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In Arequipa some travelers told me about the Colca Canyon and a near by town called Chivay so I figured I would head there and spend a day or so. from Arequipa you climb up and over a 4,910 meter pass where the bus stopped for a minute along with another short stop where you could see some of the snow capped mountains. The bus was cheap, slow and bumpy but eventually we rolled into the Chivay bus station, the biggest building in the town. Getting my stuff together after I just stepped off the bus a tall, curly haired blonde from Holland asked me what my plan was. “I dont have one”, “good me either wanna go look for a hostal”. If I were a girl I would not have but we ended up splitting the cost of a double room then went to find out about tours to the Cruz del Condor.

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while sitting outside of the market having dinner two dogs started fighting and banged into Les and spilled her soup all over the place, luckily the mess was able to be cleaned up.  The dogs kept coming back trying to eat the soup from the ground and one food vendor lady pilled a white hot rod from the coals of her cart and waved it at the dog sending him running.

The following morning we had to be up at 6 to get our tour bus to go see the condors flying around in the canyon. we stopped to get a few other people along the way and two Texans I met on the bus to Chivay piled in. Then a girl I only saw on the street in Chivay got in, Christine, I later learned was from Texas too. She was on her way to a town further down and only had 10 minutes to photograph the condors. we never got to say good bye.

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Their wing span can get up to 3 meters. That’s 11ft.

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When I got back to Chivay I bought my ticket, planning  on riding back to Arequipa with Les but Christines description of the Oasis at the bottom of the Colca Canyon convinced me to buy a second ticket heading to Kabanakonde and forget about returning to Arequipa.

IMG_0203 (640x332)I got to Kabanakonde at night and just followed some other backpackers who looked like they knew where they were going and ended up at Pachamama a backpackers hostal and got a room then sat down to take a look at some guides. Just as I got settled in I saw Christine walking up to me. We put together a plan to hike down the two hour trail, descending 1,500 meters.

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While I waited for Christine I went to the market in the plaza to buy some snacks and made a friend, a black street dog, who just kept following me. He followed us down into the trail head, running ahead to stop in the shade and wait for us.

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That green blob was our goal but the gravely steep and sometimes too narrow trail were no fun and having gotten a late start we were hiking down in an oven. 4 hours later we made it to the bottom.

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These animals are the delivery service for the Oasis no roads access the bottom so food and drink are brought in on mules.

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The powerless resort seemed out of our price range but it turned out to be only 10 soles per night. After spending three nights we organized mules to take us up and out of the canyon, knowing how hard it was going to be. In the end we spent a tad over 75 bucks each for three nights. How much would have that place cost back in the USA?

At the top of the canyon again we talked with several people who said the guide books strongly recommend against taking mules up because they frequently slip on the rocky trail and go over the edge with their rider on board. our dog also made it back up after three nights of sleeping in the grass outside of our room at the oasis called Sengalle.

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pup christine and me