Arequipa to Colca Canyon – Peru

Our day started early as we joined 14 other travellers in one of the smallest buses I have ever had the privilege to ride in. The road to Colca Canyon climbed steadily to a Mirador de Los Andes pass in the Andes that was at an elevation of 17,000 feet. Along the way we saw wild vicunas and stopped for some herbal tea (coca, muna and chachacoma) and coca leaves at a small roadside stand.

The resident alpaca enjoyed the tea leaf residue when we were finished. Once on the road again we reached the summit of the pass quickly.
Despite altitude pills, large quantities of coca leaves, sugar and water we still felt a bit woozy when we climbed out to take photos – a break from what could truly be called a mini bus.

The descent into Chivay in the Colca Canyon went smoothly down an extremely steep road with lots of hairpin turns.

After a traditional Peruvian lunch we drove down the canyon a bit to our hotel the Eco Inn. It was gorgeous – right on the gorge over looking the river. there are 400 volcanoes in Peru, 189 surrounding Arequipa and the area. 7 are active. We saw smoking cones en route and the Colca canyon is home to a number of hot springs. Our walk through the village of Yanque was lovely – we met locals bringing their animals home, saw an ancient burial area in the wall of the gorge and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. We head to Colca Canyon proper tomorrow to see the Condors fly.

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