I never thought I would be making a stop at a zoo in Peru. A country teaming with wild life, Peru plays host to some of the world's most beautiful and mysterious creatures. Zoologico Mundo Andino Tipon (yes, it's a mouth full) is secretly tucked away in the rural hills just an hours bus ride outside of Cusco. After paying 4 sole (~ $1.50) entrance fee, you are free to roam the grounds of a loosely arranged property formed by a small river, eucalyptus groves and rugged canyon. Guided by a small dirt path up the hillside I suddenly encountered handmade enclosures lining the path which hosted all matters of local Peruvian wildlife. Fox, bears, pumas, llamas, monkeys and more. Yet none compared to my time spent with the condor.
One of the unique features to this zoo is that you are permitted to handle some of the animals. The only animal available that day was the condor. To the Incas, the condor was revered as an ancient guardian to the afterlife and was treated with great respect. Today, you can pay 5 sole for one of the zoo keepers to escorts you into the condor's enclosure. Manned with only a water bottle, she coaxed the prehistoric looking creature toward me. As instructed, I took a seat on the ground as I nervously waited for a quick photo. Suddenly, the condor was right behind me. It spread its mighty wings posed for the cameras and I prayed it had a big lunch.
A thrilling experience and one I wont soon forget. A must do adventure stop during your stay in Cusco.