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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Arequipa / Colca Canyon, Peru


After leaving Copa, Dylan and I arrived in a place/hub called Puno just before midday. Although not the nicest of cities, it provided us with a decent empanada (basically a pasty) and a way to connect us to Arequipa. Our Cruz del Sur coach wasn't until 3 so we had to wait around for a bit. The coaches are luxurious with seats that imitate a lazy boy sofa, personal televisions and food/drink. 

Before boarding you had to check in bags like at the airport, your hand luggage scanned, passports looked at and photos taken for security purposes I guess. The journey was an easy 6 hours and we arrived in Arequipa at just before 9pm. After hopping in an 8 soles (£1.40) taxi we arrived at our second Wild Rover hostel and preceded to drink accordingly.


Waking up with a bit of a hangover at around 11am, Dylan and I just chilled for most of the day around the ping pong table. We had met Callan on the bus from Copa and he joined us at the hostel. We played ping pong with others including a fellow Englishmen, Luke. After not doing a great deal today the staff asked us if we wanted to play 5-a-side football with some locals. Of course we said yes. We were killing it at first but the altitude of still over 3000m wiped us out at the half way mark! This was also a surreal moment in the trip. Playing football with some Peruvians with Spanish music playing the background - brilliant. We then booked our Colca Canyon trip for 100 soles (£20) for two days and a night. The evening was another typically boozey night. 


Having not done a lot since being in the very pretty Arequipa, Dylan, Callan and I headed out to explore. The city is built beneath two massive volvanoes, one being Misti. Pictures of the area tell it best:

As we're doing the trek tomorrow, we thought we'd have an early night as we have to be up at 3am. That didn't happen. We started off with a beer in the main square, then sneaked two bottles of pretty rough red wine into the hostel and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Manly. 

We decided to drink for the rest of the evening and just stay awake. Great idea at the time, not the next day. 


The start of the tour was early. We hopped on a mini bus for around 3 hours before arriving in Chivay. The purpose of the tour was to trek and see the massive condor birds. The birds were very impressive, just floating effortlessly in the massive canyon. The canyon at it's deepest is 4160m. It's hard to say if it's the deepest in the world because of the way a canyon is defined - width, length etc.. We trekked for nearly 6 hours today. An absolute beast of a day and far tougher than we thought it would be although the majority of it was downhill we dropped 1500m on rough terrain. We then had a nice lunch at 11:30, which consisted of alpaca, rice, chilli and chips! Dylan fell asleep. 

The roaring landscape was beautiful. Again, the scale was breathtaking and the way the rock faces looked drew you in. 

We then got to a lodge we would stay at for the evening. It had a nice pool, which was nice after a really long and hot day. The bed was solid but having not slept last night, I was out cold. 


We were up at 4:30am today, but we were in bed by 9 - 8:56 to be exact (earliest in a very long time), we had had enough sleep. We are a quick Snickers as they didn't give us breakfast until we reached the top again. 2 hours and 15 minutes later, I made it to the top. An absolute bastard but I managed to avoid most of the heat of the sun. Dylan stumbled up 30 minutes later. After breakfast we saw some lookout points and headed back to Arequipa via some really impressive volcanoes including one which was active:

We arrived in Arequipa at just before 6pm  and had to wait a couple of hours to catch our bus to our next stop, Cusco!

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