Arequipa/Colca Canyon, Ica/Huacachina, Paracas | Travel Blog

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Published: September 26th 2023

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ArequipaArequipaArequipa

Peru
I took and overnight flight to Lima followed by a flight to Arequipa and got there early in the morning.

Arequipa
The second largest city in Peru. High altitude, surrounded by volcanoes. The centre is very cool architecturally with cathedrals, monestaries, lots of Juliette balconies and courtyards. Lovely coffee shops, nice place to hang out for a day. The main reason why I wanted to do Arequipa was the Colca Canyon which is a very Deep canyon in the Andes. I did this with a 2 day trek tour with a very early pick up of 3am! We arrived at the Canyon after having breakfast in a town along the way and stopping to watch Condors.

We then descended into the canyon and walked along the bottom for the day. We stopped for lunch and had some fresh produce and then arrived at an Oasis called Sangelle in the mid- later afternoon. The descent had a complex, dry and a scranny path and the weather was hot as the altitude went lower making the walk more challenging, so even though the distance isn’t huge there were lots of other factors. Dinner was nice and the night sky was

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amazing.

The following day was another early start of 430am. We started ascending in the dark and steadily the sun rose and the path came more clear. We reached the top around 730am and then had a fun day where we went to hot springs and saw llamas, alpacas, flamingo across the Salina park.

On getting back to Arequipa I decided to get a night bus to Ica/ Huacachina.

Ica
City in the centre of a desert, Huacachina is a tiny oasis on the Southern part of the city. I stayed in a hostel just outside the Oasis and then went for an explore in the morning going to one of the view points, giving an amazing view of the oasis and surrounding desert. I was pleasantly surprised by Huacachina, mainly by the sand dunes and desert surrounding the oasis and I had a cool day just exploring. I haven’t been to a real desert before so I thought the landscape was amazing.

Paracas
About 1 hour west of Ica is a port village called Paracas, this in its own has a National park, which is arid and dry but not as duney as Ica. This

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is also the gateway to the Isla Ballestas (ie poor man’s Galapagos), i went for a wonder around the town in the afternoon on arriving, the beaches aren’t great but there is a seasidey atmosphere which I like. In the morning and saw some flamingos on the outskirts of the park and then went on the boat tour of the islands. It was so great to see the ocean teaming with fish and porpoises, dolphins and sea lions and the island it’s self was made of beautiful rock formations and lots of little coves with nests and areas for penguins and birds to hide. It was a really nice couple of hours and was totally worth visiting Paracas for.

Highlights- Colca Canyon was incredible. I found the Condor across point incredibly moving and I really enjoyed the trek with a great group of people. It has been great to see the wide range of nature within Peru.

Next stop Lima!



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