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South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon
April 1st 2011
Published: April 4th 2011
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Another coach journey and more interesting facts and figures and tall tales from Max our tour guide.

Today we were on our way to the Colca Canyon region where we were hoping to see the amazing condors. We would be going to our highest point of the trip at just under 5000m. As we headed out of Ariquipa we were lucky enough to have much clearer skies than the day before and were able to see the volcanoes in all their snow capped glory. Apparently the last eruption was about 100 years ago, but if it happens again we were not to worry as we would get a two minute warning!

We have been joined by the lovely Wilo, our guide for the Colca Canyon part of the trip and he kept stopping the coach for us to see the vicuna, alpaca and llama that were grazing along the road side. Vicuna are the wild ones of these cameloid family, their wool being highly sought after and extemely expensive. The alpaca are kept pretty much like we keep sheep, mainly for their wool and their meat. The llamas are also kept for their wool but it is much rougher quality and used more by the moutain village people. It can also be made into ropes and the animal itself is used as a pack animal only carrying loads up to 20kg due to its uselessly skinny legs!

Chatting to Wilo at one of the ´facilities´ stops I found out that the alpacas are rounded up by dogs but that they don´t have whistle commands etc like our shepherds do, ´come by´ instead they leave it up to the dogs to do whatever!

As we climb higher and higher, now at 4,500m according to my GPS, I spotted lichen patches on the rocks and even a little bit of snow dotted here and there. There was some very atmospheric mist rising up off the rocks too. We passed by the highest point of our trip but didn´t stop as that was our return journey highlight - especially for me as there is a geocache there! Eventually we arrived at our lunch stop and had a slap up buffet meal before the heavens suddenly opened putting paid to our planned hike in the mountains! Fortunately Wilo assured us that it wouldn´t rain at all the next day - hmmm we´ll see!

Later we went to a nearby thermal spring. It was so lovely and warm and the few drops of rain that were still falling were lovely. Fun eyeing up the hotties at the pool too 😉

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