Nazca to Arequipa and Colca valley, Peru

14 - 17 January 2006

El Condor Pasa


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Since our Mooney isnīt turbo-charged, it doesn't have the power to take off at very high altitudes so it was out of the question to fly it straight to the old Inca capital of Cuzco at 3260 m (10860 feet). And, anyway, we preferred to spend time at a lower altitude to adapt ourselves before venturing higher. The solution was to land at Arequipa, with an elevation of 2500 m (8400 feet).
We booked into the Casa de Mi Abuela, a pleasant hotel set in a large garden, and only a short walk from all the sights of Arequipa. The staff was helpful and friendly and there was a travel agency conveniently located at the entrance where we could book tours and bus tickets. Actually, in Peru generally the hotels were good value for money which compensated for it being the most expensive country of South America to fly in. Landing and navigation fees came to about US$150 per flight.
The next day was spent visiting the Monasterio Santa Catalina which wasnīt a monastery but a convent for well-heeled nuns from wealthy Spanish families who brought their servants with them. Also well worth the visit was the Museo Santuarios Andinos, which contains an ice mummy preserved in a glass-walled freezer for all to gape at. The first ice mummy was discovered in 1995 by local mountain climber Miguel Zarate and American archaeologist Johan Reinhard. It was the body of a 14-year-old girl who had been sacrificed to the gods at the summit of Ampato about 500 years ago. She was named Juanita in honour of Johan (or Juan) Reinhard.
16 January. We left on a 2-day tour to the Colca valley which contains the worldīs second deepest canyon of about 3191 m. On the way there in our minibus, we saw the first South American cameloids of our trip, llamas, alpacas and vicuņas. Vicuņas are the prettiest and the rarest. In the past they had to kill them to collect their fine wool because they would struggle too much to get away. Now they are a protected species. Our guide Daniel passed us coca leaves to chew, to help us adapt to the altitude – one of the passes was as high as 4800 m.

Honey Mooney on the main apron in Arequipa, elevation 8400 feet.

Monasterio Santa Catalina, Arequipa

Monasterio Santa Catalina, Arequipa

Monasterio Santa Catalina

Sunday lunch at a typical family restaurant in Arequipa

Vicuņas on the way to the Colca valley

Llamas and alpacas

At the pass to the Colca valley, 4800 meters

View of the Misti volcano from the pass

Two Peruvian kids with a kid

View of Colca valley with the town of Chivay

Overlooking Colca valley with Chivay

JAlbum 6.2 Copyright: Angela & Flemming PEDERSEN