11.01.2012 - 16.01.2012
Peru’s second largest city was presented to me with whitewashed buildings in the Plaza de Armas with Volcano Misti in the background! Despite the colonial/Andean style, Arequipa boasts cosmopolitan cobble streets, the amazing view point from ‘Iglesia San Juan Batista’, a variety of restaurant including one called BruJAS lol. I only spent 1 night here before we headed to Colca de Canyon but did return for a few more nights. Overall it was a nice town to stop over…not much to do apart from hikes, there was a monastery that you could take a tour of (which I did not find fascinating), obviously museums etc same touristy crap not enough the ‘off the beaten track’ routes lol.
12.01.2012 Cabanaconde, Cruz de la Condor - Mamapacha
There was much discussion whether to go to Cabanaconde to check out South American’s deepest canyon (3191m) and to look out for the world’s biggest bird – the Condor. So we decided to go. Cabanaconde is a small town an excellent base for surrounding hikes etc. The one that I done was called ‘Sangalle’ it was an all day hike down to this natural Oasis where you could stay for the night but I felt the G.I Jane come out of me…at the beginning lol but going up was a struggle! It was a tough hike but you would get to see amazing views…I would say that the ‘canyon’ was not really a canyon it was more like a deep/steep valley but overall amazing to look at. We had to stop over several times to chew on some coca leaves as at some point my hands started to swell up. We stayed at this warm hostel called ‘Pachamama’ the owner Luiz was really nice and welcoming. They served great food, had warm showers and the atmosphere was friendly all around. The next day on our way back to Arequipa we decided to stop over ‘Cruz de la Condor’ in Chivay which is the Mirador to see these amazing big birds! We were lucky enough to see 2 Condors that day but we were approached by the tourist police and demanded that we pay 70 Soles as we were in the ‘National park area’ – the system of how they dispatch the tickets is a joke, even if you were just passing they would still charge you. We were lucky enough to dodge the fees; well the guy said that he would follow us to the next town for us to withdraw the money, which he did but forgot about us! I think you would only need 1 night 1 day here but if you love hiking then you could possibly stay for 2 nights. You would see the local esp the women wearing these amazing bowler embroidery hats with oversized heavy skirts…
15.01.2012 Arequipa just chilled when we got back :o)