Thursday, 10 February 2011

The deepest canyon in the world, Colca

On the second day in Arequipa, we woke up in the middle of the night as a minibus came to pick us up for a tour of Colca canyon - the deepest canyon in the world.
I was first surprised over the amount of people that we saw in the streets so early in the morning - until I realised that the night before had been Saturday, and that hence 4am was quite a normal time for people to be returning home from night clubs ;)
So an early start to get to the canyon that is about 3h away from Arequipa. We actually did this whole tour in the minibus as we had decided the day before that the three day hiking tour that we really wanted to do, took too many days in our 'tight' schedule and was possibly too demanding in our half-weak states (by this time we had been going around with upset stomachs for about a week and were still not as used to it as we would be in the weeks to follow) just a couple of days before doing the jungle trail to Machu Picchu.
The bus tour was surprisingly nice though. A bit long, with a few unnecessary stops - but all worth it as the view over the canyon and the thousands of terraces that climbs up its sides was just utterly amazingly beautiful!

These terraces were started in the pre-Inka period, much augmented during the Inkas when parts of the army were stationed in the region and for some reason helped construct the terraces. The interesting thing is that they are still being used and that even more have been constructed since the fall of the Inkas - albeit in a much slower tempo.
It is really an incredible sight and was the real highlight for me during this day. We also saw some cool animals such as llamas and their wild cousins, vicunhas. As well as tame eagles, some flamingos from a distance, and we probably spotted a condor or two from the condor's viewpoint - where we spent 1h trying to see them as they are one of the main attractions for people during this tour - but they were so far away that it was rather difficult being sure.

On the way back, Nuno and I walked around the small city of Chivay while the rest of the group were having lunch. We had enjoyed some fresh trout from the river a bit earlier, and hence strolled around the market and tried some 'tuna' for the first time.


Not the fish for those that are wondering and thinks that this couldn't be Helena writing, as she hates tuna! Rather it's the fruit of one of the cactus trees common in that region and it tastes very good indeed and helped give us a nice injection of vitamin C before we started off the next overnight bus ride up to Cusco.




1 comment:

O Coxo said...

thanks for reviving nice memories from Arequipa, Santa Catalina monastery, and Colca Canyon !

I will be waiting for the inca trail report,


have fun !