Forrest Glick

Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Highs and Lows of Perú

A 10-hour overnight bus ride will get you from Cusco to Arequipa. With a dramatic backdrop of three volcanic peaks (the tallest being 5825m El Misti), Arequipa sits on the southern branch of the Pan-American highway and features a dizzying array of activities, including hiking, rafting, biking and satisfying all gastronomical desires.
Hot Springs at the bottom of the canyon provided an oasis from the heat and a much appreciated opportunity to relax after the six hour hike.
Colca Canyon sits roughly 100 miles northwest of Arequipa. With a depth of over 13,650 ft, it is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. A three-hour bus ride put us at the overlook to begin our two-day trek into the canyon.
The Andean condor, with a wingspan of 3.2 meters, inhabits the Colca Canyon.
We started at 4:30am the next morning to beat the heat of the sun. It took about 3 hours to climb out of the canyon.
On the return trip to Arequipa, we stopped in the small town of Cabanaconde. The center of town featured a square around which men and women had assembled to listen to speeches by local organizers.
Little shops line the streets and offer everything from piñas to periódicos.
I had an amazing time in Perú. The people were friendly, the food was excellent, and there were ample opportunities to keep busy with a range of outdoor activities. I hope to make it back again someday, but for now, it's off to Spain and Europe for more adventures!
We took a little break (siesta) after lunch and enjoyed views of the canyon walls.