We bought a tour package for Valle Del Colca, 150 km north of Arequipa. We spent 2 days with people from several nationalities. The goal was to visit the famous canyon, but everything else amazed me: the culture is so different from the rest of the country and the view is spectacular.
We passed by volcanoes and snow-capped mountains; we saw vicuñas, llamas and cute alpacas. I got so excited I almost hugged one, thank goodness the guide called my attention in time, or else it could have spit on me. We reached 4800m, the highest point. I did not have any problem with the altitude, just in the first couple of days I was more sleepy than usual.
We had lunch in Chivay, another city surrounded by mountains. We went to Coporaque and had a 2-hour trekking – lots of pictures, cactus and stories, not to mention the Inca tombs with skeletal remains. We enjoyed the thermal waters, several swimming pools with hot and relaxing water coming from a volcano.
We stayed in the district of Yanahuara, and had dinner in a typical restaurant with folk music and dance. The dancers came to the tables and invited the tourists to dance, there was even a contest. Everyone changed pairs and continued dancing. I only danced with a crazy yet fun Israeli guy. He thought I was fascinating until he found out I was about 5 years older than him, although it did not seem. He was flabbergasted and asked if I had a younger sister. What a nerve! Anyway, cultural shock is part of traveling.
On the second day our tour guide picked us at the hotel at 5:30 in the morning and we went to Cabanaconde to watch the amazing flight of the condor. As soon as the sun rises all the birds come flying in the canyon, really low and close to the observers. Colca is 4 thousand meters deep, it is splendid. I could not help wondering how beautiful the mountains should be covered in show, there were only a few at the time. On our way back we stopped to take pictures, had lunch in Chivay and returned to Arequipa after a 4-hour ride.