Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon Travel Blog

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Watch out! Llamas!

A mini-bus picked us up from the hostel and drove us to a shop on the outskirts of town. The tour guide told us that this was a toilet stop, and our next stop would be in three hours to drink mate de coca at a café in order to minimise altitude sickness.

I noticed that most other people seemed to be buying up coca leaves and coca tea like it was going out of fashion, but figured these people were just being paranoid.

We all got onto a bigger bus and drove off towards the mountains. About half an hour in Jesus said (oh yeah, the tour guide was called Jesus and even had a beard, though more of a Mexican goatee than a proper Jesus-on)

‘..ok, now is a good time to drink your coca tea in order to avoid sorache…’

Little fucker didn’t tell us that earlier.

Colca canyon.

By the time we got to the first stop dutch-boy was starting to feel a bit funny due to the altitude. I felt fine, but chugged down some mate de coca nonetheless.

The rest of the day consisted of driving along, with periodic stops to take photos, look at llamas or have a little walk. At every stop you would find seven or eight local women had set up a little store, just in case you wanted a wooly hat or alpaca sweater.

The highest point we got to was 4,800m above sea level, but I still felt fine. Strange.

By the evening we arrived at Chivas (pronounced ‘CHEEEEEEE-va’ by Jesus, who had an annoying habit of shouting and massively over-enunciating any word that was Spanish, Quecheca or a place name).

Suddenly I felt shit. Really shit. Nausea, vomiting, extreme diarrhea.

Indiginous wool tat-sellers
Ex-treme. The main deal was the liquid expulsion - it was like garden taps flowing out of both ends. I was pretty sure it wasn’t altitude sickness - more likely I had eaten something funny. Hilarious.

The next day was unpleasant. I tried to sleep (inbetween explosive bouts) and became feverish. The minibus was uncomfortably hot and when Jesus wasn’t shouting like a maniac, he put on loud, crap Spanish music that consisted again of shouting, but with mental percussion going off in the background just to make it even more annoying. I kept having flashbacks of his beardy bum-face shouting ‘CHEEEEEE-va’ for the next few days…

Eventually we got back to Arequipa. I spent a couple of days in the budget hotel, with von Dutch bringing me bananas and water, then me crapping them straight back out.

Spot the difference

A look through my Lonely Planet and the symptoms best fitted Cholera, so I got hold of the recommended antibiotics and took them. This lead to things improving, though I was weak I was moving in the right direction.

I told Ivo to carry on to Puno without me, and I may catch him up once I’d fed myself up.

I booked into a nicer hotel (it had toilet paper and everything) and spent the next two days drinking energy drinks, eating bread, hallucinating and having the odd dubious bowel movement.

I later found a mysterious wound on my ankle, that a doctor at the next hostel confirmed was a snake bite, so I think that goes a fair way to explaining the actual cause of my problem…

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Watch out! Llamas!
Watch out! Llamas!
Colca canyon.
Colca canyon.
Indiginous wool tat-sellers
Indiginous wool tat-sellers
Spot the difference
Spot the difference
Burro
Burro
Colca Canyon
photo by: Vlindeke