I’d seen countless pictures of Colca Canyon in every tour company and tourist information office but never thought it’d be something I’d end up doing myself – too far, too expensive, too much effort! Yet, here I am, blogging about my day-long adventure to the largest canyon in Peru. I guess the best things really do happen when you don’t expect them to!
Price wise; it was expensive. Only by peruvian standards of course: it was equivalent to £36 for a full day including food and entrance tickets to each place. I know, I know, I’m silly to say that it was expensive but with my dwindling bank account and growing guilt from asking my parents for money; it was quite a setback! Still, I can’t deny that it was worth it!
We booked it through a small company that we stumbled upon in the Plaza de Armas in Arequipa. Their office was in a pretty dodgy location at the back of a restaurant (?) and we managed to get an extremely low price which is why me and Vicki started to panic when they said that they’d pick us up from our hostel ‘Will Rober’ at 3am the morning (our hostel was called Wild Rover) and quickly wanted to clarify that everything was in order, written down properly and totally confirmed.
Luckily for us (and for Will Rober, whoever he might be) our company came to pick us up as planned and, for the first time ever, there seemed to be signs of organisation in Peru… What are the chances!
We were super tired but fell asleep as soon as we were settled down on the bus. After 3 hours of driving, we found ourselves in the middle of Canyon country.
We paid our entrance to the area and began to head towards our destination. As part of our tour, we stopped off at various viewpoints and local villages (Achoma and Maca). There were llamas, alpacas, lambs and condors on people’s heads… all sorts of interesting sights.
We got chance to explore the artesan markets and a local church. With the dangling doll figures, garish colours and strange artwork, I felt a little bit like I was on a horror train at a theme park… It was kinda daunting, but so interesting to see the difference between types of churches here.
Some of the views we saw on the way to the canyon were just… wow! Some of the most incredible landscapes that I’ve ever seen in my life and with how much I’ve travelled, that’s a pretty bold statement! Seriously, it was breathtakingly beautiful. I don’t even think these pictures do it justice! The local people here maintain their ancestral traditions which makes it even more fascinating – the clothes, the colours and their daily lifestyles are so different and completely untouched by western influences. Incredible.
Eventually we arrived at the Cruz del Condor – the key viewing point of the canyon, named after the crucifix that stands there and the vast amount of condors that fly overhead. We had an hour to spend soaking in the views, so I decided to climb up to the highest point to get the best pictures!
It was so nice to have some peace and quiet, admire the views and just enjoy my own company on top of this HUGE canyon. It has a depth of over 13,000 ft making it 2x deeper than the Grand Canyon in the USA! I thoroughly enjoyed my time ‘on top of the world’ and even managed to catch a glimpse of a few condors!
I met back up with Vicks and we began to get super excited about the next part of our journey: The hot baths! We had been in desperate need of some relaxation and pampering time, so being able to chill out, swim and play in the heated pools was the perfect solution! It was even better knowing that we had a buffet lunch to look forward to straight after…
It was a traditional peruvian all-you-can-eat buffet. We tried all the dishes (except the soup because we’ve had so much soup and quite frankly, we hate it), including alpaca meat, lomo saltado and fried bananas. It was really tasty and of course we made sure to go back a million times and get our 20 soles (£4 worth). The only let down was dessert…. There were a variety of different jellies and creams in pots so we tried them all, only to find ourselves gagging at every single flavour. Moral of the story: always stick to the cake.
After eating ALL of the cake available, we headed back on our bus feeling sleepy and content. On the way back to Arequipa town, we stopped to see more wild alpacas and the volcanoes that surround the area.
They have a lot of earthquakes in this part of Peru and most of the volcanoes are active, so it’s not the safest place to live… although it’s definitely one of the most beautiful!
Our trip to Colca Canyon was incredible and I would urge you to make the journey if you’re in Peru, regardless of money or time, because the views are just indescribably perfect. Once again, I’m feeling so appreciative of my awesome life filled with adventures… 100% counting my blessings 🙏
Blog post about my time in Arequipa coming soooooon! Stay tuned amigos.