Tairona Inca: Colombia and Peru in 2 Weeks
Day 15: Witnessing Andean condors soar in the Colca Canyon, relaxing in hot springs and taking a cooking and cocktail class at Las Casitas Del Colca.
Colca Canyon is famous as the third most visited site in Peru and for its depth at 13,650 ft (4,160 m), which is more than double that of the Grand Canyon.
After a quick buffet breakfast where hummingbirds drank nectar outside the window as we dined, we met our driver arranged by the hotel. He took us to a huge Mercedes van which we had to ourselves for the tour (200 sols).
The drive was about an hour and a half through some small towns and windy mountain roads some of which cut right into the mountain turning into a rudimentary tunnel with unsupported walls and an unpaved road. We passed a number of tourist cars and buses on the way.
We finally arrived at the canyon area where we spent over an hour exploring the scenes. The views were spectacular!
There were several steep drop offs with no railings which was surprising. Even the guard on duty didn’t seem to care that tourists were teetering on the edge for the ultimate photo op.
At one point a gigantic Andean Condor flew right by us at the same level. It was an incredible sight and exactly what we had hoped to see. Crowds of bird watchers scanned the valley looking to spot the condor.
We also bumped into the Texan couple from the bus ride to Chivay!
On the drive back, we stopped in a touristy town with souvenir stalls, a guy placing eagles on tourists’ heads for photos and an elegant small white church.
Back at the lodge our group went to soak in the hot springs and we chose to bring some champagne to sip on.
After that, we checked out and headed to a neighboring hotel.
Las Casitas Del Colca
This hotel was located just across the valley. We had to pass by the security gate to enter the property.
After our check-in, we took a walk around the property all the way to the “farm” where some animals curiously stared at us. There was a fat pig, llamas, alpacas, guinea pigs in compartments, turkeys and large rabbits.
In the evening at 5 pm we attended a Peruvian cooking class where the chef showed us how to cook lomo saltado and quinoto.
The chef was very skilled and explained the steps to creating the dish in Spanish as another man translated into English.
At the end of the instruction he served us what he made in sample sized dishes. It was really tasty!
Then we moved to the bar area for a pisco sour lesson.
The barman showed us how to make the first one, a classic pisco sour. Then it was our turn. A Chilean guest tried first making a eucalyptus sour. Then I made a ginger sour, followed by my brother’s a gooseberry sour and ending with my mother’s coca leaf sour.
We had some many samples that we were quite dizzy by the end of the “lesson”. It was a fun and interactive activity.
Moving to the restaurant, we sat down for a late dinner of Peruvian cuisine.
After the light meal, we went for a complementary head massage at the spa. On top of the pisco sours and activities of the day, the soothing massage put me right to sleep.
Groggily, we all retired for the night. Back in the room, I found the turndown service had wonderfully prepared the room with a fire crackling in the fireplace, and the bath tub lit with candles and decorated with handpicked flowers.
There were smiling lamb shaped bed warmers made the beds very inviting.
On to Arequipa the next day!