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Day 9 - Tour Day 5 - Coca, Animals & Altitude

Chivay, Arequipa, Peru Thursday, June 18, 2015

Not a great sleep last night, woke with a sore neck which I can only assume came from a the bad sleep on the bus the night before. On top of that I also had a blocked nose and dry mouth, which could be from the altitude, I really don't know.

After a quick shower and breakfast we meet up with a new guide "Freddy" who would join our tour, he is a bit of a character. He has a great knowledge of the area and is able to explain a lot about the history and the beliefs of the people, while still able to incorporate a few jokes here and there. We headed off to the Colca Valley where we are staying tonight in a place called Chivay.

On the way we stopped at a little tea shop where we all got some tea made from coca leaves, different types of teas helped with different type of things, most of us decided to get the Inca tea which was the 4 teas combined. It didn't taste bad, it just tastes like tea really, but with tiny little twigs with leaves on them. I thought at this height of about 4000meters I would give some altitude training a go, I did a quick 350m run around the area only to find how hard it was to breath... I expected there may be some difficulty, I just never expected it would be that hard to breath, I ran my normal pace and at the end I was gasping for breath.

On the way to our next point we passed some of the local camelids, these are essentially alpacas, llamas and vicuñas, which are all typical in Peru. There were lots of people around so it made it a bit hard to get photos, but we tried anyway. While we were trying to get photos with the Llamas some of them got angry and started spitting at us... The Llamas that is, not people.

Back into the van and then back on our way to the highest point of our trip (4910meters above sea level). When we arrived we got out to get photos, it was quite noticeable how much the altitude affected us. While you could sit quiet comfortably and walk around OK, as soon as you started to walk a bit quicker or up stairs you noticed the little dizzy spells. This is the highest point of our trip, so hopefully by the time we get to the hiking, we will have adjusted.

Chivay has only about 5,000 people in it, yet is the main village in this area, it even has Wifi, although that is rather slow. Upon arriving, we headed off to have some lunch. The meals here tasty and we had a bunch of laughs while we ate.

Once we had filled our belly's with lunch, it was time to take a look though the markets. We were lucky to arrive during the celebration of the province, so there were a lot of things to see in the markets and they were doing "special" prices for us.

Where's Jono, at the markets

Where's Jono, at the pool

We headed down to the local hot springs which were a series of pools, they seemed to be sectioned off in a way so the tourists use one pool while the locals can use the other ones. While the pool was warm, the closer you went to the source the hotter it got... So hot I couldn't even put my hand under it directly for more than a second.

Sabancaya Volcano letting off some steam.

After the pools it was time to head back to the hotel on the trip back we saw Sabancaya Volcano quiet happily letting off the steam. We got back so we could get showered and head back into town to check out a few of the markets before getting dinner at a nearby Irish bar and watch Peru vs Venezuela in the Cup America game.

Tomorrow we are up early to head off to Colca Canyon to try and spot condors on a guided tour by Freddy.

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