Tairona Inca: Colombia and Peru in 2 Weeks
Day 14: Taking the tourist bus from Puno to Chivay with stops at Laguna Lagunillas, Imata Stone Forest, Pampa Canahuas, and Patapampa. Briefly exploring Chivay before relaxing at our hotel Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs.
There were fewer options to go directly to Chivay from Puno. We booked with 4M-Express, because they were very responsive and professional.
The bus left very early, so we had to leave Titilaka bright and early. They provided breakfasts to go which was appreciated.
Our taxi drove painfully slow on the rocky road until we hit the paved road. We made it just in time to board the bus in Puno square.
A lady helped us get on the bus and collected for our ticket ($25 pp).
We were on our way from Puno to Chivay!
This drive was less than six hours with a few tourist stops again. These stops were a lot shorter, mostly to take some pictures and did not include any tours, though the lady shared information along the way over the bus’ sound system.
The bus was comfortable, but not as new as the Wonder Peru bus.
Our first stop was a viewpoint over a high lake. There were many different species of birds and several flamingos.
An elderly Texan couple really interested in DSLR cameras chat with us on the way to the next stop.
Imata Stone Forest
About two hours later we stopped at a restaurant near some interesting rock formations. There was a large group of bikers also taking a break. We had a hot munas tea made of fresh leaves which looked like it was just picked.
In the Aguada Blanca National Reserve we stopped at this area where wild herds of vicunas roamed. They reportedly have the most prized and expensive fur on the market!
Then we continued to the highest point on the route at Mirador de Los Andes which was 4,910 m (16,109 ft) high. There were many rocks piled on top of each other which was a symbol of prayer or good fortune. Several locals were selling tourist wares.
A couple of hours later we drove down to Chivay, which was still 3,700 m (12,000 ft) high. Right before entering the town, we stopped at a checkpoint where we purchased tickets to enter the Colca Canyon area (7,000 sols pp).
We briefly explored Chivay’s town center, where Our Lady of the Assumption church stood prominently in the square, before hopping into a taxi to the hotel.
The drive to the hotel took 15 minutes through Yanque town, around a mountain, across a bridge and down a steep oneway slope.
After our arrival and check-in, we went by the hotel restaurant by the hot springs for a barbecue lunch. The different kebabs were succulent and tasty. The best part was relaxing after a full day of traveling.
It started raining so we headed back to our rooms when suddenly the rain turned into pea sized hail! We watched from the safety of the room as the ice balls pelted the ground. People screamed as they ran for cover. The anomaly only lasted a couple of minutes, but it was surreal.
With the dreary weather, our activities were limited so we all enjoyed a Swedish massage at the hotel spa. I chose an orange scented oil for the treatment which was so comfortable that I embarrassingly fell asleep.
I woke up to giggling masseuses and awkwardly smiled. Great massage!
Our last activity was to try out the private hotel hot springs. My family and I changed into robes walked down to the bubbling baths by the riverside.
We tried the several pools of varying temperature and chose a hot one to soak in. Our evening was spent contemplating life with deep conversations.
It was a refreshing and memorable moment.
After a quick dinner at the restaurant, we rested up for our next day’s tour of Colca Canyon!