We had an overnight bus ride from Cuzco to Arequipa….took 11 hours to do 472 kilometres…. We were so high up that it was snowing through the night and at times the bus was barely moving. Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city, it has grand colonial buildings which are built from an off white volcanic rock that dazzles in the sun. It has been baptised as the white city.
We spent a day here just strolling around the vibrant city centre before we moved on yet again…. Andy also thought it was time to sample Guinea Pig… It wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t actually resemble one and have a little face with ears! .. He lifted up the head and the teeth clunked down on the plate.. Not much meat on the lil sucker but he enjoyed it!
We decided to try a local bus to get us to a place called Yanque which was about four hours away. The bus weaved up and down the mountains, probably the most beautiful scenery here in Peru that we have seen since the start of our travels. The bus made a pit stop halfway where we could go to the toilet….but alas there was no toilet….it was a patch of dirt that everyone had to use if you were game and it certainly wasn’t for the shy!
The bus arrived in the main square of Yanque, Andy and I were the only ones that got off….. The surroundings could only be described as a film where the whole town has been wiped out by aliens, a loose shop sign creaking in the wind and not a soul to be seen anywhere…. All that we needed was tumbleweed to pass us by….I looked at Andy and thought where the hell are we?! We had a booking at a small bed and breakfast and managed to find our way there….the roads were dirt and we were surrounded by mountains. We passed a few stray dogs and a donkey! Turns out that we were the only tourists staying here, the population is approx 200 people in this tranquil rural village. The bed and breakfast was lovely….. no WiFi….three course dinners prepared by the owners wife, more alpaca steaks! Delicious!
The reason for coming this way was to visit Colca Canyon which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon at 3191 metres. We jumped on a bus that came through the main square and travelled across dirt roads for an hour and a half until we found ourselves at Cruz del Condor which is a viewing point across the canyon where you can see Condors. We were lucky enough to see four! The scale of the canyon was enormous and again the scenery was beautiful.
We stopped at another small village where I got close to some animals! Yes, very touristy of me! 🙂 we made our way back to Yanque and found some hot springs which were a 30 minute walk away…. The water was coming from a volcano and was incredibly hot…. So relaxing whilst we sat and watched the river gush by….
Next stop – Puno.