The Condors

Colca Canyon Travel Blog

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This was taken from a viewpoint on the way to Condor Crossing.

      By 8:20 in the morning, we were standing at a lookout point 31 miles outside of Chivay at Cruz del Condor, or Condor Cross. We waited about half an hour before we caught our first glimpses of the graceful Andean condors, who have wingspans that can reach up to twelve feet, circling below us in the gorge. A crowd of tourists from around the world gathered with us, zoom lenses ready to capture the stunning wildlife spectacle. There are only about forty of these immense creatures, which have earned the title of the world's largest bird, who inhabit Colca Canyon. They stand at over three feet tall, and since they are too heavy to simply lift off of the ground, they must take flight from cliff perches.

You can see the lookout point in the photo where we waited for the condors to appear.
  It is known that these birds make their flights in this specific location nearly every morning between 8:00 and 10:00. We watched the majestic flight for over an hour and were able to witness about ten or fifteen fly above the gorge below us. With each pass, the condors would gain altitude, but we were unable to witness them soar above our own heads. Although we were slightly disappointed that they did not reach our altitude before our departure, we left in awe of the massive birds' grace and beauty.

      Following our stay at the Condor Cross, we continued on the road, slowly making our way back to the sleepy town of Chivay. On our way, we again stopped at several viewpoints to capture more snapshots of Colca Canyon. We also made a quick stop in a small town called Maca, which was largely destroyed by a 1979 earthquake.

The canyon is gorgeous!
In fact, the town is sinking and the ground level is no longer even throughout the town. While in town, we visited Santa Ana, a restored white church with a surprising gilded interior. Some of the local men asked Jason and the other guys in our group to help them move the large altar created to honor Mary, so Jason helped relocate the large structure to another position in the church.

      The bus then continued on to the small town of Chivay, where the three of us found a small pizza place directly off the Plaza de Armas. We enjoyed a quick lunch on the patio as we watched a small, unorganized band of about nine people march through the square, blasting their music as they passed. They stopped in front of the church and played there for quite a while.

Jason helped the locals move an altar in an old church in Maca.
We assumed that the small procession was most likely in honor of some religious event or holiday.

      After lunch, we endured an uncomfortable three-hour bus ride back to Arequipa. Once in Arequipa, the three of us enjoyed our last dinner together in the city, well aware that we would be on a plane home the following afternoon. We shared our favorite memories from the trip, and unanimously we all enjoyed the Inca Trail the most. I told them they would thank me when it was all said and done! I think we are all leaving here with an assortment of memories that will never be forgotten. Now we have to get to planning the next big trip!

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This was taken from a viewpoint on…
This was taken from a viewpoint o…
You can see the lookout point in t…
You can see the lookout point in …
The canyon is gorgeous!
The canyon is gorgeous!
Jason helped the locals move an al…
Jason helped the locals move an a…
582 km (362 miles) traveled
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Colca Canyon
photo by: Vlindeke