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Colca Canyon

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Colca Canyon  Caylloma  Peru
condors over the Cañon del Colca Caylloma  Peru
Condors! Caylloma  Peru
The Milky Way, viewed from 11,000 feet Caylloma  Peru
on the altiplano Caylloma  Peru
Colca Canyon  Caylloma  Peru
condors over the Cañon del Colca Caylloma  Peru
Condors! Caylloma  Peru
The Milky Way, viewed from 11,000 feet Caylloma  Peru
on the altiplano Caylloma  Peru
Colca Canyon
Colca Canyon, a three-hour drive north of Arequipa, is one of Peru’s most popular and extraordinary tourist attractions. The chasm is over 13,600 feet deep, making it one of the deepest in the world, and more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. From the Cruz del Condor viewpoint, it is possible to get a panoramic view of this special place along with the chance to witness the flight of majestic Andean condors. This is a great place for partaking in adventure sports with a surreal view.
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condors over the Cañon del Colca
...watching condors soaring on morning thermals over the Colca gorge, deeper than the Grand Canyon...one of the highlights of Peru. This area is becoming more visited, but it's still a bit off the beaten path--no airport or train station near here--you have to take a 4x4 or a bus from Arequipa, several hours away over the llama-strewn altiplano on a rough road, surrounded by snowcapped volcanoes and an almost lunar-landscape. At the highest point, you go over Patapampa pass, about 16,000 ft./4910 m. above sea-level--be careful if altitude sickness has been an issue for you...
condors over the Cañon del Colca Caylloma  Peru

Condors!
The Colca Canyon in Peru is the world's second deepest canyon and is known for its population of condors, the majestic birds with a wing span of ten feet. But when we went to the condor viewpoint early one bleary-eyed morning, we sat for hours (along with a few hundred other tourists) and saw barely anything--just fleeting glimpses far away. We headed back to our hotel, in some disappointment, when our sharp-eyed guide suddenly stopped our van and urged us to follow a trail to the ridge. There we discovered a dozen condors, soaring up the canyon walls, sometimes just a few feet from where we were standing. Our family of five were the only people there, and we felt very lucky to have this private viewing.
Condors! Caylloma  Peru

The Milky Way, viewed from 11,000 feet
While visiting the Colca Canyon in Peru, we stayed at a hotel that was at elevation 11,000 feet--and had an amazing hot springs. In the thin air, the view of the stars was amazing, especially as you floated in the warm waters of the hot springs late at night. This was the first time I was able to see the Milky Way in all its glory--and to be able to take a photograph of it. (This is a 30-second exposure.)
The Milky Way, viewed from 11,000 feet Caylloma  Peru

on the altiplano
On the way from Arequipa to the Colca Canyon, the road traverses the altiplano--an average of 4000 m/12000 ft above sea level. Wild vicuña and their domesticated llama cousins kept us company in the thin air, with snowcapped volcanoes on the bright, cold horizon. To know who belongs to whom, the Quechua-speaking herders adorn their llamas with red-yarn 'earrings.' Vicuña wool, once the exclusive property of Inca royalty, is gathered only once every few years; each animal produces only about a pound of wool a year. A few decades ago, only a few thousand were left in the wild; fortunately, they've recovered and still thrive on the Andean plateaus.
on the altiplano Caylloma  Peru

Unnamed Road, Peru