We booked our Colca Canyon tour through Peru Hop simply for ease and it meant we could go straight away and catch the next bus to Cusco without hanging around for a few more days in Arequpia.
The Canyon is about 3 hours away from Arequpia and takes you almost 5000m above sea level. Given that the night before we’d been by the sea we hadn’t had much time to acclimatise and spent most of the first day with dull headaches.
In This region of Peru you’ll find lots of different products made from the coca leaf (the same leaf they make cocaine from). You can buy coca sweets, coca tea and dried coca leaves. The Incas used to use the coca leaf to limit the symptoms of altitude sickness. I’m not sure whether the leaves really did have an effect however, as we only tried some sweets, which tasted just like any old toffee.
If you think of Peru you probably think of bright colours and women in bright coloured dress and skirts, carrying children in blankets in their backs (and alpacas and llamas of course!). As yet we hadn’t seen this side of Peru, but as we entered the Colca region this image was everywhere. It did leave you wondering whether it was more for tourism than how they’d actually dress though.
We hopped off the bus for a walk admiring our surroundings. The walk ended in a trip to some hot springs. The only hot springs I’d visited before were in Italy, and the sulphur smell emitting from them made bathing less enjoyable (sulphur smells just like rotten eggs). These springs didn’t smell at all, and made for the perfect relaxation point.
We headed to Chivay, a small village in the canyon where we would be staying the night. At dinner our food was accompanied by some traditional Peruvian music and dance. Whilst I didn’t really understand what was going on – a man in a balaclava got hit by a woman, before he then hit her back with some rope and then they danced together – it was interesting to see and made for a fun evening.
Want more Peru travel ideas?
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