Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canon de Colca

For Easter weekend, we traveled to Colca Canyon. This is the second deepest canyon in the world. We traveled in a tour bus with a group of 30 people. We started on Saturday morning under cloudy skies. You leave Arequipa and drive around to the back side of Misty Volcano, and then across the highlands of the Andes mountains. Part of it is through a national park and you get to see wild alpaca. The highest point along the jouney was 4,910 meters (16,100 ft), and we finally broke through the clouds into bright sunshine and snow!!

After a refreshing walk in the snow, we boarded back on the bus for a steep, winding, decent to the town of Chivay, where we spent the night. In Chivay, there is a great hot spring with 5 pools that are feed from the local volcano. We spent about an hour and a half just relaxing after the bus ride. Then we went out to dinner and a show with native dancers.

We boarded the bus at 5:30 in the morning to go see the canyon. Another big draw to Colca are the condors that catch the morning and afternoon thermals rising out of the canyon. We did get to see a few condors soaring in the distance, but nothing up close. We took a little hike along the rim of the canyon and got to see lots of flowers, fauna, and even a wild chinchila. We could see a few small villages across the canyon from us. The only way to these villages is to trek (hike). We may go for a 2-3 day trek to one of these villages when the kids get here in December.

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