The gorgeous city of Arequpia has by far been my favourite stop so far. We stayed in a very cozy bed and breakfast hostel that had consistently hot showers which was a god sent.
We stayed right in the heart of downtown which almost felt European, with gorgeous architecture and a breathtaking plaza around a cathedral. The day we arrived seven of us decided to go on the Colca Canyon trek. It is a two day , one night trek of an amazing canyon. I’m going to be honest here, if was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I hike once or twice a week at home, including some pretty intense trails but nothing could have prepared me for that trek. We left our hostel at 4:00am and got on a bus for four hours, arriving at the beginning of the trek just as the sun was rising. The first day of the trek entailed a three hour hike down the first face of the canyon. With loose rocks and terrifying cliffs it was not the easy part.
After stopping for lunch we continued to hike for three more hours, climbing up and down the second side of the canyon to arrival at our lodge at 7:00pm. With shaky knees, blistered feet, and NO energy most of us just crawled into bed dead to the world. At the wonderful hour of 5:00am we woke up climb back up to the top. We had been given the choice to take a mule to the top for s/.60 ($24) but we all wanted to make a solid effort at the climb. With a taunting three hours ahead of us we pushed up through the dark. After two hours of trying to breathe in the thin, high altitude air and commanding my legs to move with little response my friend and I gave in and payed s/.20 ($8) for a mule to take us up the last portion. Best $8 I’ve ever spent in my life. It was the most beautiful hike I could ever imagine and it was a really cool experience but seriously know what you’re getting yourself into before signing up. Three days later all seven of us are still wincing with every stair we have to climb and every step our sore muscles have to take us. After returning from “the hike that shall not be named” we spent our last two days in Arequipa exploring the baby alpaca stores, local market, cathedral, and clubs (the night life was amazing). It will be hard to top this stop of the tour but I know there are so many more adventures to come!!
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