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Posts tagged “Colca Canyon

ROAD TO TITICACA, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru

Maca was the last village we visited in the Colca Canyon.  Stood against the Andean mountains, the pure white walls and green painted doorway of Maca’s church left us a lingering feeling of the Altiplano (Andean Plateau) villages in this part of Peru.  It was a feeling that emerges from simple but harsh living condition, rough but beautiful landscapes, humble villagers mingled with curious tourists.  After Chivay, our minibus continued to crisscross the mountain roads in the area of Salinas and Aguada Blanca National Reserve where we passed by the day before.  Soon, we bid farewell to the area with our last glance of the Misti Volcano.

The ride heading east to Puno was bumpy and felt awfully long.  In mid-afternoon, we reached the picturesque Laguna Lagunillas at 4,450m above sea level.  Dozens of flamingos dotted the blue icy water, against a backdrop of golden windswept landscape.  In the strong and freezing winds, we stood as long as we could to take in the scenery and refreshing mountain air.  After the magnificent lake, the minibus just kept on going east until the sun was set.

After hours of bus ride in the mountains, we were all exhausted when we arrived at Puno.  Located right by the northwestern shore of Lake Titicaca, Puno is the largest city in the Southern Altiplano.  It is a transportation hub and a convenient base for tourists to explore the lake and its islands.  We walked a bit in the downtown area, found a place to grab a quick bite, and retired early to our hotel room to gain some rest in order to get over the high altitude syndrome as best  as we could.  The next day, we would sail out the highest navigable lake (by large boats) in the world to experience the magic of the deep blue Lake Titicaca.

9Church at Maca village near Chivay.

10The underside of the green doorway of Maca church.

2Even at sleepy Maca, tourism has been transforming the life of villagers in recent years. We tried a freshly squeezed juice of a local fruit which we all loved it. A small vendor next to the juice stand was an old woman selling dried roots chips which tasted delicious too.

1Farewell to Misti Volcano.

3By the mountain highway at an altitude of 4,450m, Laguna Lagunillas was really in the middle of nowhere.

4Crystal clear water and groups of flamingos.

5Peaceful scenery of Laguna Lagunillas.

9Traffic police stand with advertisement of Inca Kola at downtown Puno.

10Streetscape of downtown Puno near central market.

11Vendors at the main covered market in Puno.

13El Rancho, a grilled chicken restaurant in downtown Puno.

14Bread for sale on the street of Puno.

15The Glorioso Colegio Nacional de San Carlos at Pino Park in downtown Puno.

16Iglesia de San Juan at Pino Park in downtown Puno.

17The pedestrianized Lima Street in downtown Puno.

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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru

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FARMING TERRACES, Colca Canyon, Peru

We should have spent more time in the Colca Canyon.  Our 2-day local tour allowed us very little time to enjoy the natural scenery of the magnificent valley, except stopping at lookouts along the way to and from the Cruz del Condor.  If time allowed, we could have done one of the hiking tours that reach the very bottom of the canyon.  At twice the depth of Arizona’s Grand Canyon, the bottom of Colca Canyon is much warmer and more humid than the top.  The Colca Canyon is largely covered by pre-Inca farming terraces.  For over a thousand years, Andean farmers constructed agricultural terraces to cultivate potatoes, maizes, and other crops in the shallow soil on mountain slopes.

After Cruz del Condor, our tour bus stopped a couple of times along the road for us to appreciate the Colca Canyon.  Farming terraces carved into mountain slope, but not all were planted with crops.  In fact, many terraces, especially the higher ones furthest away from the valley, looked like as if they had been abandoned for centuries.  The stepping profile of the abandoned terraces revealed a fading trace of human manipulations to the rough and mountainous terrain along the Colca River in precolonial times.

It was already noontime by the time we arrived at Chivay.  After lunch, we bid farewell with the rest of the tour group who would return to Arequipa.  We, on the other hand, would switch bus and continue our journey over the Andean highlands to the city of Puno, where we would begin our next phase of our Peruvian journey, the Lake Titicaca.

