Arequipa and the Colca Caycon

Arequipa Travel Blog

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El Misti looming over Arequipa

From Sarah's journal: 19/11 - 23/11

... Friday = Taxi to Cusco bus station and depart on our lovely Julsa cama overnight bus - even get dinner - to Arequipa. Wake up at 4.30am to realise the bus has stopped and there is a huge back up of vehicals due to a road block. (A lot of angry farmers protesting for more money from the state). Luke is feeling pretty rough so we decide to wait on the bus. 4 hours later and with most of the other passageners already walking the bus starts moving again. As we pass the road block we are asked to pull the curtains and stay away from the windows - nothing happens, only big rocks in the road that the driver has to manoeuver around.

Santa Catalina Monastery

Glad to be moving again. At an hour out of Arequipa Luke is sick - yay for extra supermarket bags and the decision is made to spend the rest of the day resting.

Friday afternoon = hammocks, blog, read, journal, research tours. Luke managed to accompany me to dinner a few blocks from the hostel. Arequipa is a beautiful city, cool white stone buildings and its been great to relax in the hammocks in the sun at the hostel. Decided to book canyon tour for the Sunday and have an extra day to rest. Also going to go with a tour to avoid the stress of getting lost and its nice to have everything sorted for you when you're not feeling well.

Saturday = was a busy city exploring day. Luke is feeling better so able to stroll the streets and plazas. Went to see Juanita (the Inca ice princess) found in 1995.

Sunrise in Colca Canyon
She was a child sacrifice to the mountain gods. Very insightful museum and we gained lots of information about the Inca race and practices. After lunch we confirmed our canyon tour and had a quick look around a beautiful monestry, opened to the public in 1970 and before that not much was known what went on for the nuns in their city within a city. A very beautiful, peaceful place where you can sense God and prayer in every footstep. I felt that I could be a nun if I got to live here but only for a week or so!
Back to the hostel in time for the England vs NZ rugby game. Well done All Blacks. Quick turkish dinner and early to bed for only 4 hours of sleep before the bus picks us up at 3am!

Sunday and Monday = I'm writing these two days together because they blur into one! Picked up brighted eyed and bushy tailed at 3.

Made it back up!
15am. Once the rest of the group was collected we set off to the Colca Canyon (the 2nd deepest in the world - the deepest being just round the corner). I slept for most of the 4 hour journey. Awoke at Cruz del Condor for a 45min break, to meet our guide, Remy, and hopefully see some condors (Luke and I got a glimpse of one which was more than the other 500 people watching!).

Back in the minivan, we drive to our starting point, just outside of Cabanaconde. We are a little walking group consisting of Remy, Luke, myself and Ravi (Indian born American from San Franisco, also a keen explorer). The downhill started well, a hard path on the knees and the dusty ground got you at times, plus with no barrier protecting you from the sheer drop on one side could led to vertigo if you looked over too often. Oh and you also had to make space for the donkeys coming up from time to time. Lunch in San Juan, a lovely farmland osais. Sadly Ravi is feeling the heat, dehydration and altitude (nasty little combination) so we rest a little longer then take the 'short cut' route to our lodgings for the night. We arrived at the Oasis and I for one was thankful for the shorter walking time and the chance to cool and dust off in the swimming pool. Nice relaxing night playing cards and listening to Remy share some of the Canyons history. Informed after dinner that we had the joyeous wake up time of 4am, ready by 4.15am and walking by 4.30. Sadly no 'discotheque' for us that night!

The uphill was hard. Not only because of the 2 hours 40 minutes of continueous gradient but I had caught Lukes tummy bug so needed a toilet stop every now and then. However the sunrise was stunning over the mountains, surrounding scenery and the sense of achievement at the top was worth it. After breakfast, Remy departs with his new group to do it all again (what a machine) and we are left to enjoy the bus trip back to Arequipa with a a few stops at the hot pools, lunch and highest point in the snow on the way. 

Feels good to be back at the hostel, showered and caught up on emails and facebook news. Tomorrow is another early start to get into Chile. The adventures continue...

Lots of love

sylviandavid says:
fun read.... thanks for your work at sharing this.
Posted on: Jan 22, 2010
t3dvb says:
Hi there! We are loving the photos- some stunning views. I have to make myself not worry about you getting ill. I certainly wouldn't be climbing a mountain with a tummy bug. School is completely crazy and we've still got three weeks to go! Love to all your family, Sarah. Can't believe you will be in NZ in 10 days time. Very jealous :-( Much love Mum and Dad xxxxxxxxxx
Posted on: Nov 27, 2009
bandrcarey says:
You two are amazing, managing to keep on going even tho you are not well. Getting up at god forsaken hours to catch His beginnings of new days!
What a trip!
Today I sent off a New Zealand pohutakawa angel for The Bowers English Christmas tree, the sun is hot, school is crazy, and I am about to make a bean salad for 90. Thank goodness for Watties!
Only 10 sleeps to go for us until you hit New Zealand to stop for a rest!
Dad is looking a a car to buy tonight which will give us two vehicles.
A 4 door Rav, and also a motor scooter!
Lovely to know you are now in Chile. Take care, keep on looking after each other! God Bless Mum and Dad.
Posted on: Nov 26, 2009
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El Misti looming over Arequipa
El Misti looming over Arequipa
Santa Catalina Monastery
Santa Catalina Monastery
Sunrise in Colca Canyon
Sunrise in Colca Canyon
Made it back up!
Made it back up!
photo by: halilee