Wednesday, August 17, 2011


After about three hours on the road, we suddenly descended from the heights of Patapampa into the Colca Valley, near the town of Chivay.  Chivay, at the eastern, and upriver, end of the valley, is the economic and administrative hub of the area.  There, one must buy a Colca "Tourism Ticket".

That seems like a bit of an imposition, since one is simply paying to enter the valley, and the roads are public after all, but the regional government has allowed the Colca communities a certain autonomy in running local affairs and permitted them to impose that fee on tourists, so it is as it is.

Near Chivay

At this point, the Colca Valley is just that, a valley. It's a highly agricultural area, and nearly every available hillside is covered in agricultural terracing, some predating even the Inca presence in the valley.

Near Pinchullo

It isn't until near the town of Pinchullo that the river has carved out its famous canyon.   By then -shortly outside of Chivay, in fact- the road asphalt runs out and the road turns to one of packed-earth, until it nears Cabanaconde, our destination at the other end of the canyon.    At this time of year -winter, and the dry season- the road was bumpy, dusty, and slow, but traversable.  I'd hate to imagine what it woud be like at the height of the rains in January or February!

Cantuta blossoms.  Peru's national flower.

Near Cruz del Condor

At Cruz del Condor

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