Canyon Country, Awesome !!!

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South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon
July 16th 2009
Published: July 19th 2009
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Coming up the trail to Cabanaconde.
The road from Arequipa to Cabanaconde climbs up to 4800m before descending about 1500m to Chivay, then it runs along the edge of the Canyon del Colca to Cabanaconde. It's a dusty, rough and bumpy journey on a bus with no leg room - not much fun, but as always the destination makes up for the journey. We are really lucky with our timing, it's the Fiesta Virgen del Carmen which lasts 4 days !!! so every night the local people dress in traditional costume, bands play, people dance, there are fireworks, street food - it's great :-) We came here expecting a great hike into the canyon, we weren't disappointed - it's spectacular, and very tough. Cabanaconde is ~3300m above sea level, the oasis at the bottom is ~2200m. Going down those 1100mm took 2.5 hours and by the time we reached the oasis we were ready for something to eat and drink, fortunately there are 3 camps there with bars, restaurants and swimming pools - talk about living a remote and isolated life, there is no electricity, no phones, no tv and all the supplies have to come in by mule, nice for a day but not the life

The whole family were on the trail.
for me. After a couple of hours relaxing and a carb heavy lunch we set out to climb the 1100m back up to Cabanaconde, it wasn't as bad as we expected, by keeping a steady pace, stopping to rest frequently and drinking plenty of water we made it up in 3 hours. At the top we were tired, dusty and dirty but had a great feeling of achievement and having seen some great sights. The people that do this day in day out are incredibly tough, when we were about 800m above the oasis we saw a local person coming up the path about 200m or 300m below us, when we reached the top they appeared about 5 minutes later dressed in everyday clothes and worn out sandals !!! We walked towards town together trying to talk in our pidgin Spanish, he had been to a village on the other side of the canyon - further than us, and his mother is 90 years old - probably putting him in his mid 60s !!!!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 7, Displayed: 7



The oasis at the bottom of the canyon is where we're heading.

Atsuko on the trail down the canyon.

Very welcoming after a long, hot walk down.

31st August 2009

motion sickness
Love your pictures. We are going to Peru for 14 days. I have a problem with motion sickness. Can you advise how to deal with it? Is the Colca Canyon worth the pain of getting there? Does it make sense to go from Lima to Colca Canyon on the 2nd day of our arrival ? Thx Zofia
6th September 2009

Hi Zofia Thanks. Colca is definitely worth it, we went there from Arequipa as we were told that was where the only regular buses went from, but when we were in Chivay we saw a bus that went to and from Puno. Motion sickness or altitude sickness ? If altitude sickness it would be tough doing it just after sea level at Lima, better to give yourself a few days of acclimatisation. If you have Titicaca in your itinerary doing Colca after that would probably be easier. I'd be happy to share any other things we learnt. Have a great trip Cheers Martin

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