Wanderings in Peru - 2 - Colca Canyon

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South America » Peru » Arequipa
June 17th 2016
Published: June 19th 2016
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Leaving Arequipa we drove up and up and up onto the Peruvian high altiplano eventually reaching a high point of 15917ft. We passed through many small villages on the way, dusty and poor-looking houses and huts. Work is difficult to find - although there are gold & silver mines, a cement factory and farming. The landscape changes as we ascend from dry bushes & tall grasses to cacti and finally on the altiplano rocks, dust and small clumps of dry grass which extends into the far distance in all directions. There were several volcanos in the distance, many covered with snow while Mount Sabancaya, the active volcano in the area, billows smoke day and night. The air was thin, it was cool but the sky was blue and the sun burningly strong. We headed slightly downhill now to the small town of Chivay to find our hotel, situated down a very narrow and precipitous gravel road into the base of a small Canyon next to the Rio Colca river, an idyllic setting but temperatures down to minus 2 or 3c at night.

We were up early 05.30 to drive to Condor's Cross at Colca Canyon. Colca Canyon is an amazing place, deeper than the Grand Canyon in the USA, a great rent in the earth surface with towering cliffs and home to 40 pairs of Andean Condors. As soon as the sun hits the Canyon, warm air currents and thermals are created which lift these giant birds high into the sky and on their way up, circling back and forth to gain uplift, they mostly pass through Condor's cross. What a tremendous sight, Andean Condors, with wingspans of up to 3m soaring past and overhead - many photographs were taken to obtain a few reasonable ones!!

Markets in Peru are colourful affairs, with bright multicoloured fabrics - alpaca, vicuña and llama wool in all shades and forms. Potatos were nearly as colourful, there are 3000 varieties of potato in Peru - we have already been served a fair few!!

Accommodation - Chivay - Aranwa Colca Hotel

Weather - Hot and sunny 24c during the day cold and clear -3c at night

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


Mount Ampato and Mount Sabancaya across the altiplano.Mount Ampato and Mount Sabancaya across the altiplano.
Mount Ampato and Mount Sabancaya across the altiplano.

Mount Sabancaya is an active volcano and can be seen billowing smoke.
The brightly coloured Inka KolaThe brightly coloured Inka Kola
The brightly coloured Inka Kola

What do you do with it - drink it, use as a mouthwash or even a paint stripper?? - When drunk it is not too bad - somewhat too sweet - but very like the cream soda I remember from childhood.

19th June 2016

Excellent. Loving the descriptions and the photos too. The condor photos are stunning. Made me think of that documentary 'the flight of the condor' back in the day. Continue to enjoy. I assume you are not suffering from altitude sickness as you haven't mentioned it xx
19th June 2016

Excellent Blog
As always an excellent blog. Lots of colourful descriptions and photos Condors put the Red Kites I saw on the M40 today to shame. Not sure the Inka Kola looks very appetising. Off to Madrid on Tuesday, temperature in the 30s!!

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