Thursday, April 19, 2012

Peru Part 3 - Colca Canyon & Chivay - April 3-4, 2012


Once we left Arequipa we headed even further into the highlands to continue with our acclimatization the town of Chivay, a couple hours away from the Colca Canyon. The trip from Arequipa to Chivay took the better part  of a day  with several stops and some exploring along the way. We started out checking out all of the Volcanoes in the area as we circled around them and climbed higher into the mountain. We also had our first glimpse of heavily terraced agricultural areas as we climbed higher into the Andean mountains. Along the way we saw numerous Llamas, Alpacas and Vicunas; very cute!

Weaving Woman
 About half way along our journey we stopped at a tea house to have some Coca Leaves and Coca Tea to help with acclimatization. The tea was good but chewing the leaves made my mouth numb and tasted weird. Along the way traveled through a high pass that was at 4910m EL, my highest elevation ever! That night we stayed in the town of Chivay at 3600m EL where we enjoyed a tasty Peruvian Buffet and relaxed in some hot springs just outside of town.
Little Peruvian Girl

The next day (April 4, 2012) we woke up to a cool morning of only 5c with fresh snow on the surrounding mountains. We headed into the Colca Canyon to explore the outdoors for the day and go for a bit of a hike.  We started with a 2hr drive to the Cruz del Condor where we saw the Condors catching thermals to lift them out of the canyon and over the surrounding hills. They were huge and amazing to watch.  The Canyon was also amazing, incredibly deep with little villages within it.  We spent about an hour hiking and exploring the canyon while we were there as well. 
Colca Canyon 


Once we left the Canyon we stopped at some view points and little towns on the way back to Chivay to explore the markets, villages and local Cathedrals. Once back in Chivay we hiked up a small hill in town to check out the pre-Inca burial tombs at the top. They were huge, tall cylinders and were pretty cool to see. There was also a great view of the town from the top of the hill. That night we went to a Pena for dinner and enjoyed some Peruvian Music and Dancing after dinner.

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Burial tower

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