post-title Entering Peru

Entering Peru

Entering Peru

Quest News

Trekking in the Colca Canyon

Fresh from our first trek and nursing sore legs and shoulders, we hopped on a bus in search of Peru. We soon approached the vast blue lake that could only be Titicaca and a few hours later found ourselves crossing the border, earning another eagerly anticipated stamp on our passports. Our first Peruvian night was spent in the city of Puno, enjoying the luxury of proper beds and sampling the local delicacies of fried chicken, chips and Inca Kola. The next day we headed to the port where we caught a boat to the island of Tequile, a community of 2,000 people in the middle of the lake. This offered a much needed chance to relax in the sun, take a walk (minus backpacks) to the top of the island to see the panoramic view, and have a delicious lunch of quinoa soup and grilled trout. After a night in Tequile we kitted ourselves out in full brightly coloured kayaking gear and set out to paddle across a stretch of the lake, arms growing increasingly tired but determined to reach our next stop. We landed at a peninsula where we would have a homestay with a friendly indigenous couple who taught us about local farming and weaving practices. This was followed by dressing up Zandie and Sophia in the traditional outfit of a single woman, complete with long colourful skirt and wooly hat, and sending them out to find a husband. From there our journey continued to Arequipa to prepare for our next trek in between trips to the ice cream shop. When the time came for our 3.00 am bus to the Colca Canyon we were less than eager to leave our beds but the stunning sight of the world’s largest canyon would prove to be worth it. On arrival we unloaded our bags and it was up to Jo, the day’s leader, to show us which way to go. We soon found our way down into the canyon, along stony paths and across rickety bridges. Hours later we were greeted by a cold beer in Llahuar as we waited for the donkeys to be moved from our campsite, and spent the evening braving the incredibly spicy food we had accidentally chosen from the market and relaxing in the thermal baths.  Over the 2nd and 3rd days Sophia and Rosa led us criss-crossing over the canyon, passing donkeys, poisonous plants and condors, before reaching the beautiful Oasis at the bottom. On the final day Zandie headed the team in the challenge of the constant ascent out of the canyon, a seemingly never-ending climb that drained our trail mix resources and brought us back to our starting point of Cobanaconde. Exhausted but proud to have made it to the top, a film followed by a good night’s sleep proved to be the perfect way to end the trek.

Isabel Thomas