• Day77

    Colca Canyon Tour

    June 18, 2017 in Peru ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    We opted for the conventional tour by bus which was 2 days 1 night as we were still tired from our Machu Picchu trip. We were collected at 8.30am from our hostel with a few others from USA and Thailand, as well a Peruvian family and were on our way.

    Just before leaving Arequipa we stopped at a shop for people to use the bathroom, buy water or buy some coca leaf products to help with the altitude. Me and Blake haven't really suffered from the altitude so we didn't bother with the latter however the guide bought a big bag of leaves and demonstrated how you can chew them. It involves taking 5 or 6 leaves and wrapping them around a small sweet ash stone that comes with them. This acts as a catalyst and is supposed to help with the taste of the leaves. She then handed around a clump for us all to try. Apart from making your gum slightly numb and providing a rancid taste in your mouth neither of us could see the long term appeal and spat them out shortly after!

    Our first stop was at the entrance to the Reserve National de Aguada Blanca where we could see vicuña, alpacas and llamas. I don't know if you've seen our previous posts or Blakes phone but I think we have more than enough pictures of those!

    We had another short pit stop for the loo and a taste of Inka té. We have had coca tea which is similar to green tea just a bit stronger but Inka tea was coca leaves and 3 other plant based things. It was like growing a bush from a mug but drinking from it! I took a few mouthfuls and handed the rest to Blake.

    Our next stop was at Patapampa which was our highest point of the trip (and South America so far) at 4,910 meters. Here we could see the apachetas which are the stone piles you often see at the beach. There were hundreds of the things! This place was also the volcano look out point where you could see 8 volcanoes including Misti, Ubinas and Chachani. One of them was also smoking from the top which we were told had started 2 years ago.

    Next we drove to Chivay, the little town we would stay in before the canyon the next day. We were shown to our hostel and had some down time before heading to the hot springs.

    The springs were a nice treat but nothing in comparison to the ones we visited in our Machu Picchu trip. We hopped into the hottest pool and stayed there for the next hour or so.

    In the evening we went to a restaurant for dinner which also had a folklore show. There was a four piece band on stage and a couple dancing four traditional dances. On the first dance they pulled people from the crowd so when our food arrived we ate very slowly so as not to be dragged up. On one of the dances they even got people from the crowd to lie on the floor and whipped them. The girl was definitely eyeing me up for this but I grabbed my fork and started eating cold green beans I had left on the side of my plate. Unfortunately we didn't escape the entire performance as we were eventually pulled up into a conga type dance around the restaurant for the last dance.
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