Southern Peru-Bolivia

Day 05 - Thursday, October 30, 2014 - Depart Arequipa; Climb to 16,000 ft; Lunch at Chivay; Arrive at Colca Canyon; Afternoon at Leisure; Soak in Hot Springs

Another beautiful dry day, the temperature was 55 degrees and the humidity was 25%. We had an early morning wake up call at 6:30 and our bags were to be outside the door at 7:30.

After breakfast, Vic helped load the water and the luggage so we could get out on time. We met our local guide, Pedro and the driver, Lino.

On our way out of the city we were able to see many more neighborhoods in Arequipa. The skies were clear so we had good views of the surrounding volcanoes.

Pepé started our discussions of controversial issues with Peru's legalization of prostitution and illegal use of drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. Peru is the leading producer of coca plants; most of the product is shipped to other countries in the world.

We heard Pepé read a short research article on the scientific values and applications of coca leaves. As with most things, moderation is the key.

In an hour we had already climbed to 10,000 feet. As we passed through rock formations we had several glimpses of the valley below with irrigated fields. Water comes from the mountains via the Chili River.

Pepé shared some of the local snacks he bought at the market yesterday. We had fried banana chips, yucca chips, peanuts, pork rind, and chocolate covered Spanish nuts.

As we climbed on the steep narrow winding highway, we could see many crosses as memorials to those killed on this treacherous roadway. Pepé told us there were many bus accidents on the road; Gennie stopped counting the crosses!

In the distance we could clearly see the mountain, Ampato, where the archeologists found Juanita. The active volcano, Sabancaya was spewing steam, the only clouds in the sky. The neighboring Hualcahualca Mountain was covered with snow as well.

We made frequent stops for animal sightings, the first were the vicuñas, four individuals eating in the dry yellow grass and then dozens more at a water hole. Pepé said we were very lucky to see such a large herd.

Pedro started talking to us as we entered the national park. He gave us an explanation of the vicuñas and how they have evolved to live in such high altitudes as well in sparse vegetation.

At 10:30 we had a comfort stop at Patahuasi (House at the Top) to use the restroom and take photos of the incredible desert landscape. We continued to climb; our bus labored. Because of the altitude and lower oxygen, Lino opened the engine compartment to give the motor more air.

We had a brief pause at a lagoon formed by spring water from the mountains. We saw coots, Peruvian ibis, Andean grito, and Andean geese.

Another stop was for photos of a man named Andres, leading pack llamas carrying bundles of alpaca fur. We were able to take photos and talk to the ranchers. This was another great spontaneous opportunity to learn about the culture.

Our lunch was at Wititi, a small restaurant with a buffet of local soups, vegetables, and typical meats like alpaca. We both tried the alpaca. It was flavorful, but very chewy.

We saw a gathering of people in the town square and Pedro told us it was a meeting for the association of the village of Chivay and surrounding villages. They talk about the latest innovations in animal raising techniques, sell their handicrafts, and enjoy eating the specialty, guinea pig and drinking chicha, a beer made from fermented corn. We both tried some of this.

The drive from Arequipa to Colca was approximately 6 hours and the highest altitude reached was 15,910 feet above sea level.

Back on the bus we arrived at Yanque, where we checked into our hotel, the Eco Inn Valle Colca. We found our cabin and then gathered our belongings for an optional trip to the thermal baths of La Calera.

The pool was delightfully warm, but the minute you got out or walked in the shade, you could feel the cool clear air of Colca Canyon. We had to leave at 5:15 because dinner at the Eco Inn was at 6:30.

We came back to the room, showered, and washed a few clothes and were ready for dinner on time. After dinner we returned to the room, worked on our pictures and the journal and organized ourselves for tomorrow’s 5:00 AM wake up call to drive to see the Andean Condors.

Yanque – 3417 meters – 11211 feet

Accommodations: Eco Inn Valle Colca --- Meals: B, L, & D

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Southern Peru & Bolivia: Inca Landscapes & Lake Titicaca


It sounds like you had an interesting and busy day! You two are definitely "life-long learners" who get the very most out of your trips. I feel like I am right there with you chugging up the mountain in the oxygen starved bus. Have a great day, and stay safe. Blessings!

Carolyn Barrett   October 31, 2014 - 11:38am
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Sabancaya, Active Volcano

Sabancaya, Active Volcano



Woman Spinning at Patahuasi

Woman Spinning at Patahuasi

Llama Rancher

Llama Rancher

Chivay Community Meeting

Chivay Community Meeting

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