1Locals at a mountain village at the Colca Canyon.

2Agricultural fields on a plateau in the  Colca Valley.

3[scanned positive slide] Agricultural fields and farming terraces beyond.

4[scanned positive slide] Agricultural fields on a plateau overlooking the depth of Colca Canyon.

5Cactus is common in Colca Canyon.

6Farming terraces were everywhere.

7[scanned positive slide] Farming terraces all the way down to Colca River.

8Farming terraces of Colca Canyon.

9[scanned positive slide] Farming terraces of Colca Canyon.

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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru


YANQUE, Colca Canyon, Peru

All fellow travelers in our tour group chose Chivay as their base to stay the night.  We were the only ones who picked Yanque, a sleepy village a few kilometres west of Chivay.  At Yanque, we checked in at Collahua Hotel, a mountain resort with dozens of guest bungalows.  Each of us have certain degrees of high altitude symptoms.  After a short rest, our guide came to pick us up for the hot spring La Calera Thermal Waters in Chivay.

La Calera is an open-air hot spring.  According to our guide, the thermal water came from a volcanic system nearby.  My friends and I had a great time chatting in the thermal pool.  After the thermal bath, I felt that all my high altitude symptoms were gone.  Our guide then took us to a restaurant in Chivay for dinner.  The restaurant was small but packed with tourists.  After the meal, local musicians came in to play traditional music with Peruvian pan flutes and charangos.  Along with the musicians, dancers dressed in colourful costumes engaged everyone of us with their delightful moves and laughter.  We had some enjoyable moments, especially when one of our friends was invited to join the performers for a dance.

The next morning, we had a brief visit of the small church in Yanque, Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción.  Similar to many colonial architecture in Arequipa, the white walls of Yanque’s Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepcion were made of volcanic sillar stones.  Touches of baroque influences such as the exquisite ornaments on the exterior were visible.  Soon the guide urged everyone to get on the bus to depart for Mirador Cruz de Condor, a popular spot in Colca Canyon where visitors may get a close encounter with the mighty Andean condors.

2Streetscape of Yanque.

3Streetscape of Yanque.

P1020125Streetscape of Yanque.

P1020119Our room at Hotel Collahua in Yanque.

P1020135Yanque’s Hotel Collahua under the early morning sun.

4Dancing children at the main square in the morning.

5Dancing children at the main square in the morning.

6Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, Yanque

7Latin cross at Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, Yanque

8Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, Yanque

11Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción, Yanque

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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru


PERU TRIP 2010

In the next little while, we will engage in recollecting the delightful memories of our journey to Peru in 2010, and post our travel photos to document our first ever travel experience in South America.

In September 2010, with two of our best friends, we made a trip to Peru.  Like many others, the iconic picture of Machu Picchu emerging from the mist of Andes represents our first impression of Peru. Through pre-trip research, we learnt that this South American nation actually has much more to offer than just a postcard image: the Andes mountains, Amazon rainforest, Lake Titicaca, Nazca Lines, ancient cultures, fabulous cuisine, etc.

With Peru’s friendly people and breathtaking scenery, our Peruvian experience was a great introduction to the fascinating continent of Latin America.  For almost three weeks, we made a small loop in Southern Peru, starting from the national capital Lima, then southeast to the colonial gem Arequipa and the mighty Colca Canyon, further east to Lake Titicaca and the peaceful Taquile Island, then west to the Inca capital Cusco and the ruins and villages of the Sacred Valley, trekking the famous Inca Trail with the grand finale at Machu Picchu, and returning to Lima to complete the loop.

The Peru trip was not our most challenging journey, but it is certainly one of the most remarkable and delightful travel experience we have had, especially when we could share the wonderful moments with our two travel buddies.

10PE15-32High up on the Andes, the lost city of Machu Picchu in front of Huayna Picchu captivates everyone’s imagination.

Peru Map_01Our route was a classic tourist loop at the southern part of Peru, taking in Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu.

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Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010

LIMA
1. Peru Trip 2010
2.  Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3.  Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4.  Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5.  Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6.  Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
INCA TRAIL
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru