This morning at 3am… Yes 3am! We were picked up to begin our tour of the Colca Canyon. The Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru. It is Peru’s third most-visited tourist destination with about 120,000 visitors annually, AND with a depth of 13,650 ft (4,160 m), it is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. It was about a three hour drive there from Arequipa, the town we’re staying in, and so obviously we fell asleep as soon as we got on the bus! When we arrived at our first destination, we were all happy to hear the words Desayuno! (breakfast) and hurriedly went into the warmth for hot tea and warm bread… With a view.
The Condor bird sits at about a metre tall, it has a wing span of 3 to 4 metres and it is the heaviest bird in the world… And we were looking into a valley filled with them swooping within the canyon. The were unbelievable, so graceful for such big birds and so blissfully unaware (either that it they didn’t care) about the thousands of tourists reaching out to them and taking photos.
At the canyon there were also market stalls and walk ways so that you could explore every possible view of the colca.
Our next stop was a look out point over looking pre inca ruins, which are now fields for corn, wheat, maze and quinoa.
We then went to a huge Peruvian market where Juliet bought a poncho!!! (Atlast) I just need to buy one now and then we’re set for our inca trail! At the market we also tried a Colca Canyon version of pisco sours (pisco sours are a Peruvian alcoholic drink made with pisco, lemon juice and egg whites) the colca version, colca sours have the sour cactus juice (that we tried before) instead of lime juice.
Then we went to the thermal baths, however it was so hot that we didn’t feel like actually going in. Instead Juliet and I found a spot on a rock over looking the river, the canyon and the beautiful sunshine – it was so peaceful and absolutely perfect.
Our next stop was lunch (thank god, we were so hungry from our early breakfast!) and it was an all you can eat buffet before our second long bus journey of the day, back to Arequipa.
On the way back we passed a massive field filled with Alpacas and Lamas, all grazing in herds. All the way back to Arequipa we passed Peruvians working in the corn fields, walking along with donkeys as mules carrying the corn and herding cows. It was a real working environment in a beautiful canyon and we had a great (if very very full day) tour of it all.