Located in the southern part of Peru, Colca Canyon has become one of the country’s top adventure destinations. Day trips from Arequipa are the most popular way to see the canyons, and there are hundreds to choose from. Adventure and trekking tours are a big draw, but we’re headed to the Highlands of Peru to experience local culture, high-quality handicrafts, and spectacular .mountain and canyon scenery.
|Tending to the llamas in a remote area of Peru|
The Trans Oceanic Road that we drive on part of the day was built more than 20 years ago and runs from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans. The landscape is mostly desert with only a few patches of green where onions and garlic are growing. Mountains in the background are composed of dirt and white volcanic ash that creates a haze drifting the air. Eventually we see more cacti and yellow grass that’s used to make roofs, sandals, rope, and bridges by the indigenous people.
|The Trans Oceanic Highway travels through barren landscapes|
and into the mountains of Peru.
|Vicunas graze in the shadow of majestic mountains.|
As we approach higher elevations (now 12,300 feet) Beatrice, our guide, shows us how to roll up coca leaves and place them between teeth and cheek—where it stays for the next couple of hours. Sipping water makes our own coca tea, intended to counter effects of the high elevation (not a cure, by any means!).
|Locals offer a variety of goods for sale at roadside stops.|
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier