Arequipa, Peru; Cañon del Colca

Latitude 16.39634°S Longitude 71.53538°W

Wednesday, January 8, 2003

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Arequipa was a charming town in the highlands of Peru. We visited the famous Santa Catalina Convent and booked an overnight trip to the nearby Colca Canyon.

The trip entailed traveling through some beautiful, stark altiplano country. At the highest point the highway reached 5000m - yet no snow or ice anywhere to be seen! We stayed overnight at the tiny town of Chivay and used this as the base for exploring the canyon and surrounding villages. We met some great traveling partners on the trip: Keely and Suzanne from the States, and Miguel and San Cristobal from Mexico City. Hope our paths cross again soon, amigos!

Colca Canyon's main claim to fame is its great depth, which at 1800m is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon in America. It is also a good place to see the fabulous Andean condor. However, in our opinion, it was a little overhyped. Keiko seemed more excited to see the live vicuñas, alpacas and wild chinchillas than the canyon itself. And despite waiting and searching for a few hours, there were no condors to be seen that day.

Photos: (click on images to see full size)

The Santa Catalina Convent in ArequipaSanta Catalina ConventSanta Catalina ConventTypical nun living quartersSanta Catalina ConventSanta Catalina Convent
Sunset over ArequipaVicuñas at the Aguada Blanca Nacional Reserve,
en route to Colca CanyonFluffy vicuña on a desolate highwayCheeky girl at the tiny settlement PatawasiAndean artisan girl, PatawasiBeautiful embroidery on villager's hat
Descending into Chivay, gateway to the Colca CanyonAndean girl, YanqueColca CanyonCactus flower, Colca CanyonSuzanne tries on some local gearChinchillas in the wild!

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