Friday, October 26, 2012

Traveling in Peru [Part 3]: Colca Canyon and El Cruz del Condor

Colca Canyon was one of my favorite parts of the trip. This may or may not have been because our hotel,
Colca Lodge, had wonderfully luxurious hot springs onsite.

After a long day of car travel, it was so nice to check into our room (finally, a crib Ben couldn’t climb out of!) and then don fluffy robes for the walk down to the baths.

My personal version of heaven.

 The pools are located directly above the river. And are clearly rife with colorful minerals:

The hotel also has its own alpaca herd:

Actually I think they had both alpacas and llamas but I can’t tell the difference. I *think* this is a llama:

A bit more wildlife:

The main reason for going to Colca Canyon is to try and spot the Andean Condor, a behemoth of a bird that has a wingspan up to 10 feet across.

Peeps, these birds are massive. Although, frankly, when you’re peering down at an animals from the edge of 4,000’ drop.... they don’t look so big. Just sayin’.

Here’s an immature specimen:

A few lakes at the edge of the cliffs:

We went for a 45-minute hike and I can say, without a doubt, that the altitude was really impacting my ability to place one foot in front of the other. I was huffing and puffing along while our tour guide sprinted up the slope like a gazelle. Given that she was probably close to fifty and had two grown made me feel out of shape.

Here is a nice shallow part of the gorge. Note the terraces and the Colca River, below. Clearly, it’s the dry season.

One of my favorite canyon pictures. Our hotel was tucked behind that last river bend (off to the left).

After a hot, dusty day of condor-watching, it was back to the hotel for a little more pool time:

This place seriously needs to be nominated for one of the best hot tubs in the world:



Part 2 - The Altiplano
Part 5 - Cusco
Part 6 - Machu Picchu