Journey through Peru: Condor Cross

After our day of rest, we got up early, packed up and headed out again. We left at 6:30, ready to make it to Condor Cross in time to catch some of the legendary birds in flight. The drive there was more spectacular than I can describe.

Driving up to Condor Cross

Driving up to Condor Cross

The views of the valley and the volcanos were breathtaking.

The Colca Canyon

The Colca Canyon

We saw a lot of animals being herded along the road. More than once we noticed the women would actually be knitting or crocheting as they herded animals along the way.

Burros being herded while woman knits

Burros being herded while woman knits

The drive up there was long – at least an hour or maybe two. At one point we went through a deep, dark tunnel.  It was just wide enough for one car, so we were glad nobody came from the other direction!  Olivia thought it was hilarious when our driver turned off the headlights for a moment…we didn’t think it was quite so funny 🙂

Dark tunnel

Dark tunnel

We also passed some ancient tombs in the mountains.  You could see the tombs jutting out of the mountains like termite nests or something.  It reminded me of an Indiana Jones movie…

Old tombs along the mountainside

Old tombs along the mountainside

This was the prettiest view.  The valley was so breathtaking!

View of the valley

View of the valley

Gig 'em, Ags!

Gig ’em, Ags!

We got out at the first point and were shocked by the cold wind (I’m not sure why I wasn’t prepared for it).

Walking the trail

Walking the trail with our guide

Looking for wildlife

Looking for wildlife

The wind was worth it though. We finally were able to see the Giant Hummingbird! It measures 17cm long and is the biggest hummingbird in the world. In addition to nectar they also eat insects.

The giant hummingbird

The giant hummingbird

Condor Cross

Condor Cross

We also spotted a small mammal related to the chinchilla.

Cactus

Cactus

The kids with cactus

The kids posing with cactus

Next, we saw a young condor.

Young condor

Young condor

They are brown in color the first seven years of life. After that they turn black and white with a distinct white collar around the neck. They live 40-50 years in the wild and up to 70 in captivity. At the next stop we saw the big condors.

The Condor against the Andes

The Condor against the Andes

What’s really amazing about these birds is they can go 60 days without food! Since they only consume dead meat, food can be scarce. To conserve energy they live high in the cliffs of the valley and soar on the wind currents.

An adult condor

An adult condor

The view was great from here too. Our favorite part of Colca Canyon was this view though on the way back down, though.

View of the valley

View of the valley

The terraces formed almost an amphitheater and below were three lakes and the river.

The valley

The valley

We were able to stop in the village of Maca on the way back and see inside the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church in Maca

The Catholic Church in Maca

This church was destroyed by an earthquake in the 90’s and after being visited by Peru’s president, was rebuilt. It was amazing to see the elaborate ornate inside, while outside the church there was just an ordinary dusty town.

Original altar

Original altar

The wood was imported from Europe and then painted with gold leaf. Before the Spaniards came, the locals had never seen a mirror. Mirrors were one of the main decorations of this church. They traded gold for the mirrors because they were so amazed to be able to see their reflection.

Sculptures made of wood

Sculptures made of wood and mirrors to decorate

Outside the church Olivia found a llama.

Llama face! (inside joke...)

Llama face! (inside joke…)

This time she was a bit braver. She even got a picture with the eagle!

Eagle

Eagle

Wearing the "eagle hat"

Wearing the “eagle hat”

After lunch we headed back out of the canyon and made our way to Puno. The countryside was beautiful.

A small valley village

A small valley village

It was a long day of driving from there.  About 8 hours or so.  We tried to rest up, because more adventures awaited us in Puno!

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2 thoughts on “Journey through Peru: Condor Cross

  1. Wow, y’all really captured some gorgeous views!! What a beautiful trip! I love how your guide was so involved with Olivia – holding her hand and helping her spot the wildlife. So sweet. 🙂

    Like

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