Posted on May 10, 2013
My first contact with Peru was years ago before I physically arrived to this beautiful country. It was actually in my hometown Bratislava/Slovakia where I saw a traditional Peruvian band playing on the main square. Later on, while living in Copenhagen, I discovered that the Danish capital has also its own Peruvian band. The biggest surprise though was, when I was in Japan and I heard the typical Andean music. I thought: “Ok, Peruvians made it also to Japan!” To my biggest surprise, the players were not of a Peruvian nationality, they were Japanese, but dressed so realistically as Peruvians that I couldn’t believe my eyes. I guess that in Japan exists everything and more ☺
My real, physical contact with Peru was when I crossed the border from Arica/Chile to Tacna/Peru. It was late February 2013 and I was very excited. The first destination was Arequipa and I couldn’t wait to be there. Also because I decided to have the most local experience as possible, so I chose a local and cheap bus (don’t do it if you don’t want to have this kind of local experience hehe). This was one the rides that I wanted to be over from the beginning. The airconditioning didn’t work and it was so smelly that I almost fainted. Though, there was something during this trip that made me curious – the bus vendors. There were several different men getting on and off the bus and presenting different products. First vendor had a 15minute speech about the local cookies that were made in Peru and under any circumstance were not produced by the Chilean companies. It was obvious that the vendor talked about how these companies from Chile try to own Peru, so I concluded that Peru and Chile have a sort of competitive business relationship. The second vendor was selling books. After listening to his long and passionate sales pitch, I couldn’t resist and I bought two books from him: Piense como un Millonario (Think like a Millionaire) and Padre Rico, Padre Pobre para Jóvenes (Rich Father, Poor Father for Young people) I took it as a destiny and at that moment I believed that this books will change my life. I read both of them, nothing has changed so far, but the future is unpredictable, so maybe I will become a Millionaire – in adventures ☺
I knew very little about Arequipa, my first Peruvian destination, so there were no expectations at all. I was positively surprised and I have to say that Arequipa was very nice city to stop in. I found one of the best veggie restaurants here, called Mandala. I wish to all of you that will travel through this area, that the weather conditions will be generous and you will be able to see the volcano “Misti”. It was hard to see during the first days, but when I was on the way to Colca Canyon, I was lucky to take a quick photo of the mysterious Misti.
Tour to Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon is a canyon of the Colca River in southern Peru, located about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Arequipa. It is Peru’s third most-visited tourist destination and it was the first tour that I did in Peru.
The tour was organized by the agency that was recommended by the hostel where I stayed – Arequipay backpackers – and there were different options to choose from:
– one day trip, but you have to wake up very early in the morning, like at 2am
– two day trip including guided tour to the canoyn, but not trekking
– two or three day trip down to the canyon where you can trek
I chose the middle option, just two days bus trip without trekking. I regretted it, while being on the tour, because it was the laziest tour ever, but the views were worth it anyway. So if you are an active traveler and you like some adventure, go for the trekking option!
The tour was made for people that like to relax rather than sweat a lot. We have visited Chivay – a local village in the area, where we found the highlight of the trip – the hot springs. The second day was a bit more active, we went to the Colca canyon, observed local villages and fields in this area. The highlight of this day was supposed to be the possibility of seeing condors that live here as wild animals. Well, we have seen one condor and when the fellow tourists started shouting at it, it was scared and flew away. Luna (my travel buddy for Peru) and I were creative and did a little photoshoot with a “woolen” condor. Take a look at the photos from this area and decide yourself whether you want to visit the canyon too…