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A white city, a brown town and Condors

Arequipa, Peru

After an overnight bus from Cusco we made it into Arequipa at around 530am!! We thought that we were to arrive at around 7, but we were early.

We took a taxi to our hostel and were dumped on the street outside. After 5 minutes of ringing the door bell, we were feeling a little exposed and wandering what to do? However, after a couple more minutes whilst consulting our Lonely Planet, the door opened and we were shown inside. Phew!!!

Arequipa itself is a lovely town, built mainly of volcanic stone (sillar), hence the name of the white city. It has a great backdrop consiting of a volcanoe (El Misti 5822m) and a number of big mountains, such as (Chachani 6075m and Picchu Picchu 5571m).

We really enjoyed the vibe of Arequipa. Compared to Cusco it was very laid back. We had a great day wandering around the Santa Catalina Monastery in the city, which we pretty much had to ourselves.

After deciding not to climb the big mountains, I (Chris) decided that going into the Colca Canyon was a good idea. (It is the deepest canyon in the world and there are Condors to be seen). Of course I wanted to get there!

Getting to Cabanaconde entailed a 5.5 hour bus ride, which took us over one of the highest roads being 4800m. A very scenic drive, where we saw wild Llamas and Vicuñas.

Cabanaconde is a very small adobe village, although it does have its Plaza de Armas!! We arrived at around lunch time and found ourselves the best hostel in the place (there was only really two to choose from!) For those that don´t know, Adobe just means that the houses are made from mud, hence looking quite rustic.

We were planning on hiking into the canyon to visit the Oasis, however Corinne wasn´t really feeling up to it, so we decided that we´d only stay the one night there intead of two and go see the Condors in the morning on our way back to Arequipa.

The Condors were amazing. They really are huge animals with a wing span of around 2m and seem to effortlessly glide on the thermal currents. We spent a good hour and a half watching them take off and cruise around. we were surprised as to how close they got.

After our bird watching we headed back on the local bus to Chivay, where we spent an hour waiting for the next bus to Arequipa. Although the birds were great, we were thinking at the end of the 11hr round trip if they were worth it!!

Another interesting thing we did in Arequipa was to see ´Juanita´ the ice princess at the Museo Santuarios Andinos. She is a frozen Inca maiden who was sacrificed on the summit of Mt Ampato over 500 years ago. Considering how old she is, she looks great!! You can see most of her facial features, nails and hair.

All in all, we had a very nice time relaxing in Arequipa, sampling some of the local dishes, including llama. We also found a good burger joint, which helped settle our upset tummies!! Nothing like a good ´ol burger to put things right!!

Next stop, Puno, Puno, Puno...... (for those who have travelled these parts do you recall the crazy bus touts calling out?)

We hope you are all keeping well. Keep the comments coming.

Lots of love,
Chris and Corinne xx

permalink written by  chrishoorweg on September 20, 2007 from Arequipa, Peru
from the travel blog: and one last trip before we come home.........?
tagged Arequipa

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Arequipa, Peru

The night bus to Arequipa was surprisingly comfortable and I got decent sleep (only woke up a few times when the bus took particularly sharp turns along the [[United-States/Mountainside]] roads). Martin had joined us in Cuzco and was pretty beat in Arequipa after multiple flights from BA plus the overnight bus. We arrived around 6am and found out that we couldn't check into our hostel until noon. We groggily stumbled around the city for a few hours, got some breakfast and went to a museum where "Juanita" the famous "ice mummy" was housed. The incas occasionally sacrificed children to the Mountain gods, and explorers had uncovered some of the bodies that had been preserved in thick ice up in the Mountains for hundreds of years. Pretty interesting exhibit aside from us being very tired.

We then walked around the main plaza and stopped for a drink by a cafe. We were sitting there enjoying ourselves when a few locals began hassling the waiter for a table, a few minutes passed and next thing we knew Martin's backpack was gone. Stolen right in front of us! I had read about this type of distraction theft but didn't think it would happen at noon in broad daylight. Luckily, Martin had all his important documents and wallet in his pockets so only lost some clothing and a few other things. Some crazy welcome for him to Peru though...

We checked into our hostel and then went out to explore the city again - this time extra careful with our belongings. We visited some markets, got lunch, and planned our excursion to Colca Canyon for the next day. Arequipa celebrates the day it was founded on August 15th every year - perfect timing for us. We hope to catch some of the festivities when we return to the city on the 15th - but we will tomorrow day and night in the canyon.

permalink written by  bhkann on August 14, 2010 from Arequipa, Peru
from the travel blog: Peru 2010
tagged Peru and Arequipa

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