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Oasis in Colca Canyon

After thinking very hard, I decided to sign for a 3-days trek at the Canyon del Colca, my previous trek in Huaraz was so painful I didn’t know if I wanted to suffer again… but the curiosity was stronger.

First we stop to admire the Condors, birds symbols of the upper-world in Inca tradition. There are much more tourists than birds, we wait and wait, our eyes fixed on the canyon, but nothing moves around… And then a humming bird come to visit us, light and elegant, most of the people don’t even see it, too obsessed by spotting a condor.

But finally, after one hour of patience, at 9:20am exactly, the condors come up from the cliff, where they have their nest, a dozen of these magnificent birds, measuring up to 3m, fly above our heads. They seem to ignore us despite the “oohh, aahh, click, click” of the crowd and their cameras. The touristic bus is waiting for us and the guide wouldn’t let us enjoy the beauty of the moment, we have to go, run, run… I could have stayed for hours watching this “show”, but we have to obey to the despotic touristic schedule.

After driving 15min more, we arrive at the start point of our trek. We start the down hill walk, it will be 2 days of going down and the last one of hiking all up back to our start point. Landscapes are breathtaking and we can already see where we will sleep the 2nd day, the Oasis.

I meet my group, we are 6 french people and 2 germans (the poor german spoke english but won’t participate much in the discussions, speaking english being, as everyone knows, not the best skill of french people…). Our guide is good and fun.

The down hill last for 2 hours, we stop at the river to freshen up a bit, for fresh, it is fresh, I can’t even leave my feet into the water… We finally arrive at our first stop, it’s 2pm, we’re starving. We will be rewarded from our efforts by some grilled llama meat. If there would have been a bit of cheese and a dessert it would have been a perfect meal… ;-)

The afternoon is reserved for resting, chatting, playing cards, we take it easy.

The next day, we continue our hike to the Oasis, up, down, straight, we stop to see the cochenille (very appreciated and demanded for it’s coloring red pigment). After 4 hours of walk we finally arrive at the Oasis, it is paradise on earth. A swimming pool warmed up by a rock standing in the sun will make our happiness.

The afternoon is reserved for swimming, sun bath, volley, eating and chatting, we relax before the big day.

Third day, killing day. We wake up and start walking at 5am, no time for breakfast. The hike goes straight up, 1200m of height in one go, it takes us a bit less than 3 hours. (see pic with path in the mountain on the left)
I’m dying for a coffee and bread when we arrive at the top at 8am. We eat as if we had been fasting for 3 days and take the bus back to Arequipa.

A stop is planned on the way to reward us with natural hot springs, our aching muscles thank us… but our heart cannot take it too long... the water is at 38deg C.

We have 6 hours driving through the mountain to reach the white city, the road and the amazing landscapes go past at the sound of dance music of the 80’s. To keep awake we sing in chorus the lyrics of our adolescence, it’s surreal...

We cross the highest point of the valley, more than 5000m, the road slash the mountains or embrace them, but the view is always incredible.


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About me

About me

Travelling to learn, learning to travel.