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Unexpected Highlight

The second highlight of my trip is without a doubt our time spent in Colca Canyon. I knew very little about Colca Canyon prior to our visit. About the only thing I did know was that it most likely was large (I mean you don’t just label anything a canyon), it was often known for hiking, and a bird called the Condor nests there.

We traveled from Arequipa to Colca via a route that took us through the National Reserve, where we could see Vicunya for the first time, and one of the highest points in Peru, passing at nearly 15,000 feet elevation. As we wove our way back down from the peak, we made a stop at a small town called Chivay for lunch. Luckily for us, it also happened to be a Saturday and a wedding was occurring. Weddings in Peru tend to be town-wide events with no real invites, as any and all are welcome. Next thing we know, we have officially joined the wedding parade (band included) marching from the church through the town square to the reception. It was certainly a moment for the books.

Colca River
Colca River (Karen DiGangi)

After a brief visit to some local hot springs, with a local Arequpena cerveza or two, we finally settled into our hotel, the beautiful La Casitas by Belmond. It’s no mystery why this was my favorite hotel – a private terrace in the middle of the canyon (aided by the smarts of the hotel to not have visible light) gave way to the most spectacular sky. The stars and even Milky Way were showing off all night. With dinner ordered to the room and the fireplace started, we felt we could’ve stayed in that room for a week!

Breakfast with the horses
Breakfast with the horses (Karen DiGangi)

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