Out of the World’s [2nd] Deepest Canyon

Artist’s rendition of Colca Canyon and environs

We climb our way out of one of the deepest canyons in the world at high altitude and under a blazing sun…needless to say, it wasn’t easy.

After an amazingly restful 11 hours of sleep after our descent into the world’s second deepest canyon (guess we needed to catch up on sleep!) we packed up, ate our Cliff bars, and began the exhausting trek out of the canyon.

Brushing teeth with a water bottle at the bottom of Colca Canyon
	Location:		COLCA CANYON (Cañon del Colca)
	Date:			5 July 2010
	Start Elevation:	7,300 ft. (Sangalle el Oasis)
	End Elevation:		10,849 ft. (Cabanaconde)
Our accommodations for the night. Best night’s sleep, ever


Inside our cabana. Bed stilts ‘n’ Barbie sheets…all you really need


View of Sangalle/Oasis shortly after beginning our climb out of the canyon


The hot (and steep) climb out of the world’s [2nd] deepest canyon

This was a TOUGH hike…given the altitude, rough terrain, and direct sun. Our hearts were pounding (Lori says even more than hiking out of the Grand Canyon) and quads were burning. We stopped frequently to catch our breath and drink water in the shade, which became increasingly difficult (if not impossible) to find as the hours wore on.


Looking back into the canyon

We frequently had to move aside for the dozens of burros (mules) heading down the canyon, and almost got taken out by a couple of them; quarters were tight!

Local man leading mules down the wall of the canyon


Shade, at last! Our grassy snack-knoll overlooking the canyon.

We had a nice sit down break in the shade when we were almost to the top to refuel with fruit snacks and jerky. We were relieved to have finally made it so close to the end…and in just over three hours!


Cabanaconde (in the distance) from the top of the canyon trail



Trailhead sign – Made it down and out!

We treated ourselves to a lunch for 5 soles each (like $1.50!) and enjoyed some Inca Kola at a small, family-run restaurant. We enjoyed watching a stray dog and the proprietor play cat-and-mouse, and listening to a dating-advice-meets-Jerry-Springer show on TV until a small child came marching angrily from another room to turn it off (apparently disgusted by the poor reception).


Our one-way tickets out of Cabanaconde back on the Andalucia. Time to dust off the white knuckles…

Tickets in hand, we started the bumpy 6-hour ride back to Arequipa. During the first three hours, we caught the evening rush hour as the driver stopped every couple of minutes to pick up vendors, merchants, farmers, laborers and school children and deposit them in one of four small villages we barreled through at breakneck speed. We followed a long line of trucks on windy roads into Arequipa, checked into Caminante Class and prepared for our trip to Cuzco the next day.

Cabanaconde woman and condor statue in the Plaza de Armas


Internet Cafe–Village of Cabanaconde, Peru


Typical house – Cabanaconde, Peru


Mule driver in the village center






“Boarding House” – Cabanaconde, Peru


Cabanaconde woman — Cabanaconde, Peru


Plaza de Armas — Cabanaconde, Peru



Colca Canyon, Peru


Condor monument — road from Cabanaconde to Chivay, Peru


Mototaxis–Road from Cabanaconde to Chivay, Peru


Descending into the town of Chivay by bus


The Peru Altiplano


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Into the World's [2nd] Deepest Canyon
On to Cuzco
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