Fondest memory: Luckily we had signed up for the three-day tour so we would not have to return with the guide that had botched the whole affair up. Another guide came to take just the two of us into the canyon on foot. Again this was not quite as explained on buying the tour. We had to walk a good two hours along a dusty road just to get to the area from which the descent takes place. I didn’t mind the extra walk so much as where we had to do it. The actual descent was a steep two hours and left our knees wobbly and sore, but all along the way, we could see the small resort that was our goal. When we arrived to the aptly named “Oasis,” we were happy to drop our pack off at the bamboo hut that would be our place to spend the night and jump in the small and refreshingly cool built-in pool. We enjoyed lying in the sun and a cold beer, but later in the afternoon, I wanted to make the final small descent to the Rio Colca. I couldn’t come this far and not see the very bottom of the reputed deepest canyon in the world. The area away from the resort was even more beautiful, with lush greenery, exotic tropical fruits and some of the most incredible palm trees I have ever seen. Finally down by the river, the canyon seemed even more impressive. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)
Fondest memory: We came back up to the resort and had a couple more beers before dinner. It was fun to sit under the stars in the deep dark canyon. But with a three am (we had a two-hour climb before catching the morning bus home) wake up call the next morning, we retired early. The cozy little hut we had fell in love with in the friendly afternoon light now seemed a spooky place to spend the night, but there was little time to think about it with only five hours to sleep. I quickly moved my stuff from my bunk only to feel some granola spill from the plastic bag I had left in on my bed in haste early in the afternoon. I thought maybe the bag had split on the hike down but soon realized that something must have nibbled the hole in it. It surely must have been a mouse and I cursed myself for being so stupid to think there wouldn’t be any in such an open structure. I brushed the granola from the bed and brought the bag outside the hut and left it there. We decided to sleep in a different bed with the idea of our little furry friend returning for a midnight snack. There was a huge spider web just above it and a hut full of giggling teenage girls on a sleep over just next door, but we managed to fall asleep fairly fast. It was short lived as our guide woke us up early as promised. Despite being tired I must say, we were happy to leave our little “oasis” at this point.
For my money to go to the Colca Canyon and not hike to its depth would be a waste of time. Everyone on our tour that just did a one night trip said it was not really worth coming all the way out there to just turn around an hour later to go back to Arequipa. So, by all means, if you are able, get down to the the bottom of it all! Seeing a condor in flight is a close second. Though not as majestic as an eagle, they are huge, even bigger than I imagined.
Fondest memory: The Colca Canyon had been a bit of a disappointment up till then. I had decided that a tour of the area was the easiest thing to do given the short time we had left on our trip. They were so inexpensive and flexible that doing it by local transport seemed too much of a hassle. I guess I should have known better. The bus ride into the canyon was nice enough but there were the usual stops that such companies do that must involve some kickbacks from the local businesses. All it does is lengthen an already long trip and the worst part was being brought to a lunch spot just before arriving in town when most everyone would have been far happier to find their own place to eat. The second day was even more irritating as we had risen fairly early and still managed to miss the best part of the tour. Our guide had told us that we would have the option to do a small hike to the condor viewing area or we could just drive to it. Now, I am all for doing a walk rather than being dropped off, but were running late as it was and the walk we did could have just as easily been done after we enjoyed the viewpoint. Again, the worst part was we were never asked if we wanted to do the walk, we just were let off the mini bus. The hike itself was nice but we came walking along the rim of the canyon with a huge condor circling the viewpoint so close it seemed the spectators could touch it. We tried to get there as quickly as possible but by the time we did, the majestic bird had taken off and all we had were some photos snapped in haste on our way up. We waited in vain for an hour for it to return. (continued below in Fondest Memory)
Favorite thing: Anden means terraces. During the Inca culture people started to construct these terraces for cultivation. You will see here some hills filled with these terraces, a very impressing work. On your way to Machu Picchu you will see some similar hills although not that big as here.
Obviously the birds won´t like noise when they are searching for food, so they stay away when the tourists are too loud..... most of the time it was ok in my tourist group, unfortunately some of them had to shout from one end of the place to the other to comunicate about stupid things......Imagine how ashamed I´ve been when realizing that these idiots spoke (shouted) german....
Fondest memory: Breathtaking the snowcovered over 6000m high peaks in the background
Favorite thing: With a depth of more than 3400m (11,333ft), the Arequipa-Colca Canyon is the second deepest in the world, the deepest canyon is not that far away from here, in the very northwest of the "departamento de arequipa", it´s the canyon Cotahuasi. But the Colca canyon is still almost twice as deep as Grand Canyon (1829m/6000ft). The Rio Colca winds its way through the gorge, with the impressive Sabancaya and Ampato volcanoes high in the background. The canyon, which is named after the Colcas (warehouses) where the Incas used to store grain in sealed vaults in the canyon walls, is dotted with flora and fauna such as the nopal cactus and ichu (high altitude grass), which is eaten by llamas and alpacas. Visitors to the region can still see Colcas today in the Pumunuta Caves; these warehouses, which are part of an ancient Inca tradition dating back to around 1800 BC, measure 1m (3.3ft) in diameter and are made of straw and mud. The highlight of the canyon and the main reason why I´ve gone here was the chance to see the giant Andean Condor. There´s a special place, the Cruz del Condor observation point, where the Condor twice a day is passing by searching for food.
Favorite thing: Going back to Arequipa by bus we passed by this plain at an altitude of 4800 m. The little rock or stone formations shall be signs of the Inca.
Favorite thing: Next to the Cruz del Condor there´s always a person with eagle waiting for the tourists to take a picture.
Think a lot of you know this song, existing in hundreds of versions, well known interpreted by Simon & Garfunkel.
At the Colca canyon you can really see how the condor passes. That´s amazing.