Blogs from Arequipa, Peru, South America - page 4


South America » Peru » Arequipa May 2nd 2014

After a buffet breakfast at the Casa Andina, Cesar, our guide for the next two days, was calling our name in the lobby. He and Felix, the driver of an 11-passenger travel van, would take us from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon. There was already a couple on the van and we would make three more stops and leave the city at capacity. As soon as we broke from the city, the smog lifted and the snow-capped mountains became crystal clear. The road climbs impressively reaching over 16,000 feet at the Patapampa Lookout. Along the way the terrain was mostly high desert with deep valleys that were lush green with terraced crops rising above the valley. We passed through a National Refuge where we saw hundreds of vicunas, llamas and alpaca. We made one pit stop ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa May 1st 2014

Uneventful flight from Lima to Arequipa, however, still blown away by the crowds at Lima Airport. During the approach into Arequipa we were quite surprised by the arid, tumbleweed terrain broken by deep, rocky gullies. To our surprise, as we stepped off the plane, we were awestruck by the snow-capped White Mountain and Misty Volcano. The city of Arequipa is at an elevation of over 6,000 feet and sits on a high plateau. We were greeted by blue skies, 70 degrees and Omar Rodriquez. Omar and his driver, Percy, took us on a scenic route through the colonial city and stopped at two viewpoints before they dropped us at our hotel. Omar set us free for a couple hours to explore and have lunch before meeting us for our afternoon walking tour. Not wanting to waste ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon April 4th 2014

Day 45 - 46 Today we temporally leave Arequipa & move further into the highlands for an overnight stay at Chivay which is the gateway to the Colca Canyon before returning to Arequipa. The main reason to visit Colca Canyon is not only the amazing scenery but to hopefully see the magnificent Andean condor, the world's largest flying bird, flying over the canyon. We travelled by minivan to Chivay (approx 5 hrs) stoping several times along the way to see llamas, alpacas ( both herded for wool & meat) and vicuñas (roam wild). One rest stop we were able to try some coca tea which is supposedly good for altitude sickness. Another stop was at Patapampa (the highest place on our tour at 4900 m above sea level) which was an assent of 2600 m from ... read more
Gerry at Colca Canyon
View of Mt Misty

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa April 2nd 2014

Days 43 - 44 Nazca is a pretty soulless town with not much of interest due to being newer than the colonial towns we have been visiting so far. The town seems to be only geared for the tourist trade including sand boarding and buggies in the nearby desert hills. Wandered around much of the same areas as yesterday waiting for our afternoon local bus trip to Arequipa. While an 11 hr trip & a midnight arrival we were ready to move on from Nazca. The trip was quite interesting. Initially out of Nazca it seemed to be endless flat desert landscape on both sides with a sand storm blowing & passing occasional shanty settlements. The road then moved closer to the coast with endless whitecap crashing into the mainly rocky shore for the next several ... read more
Cloister Murals
Cloister Murals
Cloister Murals

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa March 6th 2014

1 March 2014 - Saturday – Puno to Arequipa, Peru Noisy vibrant bus station; Arequipa-quipa-quipa-quipa-Arequipa! Vicuna zone; volcano; 295 kilometres. Drop in elevaton from 3830 km to 2380 km above sea level. Arequipa second largest city in Peru, population just under one million people. Like the ‘Republic’ of Cork, the people here fondly refer to themselves as citizens of the ‘Republic of Arequipa’. The scenery between the two cities is flat prairies and mountain plateaus with long-range vistas of distant volcanoes and one snow-capped mountain peak called Nevado Mismi Mountain (5597 meters, 18,363 feet above sea level). The road descends from the Altiplano highlands through the Salinas and Aguada Blanca Nature Reserve to the ‘white city’ of Arequipa. . Along the way is the natural habitat of the vicuna, one of two wild South American camelids ... read more
Arequipa 004
Arequipa 009
Arequipa 013

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa February 21st 2014

Drifting, dreaming, I wandered the labyrinth of geranium-lined, cobbled streets, sinking into cool azure cloisters, exploring century's old kitchens, baths, patios and the cells of long-dead nuns, servants and slaves. The 16c, high-walled Santa Catalina Convent was a huge city unto itself, and a tranquil respite from the traffic and noise of big city Arequipa. Entrance was pricey, so I took a book on the lives of women mystic saints and spent the day lounging, reading and exploring. I walked mindfully around the various cloisters, feeling both rooted in the present and open to infinity. After sundown, I stepped back in time as fireplaces were lit and rooms illuminated by candle. Heavenly! The buildings of this World Heritage Site, like many in Arequipa, were of sillar, a soft, white volcanic stone, and had beautiful, barrel roofs ... read more
through the window, darkly
looking like blue Chefchouan, Morocco
geraniums lined the cobbled streets

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Colca Canyon January 24th 2014

Colca Canyon og de fantastiske Condor ørne - verdens største ørn med et vingefang på over 3 meter. Colca Canyon er verdens dybeste Canyon og et af de eneste levesteder for den mægtige Condor. Vejen til Colca Canyon gik over et meget højt punkt, 4910 meters højde med sne og kulde - Vi kom forbi et sted hvor det er tradition for at bygge en stenvarde med ønsker til dem du elsker- Stenvarden på et af billederne er til vores børn - en sten til dem hver! Første by i Canyon var Corporaque med Hot spring (skønt) Så kom til til udsigtspunktet Croz de Condor - hvor den enorme Canyon virkelig åbnede sig for os - smukt og enormt. Næste by var Cabanaconde som også var vores destination for hiking ned i kløften mod den skønne ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Arequipa January 8th 2014

An action packed day began with a boat trip to Ballestas Island (sometimes known as the poor man's Galapagos Island) to see an assortment or wildlife. There was also a truck sweepstake to see who was going to be the first to be pooped on by the thousands of birds that fly above or around the island and I was relieved that it was a near miss for me and i returned to dry land with my clothes and hair intact. The sight of the rocks simply covered by cormorans, penguins, pelicans and blue footed boobies and took my breath away. I also wondered whether I may have been a sea lion in another life as I watched them sunbathe on the rocks! We travelled to Huacachina in the early afternoon to the sand dunes for ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa November 26th 2013

First day of the bike tour. As with every day since I got to Arequipa, it was sunny and nearly cloudless, but a bit chilly as I set out at 7 am. I'd checked out the roads and got out of town via the most direct route, but still there were a few very short uphill climbs, the first I'd done with the bike fully loaded. I didn't have to get off and push so that was a good sign. Then it was downhill to the bottom of the Rio Chile, the river that runs through Arequipa. Then the first big uphill, I'd been wondering if I'd push the bike uphill for hours but managed to ride it all. Then a long, long downhill, another long uphill and then an amazing downhill to the sea. A ... read more

South America » Peru » Arequipa » Chivay November 21st 2013

The common denominator is down, way down, hours of just, down. But there were some other similarities... about half way along the Colca trail we started to see a crescent of green oasis at the bottom, and it reminded me of the view of Phantom Ranch as I'd descended the Kaibab Trail. And there were mules on the trail and a fair number of other hikers. The geology did not appear to be as interesting on the Colca, it lacks the layers of colored rocks that make the Grand Canyon so brilliant. Although there was a stunning rock outcrop that reminded me of the devils post-pile. The trail itself was in excellent shape, nicely constructed with lots of switchbacks. Bone dry so the main 'watch out' was slipping on loose grit and gravel, but no wet ... read more
A walk next to the road when the van broke down.

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