The Colca Canyon and Arequipa

So on Thursday after our first day in Arequipa we went on the bike ride. We did get up at 6am and after breakfast we went to the bike shop. Then after they got the bikes and we got up the mountain we then had to cycle down. None of us had ever cycled on a non-metalled before and the others both fell off and we all had a fair few near misses. The main challenge was staying on when the road became either sandy or bumpy with rocks and you had to keep a good grip of the handlebars. Regarldess of the falling off we all enjoyed it and the scenery on the way down was amazing. By the time a had finished it was also nearly dark so that took the whole day.

The next day we got up at 6am again and headed out on a tour to the Colca canyon. This involved a 4 hour drive over the mountains and we stopped off on the way to see wildlife including llamas and alpacas. We also went up to nearly 5000m above sea level to the roof of the Andes. The height was in fact fine though we all had minor effects as we drank lots of coca tea, which helps with the altitude. Coca is the plant that contains Cocaine but is entirely legal here and it also doesn’t contain very much of the drug. Later in the day we had lunch at our hotel which was very good before setting off on a walk and then going to some excellent hot springs. I was a little disappointed that the pools were all the same temperature but that was a minor issue.

Then we went back to our hotel for dinner and an early night as we were getting up really early at 5am the next day so we could go and see Condors.

So after waking at 5am and having breakfast we left the hotel at 6am and headed towards the canyon seeing more amazing scenery. At 8.30 we went on a walk towards the condor viewing place and at 9am we weren’t disappointed by the view of the birds. Given my cameras 10x optical zoom we also got some great shots of the birds. After that we headed back to Arequipa for an early night and for one last day in the town. We are leaving tonight for Cuzco which should be great but first we are having a lazy morning by staying in bed a little later than 6am!

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