Colca Canyon

I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about one of the deepest canyons in the world and its quiet impressive with its 3191m depth. To compare it with something we can look at the pretty famous “Grand Canyon” which is only 1857m deep. Besides that the tour agency almost guarantee that I would see a condor, South Americas biggest land bird.

Of course I booked it and at 03.00 I got picked up at my hostel by a small minibus for a long drive towards the Colca Canyon. A few hours later, around 06.00 it was time for breakfast and our first stop, which was nice until it turned out to be a tourist trap. Suddenly two small kids join us, dressed in a Peru uniform and tried to do some sort of classic dance. I give them a capital a for trying, but the implementation wasn’t really that good and of course they demanded money afterwards.

Once we arrived to the Colca valley it was time for our second stop which means, second tourist trap. It was a small village with a market who sold the usual crappy things and of course a bunch of alpacas which you can get your photo with for a solel. The most weird thing was though a gentleman had dressed up as a condor and for “only” five solels you could get a hug by the condor. The dress was so terrifying though that I didn’t even dare to take a photo of it.

Lucky for us we soon jumped into the car again an headed for the climax of the day, the condor viewpoint. At more or less the top of the canyon they have built a viewpoint so you can literally look down, into the canyon and down at the birds who are majestic gliding around and looking for food. It was just one simple problem, there was no birds there. None, zero, zipp. After approx 40 minutes we finally saw three birds far far away in the horizon and we had to agree that we were beaten, such an anticlimax. However the luck changed and while driving down from the viewpoint suddenly the car hit the breaks really hard, we stormed out and yes, it was a youngster but still a free, wild, living condor. I did both get to see him in real life and took a picture, that saved the day!

The tour continued to stop number three, which means tourist trap number three. This time it was time to take a swim in hot springs. For you who know your geography knows that Peru has a lot of volcanoes and volcanoes are hot. That means that the hot springs was really, really hot and the people who paid for it could do it for five minutes before they had to go to the local river to cool down. Myself took a cold beer instead and just watched the spectacle, maybe laughing a bit for myself.

The last stop for the day was another viewpoint, this time to see all the volcanoes in the area. Around 5000m above sea level, a cold breeze and clouds so you actually didn’t see the volcanoes made sure that was a fiasco too. Sometimes you simply don’t have the luck with you and I guess that I could spent these 14 hours in a better way but hey, at least I saw a condor!