Day 3 – We made it ….. before breakfast

Andres wakes us at 4:30am for our 5am departure.

Andres is worried about the mule arriving on time. It seems the mule driver is coming from Cabanaconde, exactly where we are heading too. It is considered a 3 hour hike up with a break at each hour.

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Colca Canyon – Day 2 – deserting our guide….unintentionally

We have a good sleep and awake at 7:30am.  We pack our gear, have breakfast and hit the trail at 9am.  It is an hour later than we were suppose too, but everyone seems to be heading out at the same time.  The key is to try and get the hiking done before the heat of the day.

Today is mostly flat and then downhill into the Oasis – our second but different oasis in a week. Everyone is staying in the Oasis but at different hostels.

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Colca Canyon – Day 1

Once again Olga – our russian friend – has done her research in finding a tour guide.  She has found him through a russian travel forum with lots of recommendations.  We go to talk with the guide at 4 pm and even though I had thought Magpie and I would be doing a one day hike, I decide on the 3 day hike.  So… at 4:30pm it is decided, we three are doing the 3 day hike and will be leaving in 10 hrs.  In retrospect it does not leave Andres (our guide) much time to make all the arrangements including all the food.

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Condor’s Pass

We stop here on our way to Cabanaconde. It is only a certain time frame in the morning that you can see the Condor’s flying/gliding.

The lookout terrace is packed with people as there are special tours to come just here.

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Arequipa and the Cloisters

This is a beautiful Colonial city surrounded by volcanoes of which one is still active and smoking.

We arrive in the morning and grab a taxi with pre-arranged prices per sector to our hostel. It turns out our hostel is just down from the Plaza de Armes and walking distance to most places.

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Ballestas Islands – Peru’s Galapagos

Thanks to Olga again we all get up early for Ballestas Islands and Paracas Nature Reserve for the afternoon. There were people just going to bed after partying, the streets were a mess and places were opening.  What a paradox!

We take a bus into Paracas one hour away and Magpie gets a little more sleep. When we arrive at the pier many people are trying to sell us hats.  I figure it is for the sun and being on the water. I soon learn that it is for the number of birds and possible droppings.

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Sand Boarding in the Oasis total Fun!

We spent the day checking out the Oasis and trying to relax. Magpie and I went for a paddle boat ride around the pond, which is no longer totally natural. We met Olga after lunch at the hotel’s pool. Magpie and Olga played water basketball.

In the morning, Aaron made arrangements with the hostel we did not stay in to go dune buggy riding and sand boarding, for sunset. Aaron was adamant that we have a certain driver.

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Petroglyphs and trying to get to an Oasis

Today we packed up and headed to the petroglyphs. Our packs are in the trunk of Raul’s car and we picked up Olga. We are all heading to Huancachina – the Oasis just outside Ica – this afternoon. It is warm and very bright. We drive for just over an hour but make a stop to see the prickly pear – known as tuna in South America – and the cochineal beatle that lives on them. This the beatle that provides the color to textiles and foods (Starbucks just removed this beatle from one of their products due to overwhelming “ick” sentiment). We also make a stop for the viewing tower for the geoglyphs of Palpa.

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