our intense hiking experience. That night Amanda’s friends Rory and Antonio, who went to school at Brown, met up with us and we all had drinks in our room and then went out to the bars. Arequipa proved to have a fun night life! The next day we again just hung out, walked around the city and found a nice hotel on the side of the river and sat in the grass there talking for the afternoon. The next morning we left for Lake Titicaca.

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