Colca Canyon - travels - peru 2000 - colca canyon

Our bus arrived in Chivay at dawn after an awful bumpy bus ride.  The altitude was around 3500m and it was freezing cold.  Our immediate problem was how to get to Cruz del Condor before 8.30am to see the condors floating up from the canyon on the thermals.  Together with a couple of other travellers we arranged a collectivo to take us there.  Fortunately we arrived in time to see about 10 or so condors around the top edge of the canyon.

Colca Canyon on the way to Cruz del Condor

Selling cactus fruits (very nice!)

Cruz del Condor

The condors are almost 3m across and fly silently above your head....awesome

We left the condors and started the 2 hour walk to Cabanaconde which is a village at the top of the canyon.  At the bottom of the canyon from here lies an oasis camp site which was out target for the day.  The village is 3800m and the oasis is about 2400m.

On the way to Cabanaconde

Life is slow in Cabanaconde

Descending the canyon

Feeling tired!
F**king knackered!

The oasis in sight

The camp site

The descent of the canyon was hard.  We had about 16kg on our backs and water bags.  This was the first trek either of us had ever done!   After about 3.5 hours of trudging down the winding dusty rocky and often steep pathways in the baking heat of the afternoon we made it, collapsing on the soft grass of the oasis....heaven!  Its the deepest canyon in the world except for one nearby which is about 130m deeper.

A llama at the oasis

blister_check1.jpg (10164 bytes)

Checking my blisters

Basalt rock formations like the Giants Causeway

We cooked some dinner, examined our blisters, resisted the temptations of the llama and relaxed as the sun went down to reveal a huge clear sky full of stars.  Fantastic.  Next morning we had to walk back up again....

After 3.5 hours of putting one foot in front of the other we made it back to Cabanaconde, totally knackered.  The bus back to Arequipa was at 8pm.  This turned out to be the start of a nightmare 22 hour bus session.  We took the bus on time back to Chivay where it stopped for 2.5 hours for no reason until 1.30am before driving back to Arequipa along the same rutted road we came on.  I couldn't sleep as there was an icy draught slicing right through me - it was shit.  When we got back to Arequipa bus station at 5am we found that there was a bus at 7am to Puno which was our next target. 

The usual mad scramble for the bus

We got a ticket and piled onto the Puno bus.


All pictures copyright 2000 unless otherwise stated.