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Published: September 4th 2018
The Cañon de Colca, the 2nd deepest canyon in the world (the first being only a few hundred kms away from here in Peru), dropping by at times 3000 meters from top to bottom!
Arequipa is the place where people base themselves to get there either by organised tour or as we did, by ourselves.
Arequipa in its self was quite nice although we didn't think there was too much to see and do from our perspective. We used it as a place to relax and take a breather after some busy weeks on the move. The main plaza was a nice place to sit and people watch and the city has a nice back drop of El Misti volcano.
The following day we got a bus to Chivay, the main starting point for the canyon. Here we continued our relaxing, knowing that a two day hike was looming.
We enjoyed a hot soak in the local thermal hot pools which are located 3km out of town on the shallow canyons edge. The thermal pools had 5 different pools of varying heat and we pool hopped for a few hours while enjoying some views.
The pools were really good, better
than the ones we went to in Huaraz. It was also a good move to go early in the morning as there are less people. Some of the pools are small and you can only imagine how packed it could be, especially on weekends. And like Huaraz, we were the only foreigners! It was definitely a great place to go to and we enjoyed a 3km walk back in to town too.
The next day we took the limited local bus to Cabanaconde which is where you start the 'classic' trek (two days, one night) of the canyon.
We decided to do the trek ourselves but it can be done on a tour and surprisingly it seemed about the same price, however, if it's done by tour and from Arequipa, you have to get up at 3am, drive 6-7 hours and then walk 6-7 hrs in the heat. The next day is followed by leaving at 5 am and slogging it uphill for 3-4 hours and straight back on the bus back to Arequipa for 6 hours. Talk about tiring!
I think we chose well to do it ourselves as we had time and flexibility. We started the trek
at 10 although its recommended to leave early due to the heat. The trek is a loop and can be done both ways. The view just from the start of the trek is incredible! Mountains looming high and far and the canyon stretching long and deep.
It was hot already at only 10am and its winter! Summer must feel intense! The first 6km and almost 4 hours is downhill until you reach the river and by then you're begging for lunch which is at the first village. Then another 3 hours up, down and around to the oasis of Sangalle. Sangalle has only three places to stay with swimming pools. The temperature overnight was quite warm as we had dropped from 3400 masl to 2300. It's quite cool to see some green amongst a landscape of grey and dry.
Doing the trek ourselves and planning to stay in Cabanaconde the next day meant we were able to enjoy a little sleep in compared to groups that leave at 5 am. On the downside it meant it was hotter and it's uphill for 3-4 hours with little escape from the sun. It was important to have plenty of water
We eventually made it to the very sleepy and almost deserted Cabanaconde by 12 and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing.
It was a really good trek but physically demanding on the body although definitely worth it. There are other trails that lead to longer and more remote walks but in the hot and dry climate, the two day one night option was quite sufficient.
This area was going to be the last of our travels in Peru! A bus was ready to take us to Puno at Lake Titicaca but we are going to explore the lake from the Bolivian side.
Peru surpassed our expectations! The landscape is so varied and the places we visited didn't disappoint. I'm glad there's more to the country than Machu Picchu!
Tot: 3.193s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 11; qc: 51; dbt: 0.0526s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb