Saturday, February 15, 2014


On January 26 we drove to Colca...a long 5 hours and into a higher altitude - which was fun for me. OK, not really.

Our first stop for photos

Vicuna wool is the finest in the world...on the look out for vincunas

Landscape doesn't look real

Here's one!

Vincunas are usually in groups with one male and a few females

The males will fight to be the alpha male in groups

He spots another male
This is the other male across the tracks

We were able to see Volcan Misti quite clearly along the way

We also stopped for some coca tea to help with altitude sickness

Some stray cats hanging around

And a dirty sheep

We also tried chewing coca leaves to help with the altitude

You have to roll them up with a piece of ilucta - a preparation of the ashes of the quinoa
plant which activates the alkaloids and makes it less bitter. Doesn't take the numbing
feeling away though!

I tried it too and I think it helped. The rolled coca leaves go in one side of your mouth
and you chew/suck on it until it disintegrates. See the white chalky stuff in the right
corner? That's the ilucta.

Alpacas everywhere!

Pretty backdrop for the alpacas

This one looks like a bear trying to poop

Here's a baby alpaca

Driving to Colca - at least the roads were paved!

Look out for vicunas

I like the one on the very left making a "huh?" face

The roads were a bit windy

Didn't help my altitude sickness

Another nice backdrop

We stopped to purchase some goods

We were at 4910 meters! Volcan Misti is less than 1000 meters higher. 

Volcan Chachani in the distance

Surrounded by volcanoes!


Volcan Hualca Hualca

Paul felt just fine

But I felt siiiiick

While Paul went to look for somewhere to pee...

I took more pictures - people stack rocks to make wishes

The road ahead

Making sales - not much negotiating with these ladies

Looking over the city of Colca before heading down

With my new beanie - it was a little cold

Really green

Small town

We arrived at our accommodations for the night

Paul immediately found his happy place

Paul + Hammock = Love

This llama was enjoying the view

Can you tell he was quite content?

It was until French folks we were traveling with tried to get near spit at them

Paul was still enjoying the hammock


Pretty scenery to enjoy while laying in a hammock

This volcano had some steam coming out of it

Calf frolicking about

Pretty sunset

Even the llama was enjoying it

The next day, we headed for some great views of Colca Valley and then to Colca Canyon to look for some condors. We were lucky and saw a few condors!

Blocking the way

Good morning!

The llama wants to go inside

Colca valley

Quite scenic


The Incas used to bury people up there

Here's a close up

Eagle flying around

Condors are much bigger

Colca Canyon

Paul can hardly contain his excitement

The deepest part of the canyon is 4,162 meters

Paul doesn't believe it

After looking down, he changed his mind



We got lucky with a beautiful, clear day

And we spotted a condor!

This is an adult Andean condor

They have a wingspan of 10.5 feet

It was showing off and soaring through the canyon

This is a male condor

Condors are scavengers

They feed on deer or cattle carcasses


Looks small with the canyon backdrop

You can hardly see it flying here

Another view of the valley

Paul is impressed

Another Bob Ross type painting

I'm still not as tall as Paul even standing on a ledge

So green!


Our guide also let us try cactus fruit - it was super tart! A bit of a cross between a lemon and kiwi.

Church in Maca

Side view of the church in Maca

We then headed back to Chivay for some lunch.

Some cool doors around town

After lunch we walked around the small town

The main square had some interesting statues

Volcanoes in the distance

A different view of the main square

Chivay church

Hello, creepy statue

It's like the beginning of a horror movie

But interesting in a weird sort of way

We then got on a bus and headed to Puno - only a 5-6 hour drive...

We made a pit stop and enjoyed the views of the volcanoes (Volcan Misti to the left)

We also met Pancho the sheep. He was quite aggressive ramming into the behinds of
many female tourists...thankfully, not me.

Another pit stop - Laguna Lagunillas

We made it to Puno!


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