Our trip out to Colca Canyon in Peru started at the very early hour 3am so we had enough time to get out to the canyon and then back to our accommodation that afternoon. Colca Canyon has a depth of 4160 metres and is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. The Valley surrounding Colca Canyon is beautiful with pre-Inca farming terraces that are still in use today. On our way we stopped in a small town where we could get some street food, local handicrafts and there was even a baby Llama that a local boy let me cuddle! I think the pictures speak for themselves as to how much I loved this baby llama.
Once we arrived in Colca Canyon we headed to Cruz del Condor, a lookout site to see the Andean Condors soaring through the canyon walls. We were fortunate enough that there was many of them out taking full advantage of the thermal heat to glide. They are a very large bird with a wingspan up to 3.2 metres wide!
After exploring the canyon we headed to our accommodation for the night, the beautiful La casa de Mama Yachi where our group relaxed in hammocks and had cocktails whilst admiring the view of the mountains and one active volcano smoking. Whilst in the hammocks I spotted a llama and after such a successful morning cuddling a llama I thought it would be a wonderful experience, I was wrong. This llama happened to be a human hating demon llama that we aptly named Diablito. The she-devil llama instantly decided she hated me and spat all over me then continued to chase me around the yard much to the amusement of my friends. She did take quite a liking to Alex and got way too close for comfort.
We then went to some local hot springs, we were given the choice of either new nicer ones or the original rustic ones. We chose the rustic ones which was a great decision, the hot springs were sitting inside the river and were deliciously warm. Our group spent a few hours enjoying cold beer and the hot springs. That evening we had a delicious buffet dinner at the lodge and a ridiculously good sleep in “cloud” like beds!
The next day we headed back to Arequipa and had the afternoon to see the city, we had heard about Juanita the ice maiden that is housed at Museo Santuarios Andinos. Juanita is a well preserved frozen body of a young Inca girl that was killed as an offering to the Inca Gods around 1450-1480 at Mount Ampato in Southern Peru. She was so well preserved as she was buried at the top of the Mountain in deep snow (when she was buried a nearby volcano would have been erupting enabling them to bury her underneath the deep layer of snow). The finding of the body was quite exciting to the scientific world and National Geographic had an article dedicated to the finding. The discoverers found a few more bodies in the area but none as well preserved as Juanita. She is housed in a special freezer like cage where you can see the amazing condition of her skin. Thank to scientific research they have discovered that her skin, organs, tissues, blood, hair, stomach contents and hair is extremely well preserved. The museum also houses other articles and offerings from the same period which was extremely interesting.