Day 35 - Colca Canyon & Flight of The Condors

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South America » Peru » Arequipa
November 8th 2018
Published: November 9th 2018
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We were driven to Yanque to meet up again with the same group as yesterday. When we arrived, Peter said we had 10 minutes to look around as there was a local market on in the main square with local women and men (dressed as women) dancing around the central fountain. Peter explained later on that the men dressed as women is a tradition passed down from the past when families always tried to match their daughters with a rich family, so sometimes boys would disguise themselves as girls so they could go out together. After 10 minutes I couldn’t see Daisy and Peter was also looking for her as well. I assumed she was shopping and checked all the market stalls but it turned out she was just watching the dancing and Peter found her.

We left around 07:30 and just had one short lookout stop before reaching the condor lookout called Mirador Cruz del Condor. These are massive birds with wingspans up to metres. Our first stop here was a false one as we only walked a few metres when Peter called us all back into the bus and we were driven a little further down to another spot where we saw Condors immediately gliding over the canyon and very close to where we were. They glide rather than fly over thermal air streams, so we were lucky that today was sunny and warm. We stayed here for one hour. After 20 minutes they suddenly disappeared, and we had to wait until just before it was time to go before Daisy yelled “condor” as one lone one flew over our heads. It was a great way to end this encounter with the condors.

We were then driven back towards Chivay and stopped at a magnificent lookout of the canyon showing how the whole sides were terraced. There was a combination of old eroded ones and ones still being used today. Next stop was a small town for a toilet break and photos with baby llamas.

Last stop of the tour was at a spot where we could see tombs that had been carved into the rock faces and these were examples of how the mummies we saw in Arequipa were buried. They actually just looked like small holes rather than tombs, there was no decoration. Peter explained that the direction the tombs faced always had some significance. In this case they were pointing to the mountains and the mountain gods. These are pre-Incan.

We were then driven back to Chivay for lunch. The strange thing is that we were all driven to different places for lunch but the Aussies were kept together and we had a nice lunch and chat with Hugh and Valerie again. We were then re-united with the Italian and Swiss couple but said our goodbyes to the young Italian couple which left six of us with Peter. We then drove back the same way we had gone yesterday and stopped briefly again at the highest point. Then at the Chivay road check-point we bade farewell to Hugh and Valerie and were bundled out again with the swiss couple and transferred to a big coach for the journey to Puno on the edge of Lake Titicaca. At first we were the only four people on the bus but after a few minutes more people came on board. We find it quite amazing how they organize all the tourists who are staying at different places and even eating at different places and somehow they get everyone onto the right buses and to the right hotels.

Most of the countryside on this trip looked quite dry and there was just one stop at Laguna Lagunillas before continuing onto Puno. So there wasn’t much to look at so we slept and I wrote up the blog as it was a four hour journey.

We reached Puno at around 19:00 and everyone got off the bus except for us. I noticed everyone getting put into different vans or taxis. It turns out our hotel is another luxury one and it is located just out of town on the lake. Again, our agent had booked this for us as part of a package deal. One snag was that when our bags were transferred to the coach I thought we just had 3 bags and didn’t know that Daisy had also put her little orange back-pack in the luggage hold, so we were missing that back-pack. The guide said not to worry, he would find it for us. So a little upset, we decided to leave it to fate and went to the hotel’s restaurant for dinner and again we had a fantastic meal. Daisy had a local fish and I had lamb prepared in a traditional Puno way, both delicious. Prices were surprisingly not expensive and same as some ordinary restaurants or cafes that we’ve eaten at before. This was definitely in a different class but with similar prices.

The surprise though was that as we were finishing eating, the waiter came over with a phone and it was the travel agency saying that Daisy’s back-pack was found and they would deliver it to the hotel tomorrow morning at 07:00. We were very impressed with that response, who would have thought that Peru would be that efficient. I honestly expected that at best we’d get it back in 24 hours.


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