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Published: June 19th 2016
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
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