To read about day 1 of the tour click here.
We were woken fairly early to get breakfast the next morning so we could set off as soon as possible. Our first visit of the day was in Maca where we had a quick look around the church although I think far more of the group were interested in the women with their alpacas that were starting to gather around the main square ready to have their pictures taken with the tourists. We didn’t hang around here long as we needed to make our way to our main sight of the day.
One of the most famous aspects of Colca Canyon is the chance to see Andean Condors flying over the valley using the air currents to soar through the sky. Most of their activity is in the morning roughly around 8am. Our guide gave us the option of a walk or to take the bus to the main viewpoint “Cruz del Condor”. Our bus ended up splitting about half and half. Considering we hadn’t had time to do the canyon trek, Fraser and I opted to go with the walking group. We started along the road when suddenly we spied about 5 condors gliding effortlessly high above our heads. We continued underneath them and then turned right away from the road and towards the edge of the canyon itself. Here we were able to see along the canyon valley, see the condors dropping down into it and complete a walk along the edge. There were only a couple of groups doing this so it was a relatively quiet way of enjoying the wildlife and scenery. We soon realised this would only last until we started to approach Cruz del Condor where seemingly thousands of tourists were jostling to get the best views. I would recommend the 2 day tour over the 1 day just to be able to do the walk to enjoy the area more peacefully.
We then began the long trip back towards Arequipa stopping at a few more look out points along the way. There were less of the steep, rocky cliff sides and more agricultural terraces spread as far as the eye could see which was a nice variation of scenery. The whole area is undeniably very beautiful and well worth making the effort to go out and see.
We picked the 2 day tour which we found to be the best fit in our overall itinerary. It can be done in 1 day but be prepared for a 3am start and to have a limited time in each location. While we didn’t do much extra compared to the day trippers, it was all at a far more leisurely pace and it did mean we had the chance to do the walk along the edge of the canyon.
Once back in Arequipa I went for a wander through the city which has so much charm and left me disappointed we didn’t have longer there to be able to properly explore. I would especially like to go back to have the chance to either climb or mountain bike down El Misti.
Have you been to Colca Canyon? Would you recommend the day trip, 2 day tour or the canyon hike?