After almost a week in Arequipa, we decided to take a two day hiking trip into Colca Canyon. We booked the hike through our hostel and were picked up at 3am by a small bus. The first stop was Cruz del Condors- a look out point known for glimpses of Andean condors, the largest flying birds in the world.
Here’s a pic with human beings for scale:
During the stretches when we couldn’t see condors, we admired the cactus flowers.
Next we arrived at the trail head at the top of the canyon, and looked down to The Oasis where we’d sleep that night.
We paused to enjoy the breeze.
And admire the giant cacti.
Some stretches were long and not that steep.
We paused to rest.
And admired how far we had climbed down. Over 3,300 ft. by the end of it.
Eventually we reached the river at the bottom.
Some locals prepared us lunch. Alpaca stirfry.
And we relaxed.
But we still had several miles to hike to the oasis and we were getting tired.
Still, when we looked back to admire the valley behind us we saw that it was beautiful.
Our guide paused to explain about the culture of people in the canyon and how different plants were used as natural remedies since there’s no hospital around. We knew we were approaching civilization when we started seeing ads.
After almost 7 hours of hiking we finally reached the charming streets of The Oasis.
We drank some beer and had a nice dinner. We started hiking back up at 5AM the next morning (sorry no pictures). We were given the option to take a mule up instead, but we declined.
On the way back we stopped in small towns with markets and cool colonial churches.
The terraces stretch for miles and miles and truly cause you to marvel at how rich the civilization which created them must have been.
The final stop was at over 16,000 ft. above sea level where we could see the peaks of several volcanoes. But here’s a pic with the rest of our hiking group. Four Spaniards and a woman from Macao.
Depending who you ask, Colca is either the deepest or second deepest canyon in the world, though we didn’t hike into the deepest part.
The hike was tough, but all in all, it was one of our favorite parts of the trip so far.
If you’re in southern Peru, you should definitely check it out. You can always take the mule back up.
Will & Elizabeth