Condor CanyonApril 10 in Peru
It was a loooong day drive down to Chivay, the gateway to the Colca Canyon, at over 9 hours. This is double what we would normally do, but we were way above 4,000m for almost all of it and we didn't fancy sleeping that high and exposed if we didn't need to. Actually when we reached the wild camp spot we had in mind the snow was coming down so thick there was no way we weren't going to drive the extra hour to drop down into the town.
We squeezed into a small hostel driveway and had our first shower for 5 days. The following morning we stocked up in the local market and headed to yet another mechanic for a new noise that bizarrely started only as we pulled into the hostel the night before. First they found that the guys who did our alignment hadn't put things back together right, and our steering arms weren't secured. Everyone thought that was the noise started but within a few blocks it was obvious it wasn't. We headed back and completely stripped out the suspension one of the front wheels and found that the spring was rubbing on the housing which was making the racket. Apparently this spring was a different size to the other one, but it's bizarre we'd managed 30,000 miles without it causing an issue. Replacement parts were all the way back in Lima, so we used a lump hammer to buy us some breathing room so hopefully that's the end of our weird noises from the front end for a while (he says unconfidently).
That had ruined our plan of a lazy day in the sun on the canyon edge, but actually he afternoon was thick fog so we tentatively found our camp spot on the canyon rim and settled down for the night.
In the morning we woke to sun rise over the canyon, and took our morning brews to look out for the famous condors. We spent a couple of hours just sitting there watching the massive creatures (3m+ wingspan) cruising on the thermals.
We parked up in the main square of the next small town and were delighted to bump into our friends we'd first met on the beach in El Salvador over a year ago. The last time we'd seen them involved all day drinking and a street burger in our home town of Leon, Nicaragua and we'd been chasing them down for the last couple of months. They'd just finished hike we were about to start so we made plans to meet in Arequipa and parted ways again.
Surprisingly it only took us a couple of hours to descend down into the canyon floor 1,200m below. This time we were travelling light we found an 'Oasis' at the bottom with a nice swimming pool which we spent the afternoon lounging around. Maya lived it here especially as she had 2 amigos to play with who had followed us all tge way down from the top! After an early night in our private dorm we then headed back up which took considerably more time - just over 3 hours, still with our little band of doggies. Exhausted we headed back to Chivay and the wonderful thermal pools for an afternoon of soaking.Read more