Colca Trek

Arequipa Travel Blog

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It is late at night now, so more details later and pics too.  We have had a great four days ... the first exploring the city of Arequipa (see previous blog, now updated) and the next three doing the three day Colca Trek.  Tomorrow we head to Cusco.

The trek was full on and went to Chivay, Cabanaconde and to the bottom of the second deepest canyon in the world.  We hiked from 3,287m down to 2,100 metres.  Almost straight down.  and then the next morning up at 4am and walking back up the track... yeap, almost straight up!  Fantastic.  And yeah - as we said, more details to follow, cause now we are kinda had it!  And have to be on a 645am flight to Cusco in the morning.

  The taxi arrives at 5am. 

Promise we will find some time soon to update better and a machine to add photos.

As promised... some more details.  Our trek was with Colca Trek, the first eco-conscious and often copied treking company in Arequipa.  Excellent service overall.  Started with the booking way back months ago during the planning.  They were very keen to receive our money, in order to confirm the booking, citing previous the number of potential clients that had become ghosts to them.  In our case, we promised we wouldn´t become ghosts, but wanted to wait until we had sorted the bus trip down the coast, and make sure that we had time for a full three day trip before our Cusco flight.  So, while in Nasca we laughed our way thru withdrawing and depositing money to confirm and pay for the trek.
  Such a simple task in everyday life, but rather more exciting in Spanish and in Peru. 
Vlado´s emailed reply: ¨Dear ex gosths you became so real to me, Ja!  Dear Susan:  Thank you for book whit COLCA TREK, I just return from the bank office I have collect the money, so all is confirm¨
We were pleased to be ex-ghost and can recommend this company ( as very professional.

Elias (our guide) and Oswaldo (the driver) collected us at 6.00am from the hostal.  As we drove towards Canon del Colca we stopped at various geological points and viewed wildlife.
  Elias was a wealth of knowledge and explained not only what we were viewing, but also the culture and history, and an amazing amount about flowers and birds (of which he has a keen interest).   We learnt about the national animal the Vicuna and saw alpacha and lama.
The high point for the day was quite literally reaching the ´high point´- 4,950 mts.  A breathless experience that you simply have to experience to understand the effect on your body.  We also enjoyed a buffet lunch, more delicious local food before a fascinating drive along the valley to our final destination for the day, Cabanaconde.  A village of 1,000 people situated at 3,300 mts.

The next morning, a cruising start - 7.30am breakfast, then we began our trek down to the Canyon floor - 1,200 mts down.  The descent was was very steep, rocky and narrow in places.
  We shared the track with locals, including donkey´s and mules.  We stopped on occasion to catch our breath and admire the views, including the beautiful flight of the condor.  It took us three hours to make our way to the base of the canyon... Dave struggled somewhat with the heat that increased as the morning worn on.  It was only 11.30am by the time we arrived, but 30 degrees - the pool at the bottom was a welcomed arrival point.  The afternoon disappeared sitting around the pool, exploring the river, talking with others, and settling into our tent. 

Dinner was by candle light and the stars were amazing, no electricity made us feel very remote.  Just like deepest darkest Peru... but we didn´t discover any of Paddington Bears relatives... lol.

We woke at 3.45am for pancakes before we headed back up the hill.
  Surprisingly, we took only 2:50hrs to reach the top.  Walking up was slow, but steady, and somehow easier than coming down.  It was incredible to start in the dark and welcome the day as the sun rose in the sky. 

After congratulating ourselves with coffee and chocolate, we boarded the bus.  Enjoyed another amazing experience viewing the condor.  Before returning to Arequipa... tired, satisfied and ready to sleep.  Overall it was a fantastic trip, shared with our Swiss companions Ueli and Marianne.  When we are in our 60s we hope to be as active, fit and fun.

drksecret says:
That looks pretty cool!!
Posted on: Jun 16, 2008
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photo by: halilee