Colca Valley and Colca Canyon, Peru

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Like many places in Andes, National Park Lauca was just another world wonder sent its visitors lost in time. After Lauca, I was going to stay in Arica for a day, but oddly enough I found out that I was actually day off on my travel plan. I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, to make sure this was indeed the 31st I found another American girl sitting in the hostel surfing on the computer, “yeah, I’m pretty sure this is March 31st.” – I’ll blame it on the allure of the Lauce this time.

Fortunately, I met the nicest hostel owner, a Kiwi gentleman with all white beard all over his face and his rather peculiar Chilean wife, who helped me to carefully plan that late afternoon to Arequipa. The bus going to Tacna departed as soon as it filled up, so I went on my way to Arequipa without losing a lot of time. To get to Arequipa, I had to stop by Tacna, a Peruvian commercial town in the desert bordering Arequipa.  Here I found the Flores bus company as suggested by a young French couple in the Arica hostel, so I booked the next bus going to Arequipa from Flores Bus Company.  I had probably the most professional bus service from these people in South America so far.  They video taped everyone before he/she gets on the bus, and their bus is probably the most comfortable bus in Peru so far. I can’t say the same for Flores bus going to Lima though, that is entirely another story.

As asking several companies and going through many loops (including begging for cell phones from different passengers on the bus), at midnight I finally landed in a hostel who promised to help me to book a tour as soon as possible.  Indeed, next morning, the hotel owner came to my room and told me that there is a space in the tour.  Though I found out that I paid extra for the last minute booking, I was on the tour to Colca Canyon  in no time.

Since this is a bus tour for mostly Peruvians, there weren’t much backpacking and trekking as I had expected (which I found later out there is another tour for those kind of customers). I found a handsome Polish man, tall, dark flat fair mixed with white here and there, long face, and big deep brown eyes – and he’s my only English speaking companion on this tour besides the tour guide himself. The tour guide was an interesting man, he’s a Swiss Peruvian – probably one of the few blond Peruvians you will find here – and he spoke 5 different languages fluently. He had probably the most genuine gay habits – when he talked his hands would sometimes lift his chin in a gentle gesture, and once a while he will give this soft tenor “mhmm” that sounded like a girl. He told me that he too loved travel and how he traveled frequently to Europe for his vacations. “I can’t believe people would dump tens and thousands of dollars for a couple days of vacation in Peru,” he confided with me, “sure we’ll place you in five-star hotels, but it is extremely cheap and easy to travel here.”

From Colca Valley and Colca Canyon, Peru, posted by Jenny Zheng on 8/09/2012 (134 items)

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