Soaring with the condors
Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
79Trip End Jul 30, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Arequipa, the convent, Colca Canyon
We booked into a 2 day tour of the Colca Canyon the next day – a trek would have been nice, but as we were trying to get to Cuzco for Inti Raymi June 24 we just didn’t have the extra day to spend. This was probably one of the best tours we had, and would have been perfect if not for the old lady travelling with her posse of grandchildren whose voice… think Fran Dresser’s mom from The Nanny (Josh's Joke). The first day we stopped at a few beautiful view points, one stop which was fairly dramatic. The American girl (20) travelling with her boyfriend and his family passed out at about 3800m walking back onto the bus. Turns out she was hypoglycemic, and that combined with the lack of oxygen from the altitude was fairly frightening. Luckily our guide Irene was quick, and after bringing the girl around using an herb mixed with rubbing alcohol, we made our way down the canyon and she was back to normal if a bit shaken up by dinner. That afternoon we went for a lovely hike, crossing a bridge to see the old food storage means of the Incas (holes dug into the side of the cliffs along the river) and the beautiful landscape in the Colca Valley
The next day we were up early, and stopped in Yanke to check out a church and wander through a market. Then it was off to the Condor Lookout spot, where we were treated to the view of a half dozen condors soaring overhead, some getting so close you could almost reach out and touch them (Josh: Condors are the heaviest flying birds of prey in the world and can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a wingspan of 3.2 meters (10.5 feet)). After watching them for an hour or so we headed back to Chivay for lunch, where we ate and took in the town’s festivities (they were celebrating the town’s foundation) before jumping back on the bus to head home.
Back in Arequipa we booked bus tickets to Cuzco- the road still wasn’t open (and we still don’t know why it was ever closed) so we booked a bus that went the long way, then quickly headed back to our cheap hotel to recover our bags before racing to the bus station. Next up: Cuzco and Inti Raymi!