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Mirador Mountaintop

The Majestic Condors of Colca Canyon

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Colca Canyon was carved by the Colca River, located 100 miles northwest of Peru's second largest city, Arequipa.

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The ride from Arequipa to Colca Canyon was stunning.

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We passed many herds of llama, alpaca, and vicuna grazing along the way.

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Many locals keep llamas as pets, dressing them in adorable neck warmers (kind of like a Peruvian version of the doggie sweater).

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This little baby alpaca was only 3 days old!

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A highlight was Mirador de Los Andes.

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At 16,000 feet above sea level, we could see 4 volcanos.

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The piles of stacked rocks are from locals who build their wishes and dreams at this highest peak in hopes that the gods will receive them.

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While some towns were founded by the Spanish in colonial times, most of the villages in the area are still very rural.

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We stayed overnight in Chivay, the largest "town" in the Colca valley.

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Chivay and most of the smaller villages are inhabited by the Collagua and the Cabana cultures that speak Quechua, a native dialect that pre-dates the Incan civilization.

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On the afternoon of our arrival, we hiked down to the Colca Canyon hot springs.

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On the second day, we woke up at 5AM to fully explore the canyon!

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There is only one road through the park, filled with many precarious edges. We made it through this tiny tunnel too!

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At 10,725 feet, Colca Canyon is more than twice as deep as the Grand Canyon.

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The local people maintain their ancestral traditions and continue to cultivate the pre-Inca stepped terraces throughout the valley.

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Here, locals farm 300 kinds of potato, 54 varieties of quinoa, and 12 varieties of corn.

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The tallest mountain is Huaca Huaca volcano, and the locals offer up the best of their harvests in hopes that the gods will continue to bless them.

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They Colca valley is also habitat for the giant Andean condor.

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The species that has been the focus of worldwide conservation efforts, likely because it's so majestic.

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We spent the whole morning catching glimpses of these epic birds.

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They build their nests in the steepest sections of the canyon.

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The Andean Condor lives about 60-70 years. Brown condors are teenagers, while the black ones with white collars are fully grown adults.

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When sitting they look like giant vultures.

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But in flight they are easily recognizable due to their 7 "fingered" wing structure.

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Adult condors have a wingspan of about 7-9 feet!

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It was a truly unique experience to visit the countryside of Peru.

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Wishing you all a happy Friday!

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Posted by wintermaasz 15:58 Archived in Peru

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Looks like you are having an amazing time! Stay safe! ❤️❤️❤️

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