Colca Canyon (Arequipa, Peru) - Day 1
Colca Canyon is extremely underrated. It gets overshadowed by Machu Picchu near Cusco so Arequipa gets skipped by many travelers. To be honest, I didn't really know anything about Colca Canyon. It was recommend to me by a few friends and I wanted to head to Arequipa to stay at another Wild Rover hostel.
The first day we got there we walked around looking for tours to book into the Canyon. I didn't know we could do it on our own and how easy it was. Everyone I've met have all done it with a guided tour. We found a really good company but wanted to find a few more people at the hostel to lower our price. I had a bit of stomach pains so I had Lach walk around and make friends. It worked out really well actually. He met Will, a guy from Miami, who has been in Arequipa for 3 weeks and was planning to do Colca Canyon the next day as well with another girl, Carla, from the hostel. But they said that doing it on our own was the best option. We all talked about it and although it did seem a bit unorganized, it sounded a lot more fun than being stuck with a tour group.
We thought the best way of getting to the start of the trek was to book a one way bus with a tour group so that they could drop us off at Copadonde instead of having to take the public bus to Chivey then wait for another bus or taxi, which would ultimately cost more and take more time. We were able to find an agency so provide us that plus include breakfast for only 35 soles, we had to negotiate and bargain a bit so it was will worth it.
We got picked up at 3am by the bus and drove a few hours to our breakfast location. Breakfast was basic bread, jam, butter, coffee and tea. Our ticket included desayuno but the driver kept wanting us to pay. He gave us such a hard time about it and treating us poorly because we refused to pay when our ticket clearly states that it was included. So already off to a bad start... The next bad moment was when a bridge collapsed because of a landslide so we were stuck in one spot for over an hour while a tractor removed all the dirt and gravel off the road. That delayed our schedule to see condors at the mirador since they only fly early in the morning. Once we got to the Condor Mirador, it was completely foggy so we weren't even able to see anything, so much for that. We were finally dropped off at Copaconde, the city to start the treks. Our luck turned around a bit when we got to the informational hostel, they ran out of maps but one Trek gave us his old one since he just finished. That was really clutch! We had a 5 hour trek waiting for us so we needed to get a few snacks and lunch before heading out. The only quick sandwich restaurant ran out of bread so we had to buy our own bread from next door for her to make us sandwiches, that was a first.
On our way down, we met this fun Aussie couple who we hung out with the entire trip. They're from Brisbane and met while on the plane, some 15 years ago. They sat next to each other on the plane and a few hours later got off the plane holding hands. Within 3 months, they were engaged. Crazily enough, she's 8 years older than him. I guess when you met the one, all normality goes out the window.
The first night was spent in Llaguar in a basic accommodation above the roaring rivers. We wanted to use the hot springs but couldn't because the water was too high. We only paid 15 soles a night and another 15 for dinner, which was as bland as could be. I guess spices wasn't in their vocabulary. It tasted like porridge with a side of porridge. When happy hour came around, we went to buy drinks but turned out buying a whole bottle of rum was much cheaper. For only 35s we were able to buy a whole fifth of rum that we split amongst us. Then we spent the rest of he night playing "Kimps" or "Gimps" or whatever other name we kept shouting.