Peru - Colca Canyon - Condor Pass, Part 1

    Andrys Basten, photos taken 5/17/97

As before, *click* on photos on these pages for larger, sharper views.   (59k)
Condor Pass

About 13,000 feet above sea level, this is Condor Pass (Mirador Cruz del Condor) in Colca Canyon, where the protected surviving condors of Peru fly, soaring on currents and displaying their 10-ft. wing-spans. With a higher than usual view of the Andes, it's one of the most beautiful spaces I've ever seen, and one-dimensional photographs can't begin to do it justice. The lack of railings may add to the heady effect.

    Colca Canyon, deeper than Grand Canyon, is in the Arequipa region and is reached by crowded bus/van or with the company of (in our case) delightful private guides, as automobiles aren't driven on these unpaved roads. In any case, with about 4 hours of very bumpy riding while trying to get enough oxygen in your system at that altitude, a private van is recommended.

Condors enjoy this area in early morning.
Condor passing
*Click* for a closer view (72k). After an overnight stay in Chivay following the 4-hour ride and some coca leaf tea (cocaine is derived from coca leaves) to help in adjusting to the high-altitude, we were awakened at 5:30am to go see the condors in flight. Most people who come to this really beautiful place, with its almost unnaturally clear air, feel they want to spend the entire day here, but the condors move to a less accessible site in the afternoon and the guides want you to see more of Peru.

This was a scene to our right, as we watched the condors straight ahead.
*Click* for a wider view (69k). an area of Condor Pass


Colca Canyon, Part 2 continues next ...

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