Colca Canyon – Peru

Colca Canyon, is a river canyon in southern Peru, relatively near Peru’s second largest city; Arequipa. The Canyon is famed as one of the world’s deepest – with a depth of 3270 meters. It’s also It’s a habitat for the giant Andean condor – which is is the largest flying bird in the world by combined measurement of weight and wingspan.

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I set out from Arequipa by bus. Along the way, there were various view points, but ultimately I reached a lookout where several Andean Condor’s had nested nearby. Seeing them in the wild continuously circling the Canyon really was a sight. I’d often seen them in art form, or on various logos and other things during my time in South America. The reason behind is that the Andean condor is a national symbol of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. Condors historically have and continue to play an important role in the folklore and mythology of the Andean regions.

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On the route back to Arequipa, whilst having a discussion with the bus driver, I unfortunately discovered that these wonderful birds are actually considered ‘near threatened’ – The meaning behind this classification is that these species are likely to be threatened with extinction in the future, although, they do not currently qualify for near extinction status. Needless to say, let’s hope this doesn’t happen any time soon.

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I’m not embarrassed to say that on occasions, nature and the beauty of our planet have the capacity to make me feel emotionally moved. The Colca Canyon on this particular day was a joy to behold. I remember clearly that it was incredibly peaceful. No noise. Not even a gliding sound from the overhead Condors. Nothing. I picked a spot on a rock and perched myself there for about an hour or so, simply basking in the glory of my surroundings.

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One of my favorite things in any country, is a wander around the food markets. All the different smells, vibrant colors, new flavors, the energy from the hustle and bustle. I love it. It’s something that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed since being in South America as it presents an opportunity to practice my Spanish and as someone who enjoys and appreciates the little things, having an interaction with the local people is something I find genuinely insightful and rewarding; not to mention the piece of tropical fruit I normally come away with too…

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