Arequipa & Colca Canyon

Just got back from a very short trek into the world’s deepest canyon. Again, SO MUCH PAIN! No more trekking for a while. I forgot that by hiking down into a giant canyon, it meant that at some point we would have to climb back out! I met some nice Irish gals in a hostel in Arequipa after Mark left, and together with the two of them and another guy from Scotland, we headed off to Colca Canyon 2 days ago! 7 hour busride to Cabanaconde where we stayed the night in a 10 sole (approx $4) hostel. Next morning we were off on our little crazy adventure!  4 hours to San Juan, a small village in the canyon, 3 or so hours around and about to a few more smaller places of Cosñirhua and Malata, and then finally to the OASIS of Sangalle at the end of the day!!! Had some time to soak in the natural pools and get 12 hours of sleep in before the climb out! 4 hours later… back in Cabanaconde.

It took me about 3 hours and 20 minutes to get out of the canyon… Serious personal challenge. At one point, I nearly took a nap to take a break from the climb! It was such a tease… people coming down the trail and telling me I was close, that I had an hour left, 30 minutes, 10 minutes, an hour, close… ahhh!! Meanwhile it took 1 1/2 hours for a Peruvian that passed me on the trail. I do NOT understand how they do it! They are all amazing healthy mountain and canyon people here in Peru I think… able to do everything a million times more easily than me! haha. Also loved talking to people about the native language Quechua and seeing people out and about in traditional clothes, not for only presentation. And of course, the canyon was beautiful! Not every day you can say you’ve been down in the world’s deepest canyon! Cabanaconde at 3,287 meters, San Juan de Chuccho at 2,300, Cosñirhua at 2,660, and Oasis de Sangalle at 2,160… Whew! Enough ups and downs!

Arequipa is a pretty city, lovely mountains and the El Misti volcano in the backdrop. I wanted to try to climb El Misti but judging by the state of my legs at the moment, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Mark was able to spend a day here in Arequipa too before heading back to the US of A, a chance to explore another city besides Cusco for a moment. Cusco was so addicting and perfectly over-the-top touristy where there was anything and everything you could ever want! We nicknamed it The Trap because along with 2 other friends, we ended up staying about 3 extra days more than planned! Met up with a bunch of volunteers from Pisco that found their way to Cusco, all had an amazing time… Cusco is gorgeous and comfortable, always more to see and do. I could easily have spent even more time there. Not to mention, you can have a night out without spending a cent! In Plaza de Armas, the promoters MOB you and give you tons of free drink tickets for their discos, and you can basically just go back and forth between them, of course dancing, for the entire night!

Anyways, tomorrow I will be heading off to Puno with these Irish gals, and at some point meeting up with another friend from Pisco. Puno will be my last stop in Peru until I make my way back to Pisco to volunteer for some more time. I will consider a SHORT stop in Cusco as well if time and budget permits. 🙂 I will be off to Bolivia next for the next month or so – travel and hopefully some good volunteer opportunities!

Final flight arrangements coming soon… exact dates to be announced for Wisconsin, as well as a Boston visit on my way to Spain! Even more exciting, probably more for me than anyone else, but I will be post some lists, top things, summaries, and other tidbits on what will in the end be a full year of exploring South America. Hopefully it will be a chance for me to recap on everything I’ve left out of this blog so far, the little things that are important to remember but easy to forget when short on time and words! Coming soon sporadically over these last 3 months!

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