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Sep 17 Arequipa to Colca Lodge

sunny 25 °C
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Just lost all my notes from this morning so this one will be a short version.

We departed the hotel at 8:00 AM, heading for the Colca Lodge, located in Yanque. We will be driving through some very high altitudes like Patapampa at 4910 metres (16,000 ft) and Chivay 3651 metres.

Along the way we passed through the Salinas Y Nacionale de Salinas Aguada reserve where we saw Vicuñas and alpacas which are part of the camel family, as are llamas. The wool from Vicuñas is very fine, even better than cashmere. When the Spaniards invaded, they killed not only the people but also the animals and the Vicuña population was decimated. The population is now back up to over 300,000 due to the reserves.

The landscape here is lunar, with the humidity in the nearby desert even dryer than the Sahara with 0.25 ml of humidity versus 2.0 in the Sahara.

There was quite an exciting moment when one of the nearby volcanoes erupted and the grey ash spewed into the blue sky.

I am having a hard time distinguishing the difference between the 3 animals. The photo of the lady with the short, white, chubby one is a llama. The thinner, taller, beige ones are alpacas. No meat or cheese from llamas. Alpacas have one baby a year.

We passed by Patapampa which is at 4900 metres, we are higher that Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. Some of the group are starting to feel the effects of the altitude, like light headedness and dizziness, especially when climbing down from the bus and moving quickly to take photos. From here we started to descend to Chivay (3650 metres) going through the caldera of the volcano.

On the way down into Chivay, you can see lots of terraces which are watered by irrigation systems from pre-Inca times which are 4000 bc to 14th C. The Inca period was after that, but lasted about 100 years (1438 to 1533), which I find amazing as most of what I heard about Peru is about the Inca’s.

Our hotel is the Colca Lodge and Spa, right on the river, at 11,000 feet (just shy of 2 miles high). Stunning views. We are here for 2 nights.

The hotel has several hot spring pools beside the river, and we had a nice soak for awhile. The temperature is about 35C, so not really hot, just comfortable, with a fabulous view of the canyon.

After a lovely dinner we crashed after having a Benadryl, hopefully to end my string of 4:30AM wake ups. A good night sleep is called for.


View from our room at Colca Lodge:


Posted by barb3389 16:20 Archived in Peru

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