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Colca Canyon

The infamous Condor Cross was scheduled for our next day, which meant preparing for an early morning. We packed up and headed to breakfast, greeted by the grounds horses out grazing in the sunrise – again, a sight hard to beat.

Condor! (Karen DiGangi)

On our way through the canyon, we made a few stops along some view points, learning more about the canyon and the upcoming majestic birds we were soon to see. Our guide knew that we were avid outdoors people and suggested the van drop us off a little early to allow some light hiking. We greatly appreciated the added time to stretch our legs (knowing we had a 3-hour return journey to Arequipa that afternoon).

It was from there that we started to see the large dots in the sky swooping around the side of the cliffs: the condors. They tend to stay in the same area for quite a while, swooping up and down, back and forth before finally making the decision to continue. I am not ashamed to say that I am not usually a wildlife person, and even more so do not typically have any interest in birds. But these condors were so large and majestic it was easy to get excited seeing one get closer and swoop overhead. When we reached the tourist point for watching the condors, I was apprehensive, since there were about 200 other people there already. However, it ended up adding this weird sense of community: everyone was there for the same thing, all of us getting visibly excited the closer the birds got.

Should that have been the end of our day, I would’ve been happy! However, our views on the return trip continued to blow me away. We made another photo op stop, but this time decided to take our time, purchasing some local cactus fruit slushies and soaking it in. Little did we know, our next stop would be even better and have the infamous Colca Sour. Unlike the better-known Pisco sours, these Colca sours are made with cactus fruit, and man, were they tasty (even at 10 in the morning)! It was here that we found ourselves overcome by the view. A drink in hand and llamas keeping us company, there was no need to go anywhere.
A fluffy friend
A fluffy friend (Karen DiGangi)

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