Chivay: "Altiplano"

Day One

Arequipa to Chivay

November 25, 2003 

Dear Family and Friends,

Say “Hello” to Enrique, my tour guide, and Felix, my driver.

My small tour group is bound for Chivay and the Colca Canyon, by minivan.

The group consists of a young married couple from Spain, a younger, soon-to-be married couple from Peru, a young man from Japan and a young man from Germany. Yes, as per usual, I am the senior member of the group. “Señor Juan,” if you please.

Just outside the city we stop for some last minute provisions: bottled water, snacks and the WC. We are off to the high plains desert, volcanoes and the famously deep Colca Canyon.

(By the way, it’s a good thing we stopped for some extra water supplies. After about a half hour on the road, we passed another tourist van on the side of the road. The radiator was steaming. So, we poured in our extra drinking water and everyone was happy. No service stations out here, my friends. Just endless, stark, spectacular desert scenery.)

Misti Volcano, Arequipa: "La Ciudad Blanca" - Peru


Arequipa, Peru

November 24, 2003

Dear Family and Friends,

Let me describe The Perfect Lunch: shall we say, “a perfectly civilized lunch.”

I am ambling about the Plaza de Armas, the central square of Arequipa, the "altiplano"city in southern Peru.

A young and smiling and attractive Vanessa persuades me to enter The Terrace Restaurant.

Colca Canyon: "El Cóndor Pasa"

Day Two

Chivay – Colca Canyon – Arequipa


November 25. 2003

Dear Family and Friends, 

The visit to Colca Canyon was the highlight of the long ride through the desert and the mountains.

After a light breakfast at a comfortable inn – hot, hot water, clean room, and cheerful staff – our group hit the road.

(Did I mention that in a few spots the road was actually paved?)

The route through the mountains is basically UP. Up and around, and up some more, and up and up through these stark gray rugged mountains. Until, finally, we are at the rim of Colca Canyon.