Cotahuasi Canyon

This week we take a sojourn from the usual literary-related theme. As I have recently returned from Peru I am dedicating this post to my travels there.

After visiting Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu I was in dire need of a break from poncho clad tourists, so I headed to the remote Cotahuasi Canyon. The canyon is a 9 hour bus journey from the southern city of Arequipa.

Any fatigue was forgotten on arrival.

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Below is a picture of me posing beside a cactus.

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Travelling to different parts of the canyon entails traversing its unpaved roads in public buses.

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The view from the bus.

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The roads are often blocked with debris from avalanches (see below).

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Memorials are a regular sight on the canyon’s roads.

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Away from the road the canyon is an idyllic place.

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Every village in the canyon has a church.

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And most have a bullring.

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Living conditions in the canyon can be rudimentary.

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Donkeys are the only mode of transport in the more remote villages where it appears little has changed for hundreds of years.

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That is until I ventured into a house.

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Canyon residents gathered outside a dwelling.

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And this is a bridge I had to cross. Note the man taking a nap in the middle. Did I mention that I’m scared of heights.

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Fortunately the bridge was in fairly good condition.

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The same cannot be said of the next bridge.

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These are agricultural terraces built by the pre Incan Wari people.

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Below is a picture of my guide posing in the Wari Cemetery.

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The human bones here date to about 700 A.D.

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Is there anything in this world as cathartic as water and a blue sky?

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A forest of cactuses.

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On my last day in the canyon I ventured too far from the town to get back in time for the once daily bus back to Arequipa. I was fortunate to come across this motorised rickshaw. I made it back just in time.

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Bridges not withstanding I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 days trekking in Cotahuasi Canyon.

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