Colca Canyon is located at the end of the valley and getting there involved a bumpy drive along a dusty road. It’s definitely a check your fillings type of ride! On the way we stopped off at some excellent scenic viewpoints and also visited a couple of rural villages. It was a bit sad and somewhat uncomfortable to see tourists having their photos taken with wild birds in exchange for a payment. Obviously doing this encourages more birds to be captured. I don’t mind having a llama selfie taken with a roaming (yet reasonably tame) animal in the wild but it’s sad to see these large majestic birds tied down and restricted just so someone can have a picture.
The canyon itself is an amazing sight. Its sheer scale can’t be done justice with photos. You have to see it with your own eyes. We got there at 8am. This is a popular visiting time as around then condors often circle around the main viewpoint. I’m not much of a birdwatcher but you can’t fail to be impressed by these huge beautiful creatures. Later we found out how lucky we were that so many showed up and flew close by.
I’d imagine that we only experienced a small overview of Colca Canyon. It’s maybe not as colourful as the Grand Canyon but it’s much deeper and spectacular in its own right. The hours of driving down bumpy winding roads to get there was certainly worthwhile.
Back in Arequipa I called into the Red Lion Pub, an English-themed bar that bizarrely sells exclusive Peruvian craft beer, served by a South African bloke wearing a Bayern Munich shirt!