Colca Canyon

Week 12

Colca Canyon

I think we’ve been walking for six hours and still no sign of our town. Fure, where are you? Up ahead I see another incline and an involuntary curse escapes me. We’re here! One of my friends yell. Yah? Where is here, I don’t see a town anywhere, I thought to myself. It doesn’t help that I’m ways behind from everyone so I just drag my body in hopes that we are indeed here.

Fure is a small town in the middle of Colca Canyon. This is the second stop in our two night trek in one of the world’s deepest canyons. Deeper than the more popular Grand Canyon.  No more than thirty houses greeted us along with the sound of wind. You see, Fure is empty tonight.

By the time we realized there was no one coming, we had waited for three hours already and the sun no longer high. All the doors were locked and all of them have been yanked with no luck. It was dark. It was cold. We were hungry. We were tired.

***

Arequipa

Colca Canyon is found in south Peru. It is closest to Arequipa city which is about 16 hours away by bus from capital city Lima. Three volcanoes surround the city: El Misti, Chachani, and PichuPichu, and two of those are possible to climb.

Chachani

El Misti

From Arequipa, it’s a 3-4 hour bus to Cabanaconde which is the starting point of the trek. There is a tourist ticket (70 soles) to the park, we got ours from a man who saw us standing in front of Pachamama hostel. If I’m not mistaken, the trail is on the right side of the plaza. After that you decide your route.

Colca Canyon

We did a 3days/2nights trek stopping in Llahuar (hot pools), then to Fure, and then Sangalle (oasis) but didn’t stay the night in Sangalle. I’m not sure where my friend got this map but whatever happens don’t set off without one. Maybe ask the guys in Pachamama hostel or your place in Arequipa.

Colca Canyon

Depending on where you’re going, the trek may involve altitude so prepare you’re body for a few days if possible. Most hostels in Arequipa serves Coca tea. That helps.

Colca Canyon

Bring the following:

  1. Chlorine tabs/water purifier – rivers and springs are your source of water in between towns and they’re not really clean
  2. Trail food
  3. Swim wear
  4. Torch
  5. Cash

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

Those lines are where you’re going to be walking so wear good comfortable trekking shoes. Sometimes there will be jumps but I’m sure you’ll manage.

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

In September the weather is cold. However you may get hot during the trek so wear something that can easily be taken off.

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

I didn’t see a condor during the trek but maybe I wasn’t looking up much. If you want to see condors though there is a mirador enroute to Cabanaconde from Arequipa. You can either stop there before or after the trek.

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

Colca Canyon

Above picture is Sangalle, also called oasis. There are hotels down there with pools. And that faint zigzag line on the right is the trail to Cabanaconde. There is an option to mule it up for 60 soles instead of walking.

Colca Canyon

I do consider the trek difficult but that is because I’m not a good trekker and especially not with altitude. There were moments I thought I can no longer make another step but those guys kept me going. That said I still think inexperienced trekkers can make it, maybe just a bit slower.

Colca Canyon

Finally, I think Colca Canyon is really beautiful. I’m glad to see it. Oh and I recommend jumping in the ice cold river in Llahuar! And by the way the pizza in Pachamama hostel in Cabanaconde is quite an awesome reward.

Note: There is an option also to arrange a guided trek. I saw many operators in Arequipa around the Plaza de Armas and also in our hostel. Price ranges from 75 – 135 soles not including tourist ticket.

***

The electricity came on some time after dark. To be honest it was kinda creepy, an empty town that seems to have the basics still up and running. Like everybody just disappeared in the middle of the night.

We have pasta with tuna, a squash-looking fruit, some dried raisins, and nuts in the table. A few minutes ago we may have pried open the door to a kitchen and a bedroom to seek refuge and find food. It was crazy move and we’re not proud of it but it was our final card. The survival card.