Peru - Breathtaking... travel blog

Pedestrian mall in Arequipa

Spanish Colonial Architecture








El Misti Volcano

Private van and driver to the Colca Canyon

Vicuna Reserve

They are here somewhere

Right on cue


Nice views in Vicuna land



Bizarre animals

Rest stop


Baby Alpaca (with fur intact)


Our highest point - Over 16,000'!!

At 16,000' you might as well be on the moon




The road to the Colca Canyon

Chivay from above


In Chivay

Colca Lodge




The Spa


Natural Hot Springs

Ready to hit the hot springs







Drinks before dinner

There are a few stars here!

We spent a couple of hours exploring the pedestrian mall near the main plaza in Arequipa. It is a really pretty city full of Spanish colonial buildings built with the white rock from the nearby mountains. After a quick look around, we were picked up by Julio, our driver for the next couple of days. We drove past the perfectly cone-shaped volcano, El Misti and through a high altitude national park that is a protected area for Vicunas, another bizarre looking animal related to Alpaca and Llamas. Wool from Vicuna is even nicer than Alpaca but the Vicunas are impossible to domesticate so the wool is extremely expensive (between $500-$1000 for a small scarf!). We stopped briefly at the Mirador de los Volcanes, the high point of our drive (and the highest elevation we've ever been at) at over 16,000'. Then it was downhill until we reached a view point over one end of the Colca Canyon, a beautiful sight with colourful terraces around the small town of Chivay. We had lunch in the town before heading further along the canyon on very bumpy, gravel roads until we reached our home for the next 2 nights, The Colca Lodge. Julio dropped us off with promises to pick us up bright and early the next morning. The Lodge is amazing. Petty cabanas that blend in with the surroundings, beautifully landscaped with fields of quinoa and wheat all around it and it is located right on the river. The best part is that there are natural hot springs here and they have built natural "tubs" of varying temperatures right in the river. There is also a full service spa. We wasted no time grabbing our robes and soaking in the hot springs before having a great meal in the hotel lounge and then oohing and ahhing in amazement as we looked at the stars. Tomorrow we go in search of Andean Condors.

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