Peru Day 6, Colca Canyon & the Condor Pass

Today we climbed to the highest point of our tour – 4,910 meters above sea level. Because our Senior Discovery Tour was setup so we adjusted to a new elevation at each hotel stop. We visited the Condor Pass in Colca Canyon. This is twice the depth of the Grand Canyon We end our leg of the journey in Puno.

Before getting to the condors we had to go through the tunnel. The locals won’t walk through it because of the mountain spirit.

Tourists will leave these offerings to the mountain god for a safe journey or a wish.

Mine is the all black one in the centre. I just wished for a safe and happy journey.

On our way to the pass we stopped to view the Colca Canyon. I took this panoramic video to give you an idea of the lush greenery of the rainy season.

Another view of the canyon. In the dry season, the colors would be yellow and brown.

Another viewing platform, higher up, just before we reached the Condor Pass. A panoramic of the entire valley.

We get to the Condor pass. The condors glide on the thermals from the bottom of the canyon. I looked at looked but did not see a condor. In fact, during the whole time we were there, we saw only 1 small condor. May through December (the dry season) is the best time to see them flying by the cliffs.

The best time of the day is between 9 am and Noon. It means leaving Chivay early in the morning – 4 to 6 am. Our Peruvian tour guide really hyped this event so it was disappointing not to see the condors. But the spectacular views of the canyon were enjoyable. And, as it was off season, it was not as crowded on the platform.

According to our guide, the condors would be flying just off the cliff edge. This is the highest point of the canyon with a depth of 3,270 metres. The height was discovered by a group of kayakers from Norway. The river is at the bottom right.

The height of the canyon is determined by the top of the mountain to the river bed.

The locals setup there wares.

While I was at the lookout, a baby condor flew by. Later, when the bus was leaving, the same condor was posing for pictures. I guess it was better than not seeing any condors. Guess I’ll have to come back in the dry season.

On our way to Puno we stopped at the town of Maca for lunch and a tour of the church. Always an photo opportunity with an alpaca.

Gold inlay everywhere in the Church of Maca.

The altars and the stations of the cross have mirrors. Decided to use on to take a selfie so I could be part of it.

The highest point of our trip – 4,910 meters above sea level. I started doing my yoga breathing exercises after we left Lima. I practiced deep belly breaths regularly to supply myself with oxygen. I did not want to develop altitude sickness and miss this point.

I was able to walk around without difficulty. The platform is quite large with views on the different mountain ranges all around. Our group all got together to have a photo taken.

A panoramic of the viewing platform. The stone plaques point to the volcano’s name above them. Yes, we did get some snow.

We were lucky to see a flock of flamingos. There was no place to stop and get out so had to settle with a photo from the bus.

We checked into the Casa Andina Premium Puno hotel in time for dinner. Grilled alpaca. It is one of the healthiest meats as it is low in cholesterol. It was late and we had a full day planned for tomorrow. It was early to bed.

Elderberry Mousse.