Celebrating Christmas here in Peru and especially experiencing the weeks before was obviously quite different than in Germany. First of all, it was hot. Okay, we heard that this year’s weather on Christmas in Germany was not that cold either, but we were surfing and sandboarding around here. Christmas itself, we spent in Arequipa, Peru’s second biggest and probably one of the most beautiful ones. It is a colonial city surrounded by volcanoes which makes for some beautiful views.
Our favourite place in town was the local market where we had the best ceviche (fish cooked in lime juice) so far, ate some other local specialties and enjoyed strawberries for 2 dollars a kilogram.
Even if the weather was sunny, we got into a Christmas mood because of the countless nativity scenes, the kitchy decoration everywhere, and, not to forget, panflute versions of silent night or jingle bells…
Our amazing hostel Friendly AQP also had Christmas decoration and even put a Christmas touch to the breakfast!
On Christmas Eve, they organized the most amazing Christmas dinner: Each guest had to make a dish from their home country while they themselves contributed two turkeys! We made potato salad and vanilla pudding with strawberries, just to have eaten strawberries on Christmas. It was great. During the day, we watched Frozen (!) and chilled a lot. A very different but great Christmas.
The hostel owners really made sure that we had a great time and even some local kids sang and danced for us and showed us how a typical Peruvian Christmas looks like. At midnight, there was also fireworks but we were already in bed then. Why? Because we had to catch the bus to the Colca Canyon at three in the morning!
The Colca Canyon is supposedly the world’s deepest canyon depending on how it is measured. The volcanoes around it have an altitude of up to 6000 meters while the bottom of the canyon is at around 2000 meters. The landscape is simply amazing and great for some hiking.
In the valley, we spend our two nights in Llahuar and in Sangalle. Llahuar is off the traditional treck which is why we decided not to go with a tour. It was a good choice. The hike was about 10 km and 1000 m down the canyon ending at a great lodge with some amazing hot springs next to the cold river.
Day two was even more exhausting but also really beautiful. We hiked about 13 km, uphill and down again in the bright sun with nearly no shade. Unfortunately Chris had to return to Llahuar after about 1 hour because we forgot our swimwear. In exchange, I carried our bag longer that day. When we finally reached Sangalle we were happy about the cold pool but weren’t too impressed by the lodge. We were happy that we had lunch in Malata, the village before, where everything was a lot cheaper.
The next morning, we got up at 4 am to start our climb up. The hike was 3 hours, 5.6 km and 1000 m up the mountain. It was incredibly exhausting and definitely the least fun part of hiking the Colca Canyon. The altitude and the early hour didn’t make it much better… When we finally reached the top, we were really relieved and proud of ourselves.
We had a large breakfast and then went back to Arequipa with the tourist bus which stopped in several places, e.g. a local village, some viewpoints, hot springs (not worth it!) and a llama reserve. Again, I can simply say that Colca Canyon is incredibly beautiful.
Back in Arequipa, we were completely exhausted but very happy to have done this great hiking trip.