Colca Canyon – Peru

Colca Canyon Pano

We left Chile about a week ago and are now in Peru. We are in a great city in Peru called Arequipa or “La Ciudad Blanca” – The White City. It is a really beautiful place, lots of original architecture, cobbled streets, a really impressive square with a huge cathedral dominating the one side, I will post more on the city later as I capture some more images.

Mountain pass with Alpaca's in the field
Start of Colca Canyon
Terraces in the valley
Young Peruvian girl in traditional dress

We have used this as our base for some excursions and last weekend we went off to the Colca Canyon. The Canyon is massively impressive at a depth of 3600m deep, it is the second deepest canyon in the world, the deepest is in Peru too. It is also home to the Andean Condor, a massive raptor that soars the thermals in the canyon. We saw only a few on the day because the best time to see them is in winter apparently, however the ones we did see were inpressive in every way. The adult birds have a wingspan of 3m and soar silently above the huge canyon, they are majestic.

Terraces Pano
Church in the town of Yanque
Vendors in Yanque

We stayed in a small town deep in the canyon called Chivay. It was set in the valley that leads to the Colca Canyon and we stayed in a riverside lodge that was rustic, but the setting was amazing. During the excursion, we went up to 4910m above sea level and were treated to some magnificent high altitude scenery, something that Peru is famous for.

Children dancing in the square at Yanque
Dancer in Yanque
Old woman in the town of Yanque
Francis and the Eagle in Yanque

We also had dinner in local eateries and have concluded that Peruvian food is simply delicious. There is a huge variety of dishes some exotic (like Cuy – roasted guinea pig) some more mundane like the potato broths that they serve. Also, Coca leaves and tea are commonplace at these high altitudes to help travellers adjust to the dizzying heights. We had a traditional folk music evening one night with the pan flutes and dancers dressed in full traditional wear, really special and we were transported to another place.

Condor in the Colca Canyon
Traditional performers

On the trip back from Chivay, we were witness to a snowfall at the high altitude mountain pass of 4900m and we watched the landscape change before our eyes. Our driver stopped to let us get some images of the new snow and it was magical, the snow had stopped falling , but the high mountains were silent and the soft freshness of the new snow was amazing. It was an incredible weekend!

Snowfall in the high mountains
Vendors in Yanque Town
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