Breakfast at Tierra Viva (our second hotel of the trip) is the most standard breakfast yet. Cereal, eggs, pancakes and sausage already prepared. It really didn't matter as we didn't have time to lounge. Our driver, Cocoa and our guide Olivia picked us up at 7:30 a.m. and we set off for yet another experience. This tour includes 2 days and 1 night in Corporaque (Thursday) and the Colca Canyon (Friday). It's a 5 hour ride from Arequipa, stopping along the road for coca tea, however, this time we had tea with 3 herbs; coca, and 2 sprigs of something or another. We also stop at the highest point (15,000 feet) to view the 3 volcanoes and of course the local people are along the roadside selling their crafts.
We are wowed by the view, very different from what we have seen so far. The mountains are green, pink, gold and some mountains even have ice on them. Llamas, sheep, cows, goats are all around and very close to the road. We stop several times for a photo opp. We stop in a tiny village to pick up 2 more people, now totaling 4 people on our tour. Our lodging at Mamayachi is included in the price of the tour and it's as darling as the picture on their website. I'm hoping my pictures do it justice. There is a resident llama, Manchas, that wonders the property. Lunch is served and that in itself was an experience.
We assemble the first course (causa rellena) starting with a circular form first we press down some mashed potatoes, tuna, avocado, tomatoes, parsley and a slice or two of a hard boiled egg. While pressing down with a spoon we lift the form and out pops a perfectly round, starter to lunch. Next course, a choice of corn vegetable soup or chicken vegetable soup. We both tried the corn and it did not disappoint. Third course was the salad choosing from a variety of toppings. For example, quinoa, beets, lentils, beans, marinated vegetables, etc. Meanwhile, out on the patio the grill was going with chicken and alpaca. We both tried alpaca and it wasn't bad. I'm afraid we are getting closer to trying cuy! Dessert was a passion fruit mousse with apple compote. Everything in this meal was organic and freshly prepared.
We have 30 minutes of free time before our hike. We take pictures of Manchas and take a rest in the hammocks facing the mountains. It turns out our hike was only 1 mile round trip, however, it seemed much, much longer because it was challenging. Loose rocks, stairs, dirt where it was hard to get traction not to mention the cactus I stepped on. Well worth the effort as we were rewarded with the San Antonio Mirador (lookout point). The best part of the way down was walking with the locals and their animals. We have this portion heavily documented. The locals were so excited to see their pictures and we were surprised that didn't ask for money!
As if this isn't enough for one day - we go back to the lodge to fetch our bathing suits and are driven to the hot springs bath. What a rush, to be surrounded by beauty while soaking in warm mineral water.
Dinner is being served at 7:30 p.m. and by 8:30 p.m. we plan on being in bed, sleeping.
The adventure continues tomorrow - at 5:00 a.m. to see the condors!
The cost of this trip for 2 days, 1 night lodging, breakfast and a guide/driver the entire time is $69 USD per person. Lunch and dinner was an extra 28 soles per person or $10 per meal and the food was unbelievably good.
1) The Coca tea that we are drinking stays in our blood stream for 3 months. I hope we don't have to interview for a job and take a drug test.
2) Their are 2 types of local people in the Canyon - the Cabanas and the Collawas. You tell them apart by their hats.