Hop on a ten-hour night bus from Cusco and wake up in the ‘white city’ of Arequipa, with grand buildings made from white volcanic stone.
We travelled with Cruz Del Sur, which wins the prize for comfiest and most reclining seats yet. The ticket also included a free, slightly questionable hot meal.
After a day of recuperating in the hammocks of Arequipay Backpackers hostel, we took a day trip to Colca Canyon which included a transfer at the end of the day to Puno. Handy for those like us heading for Lake Titicaca.
The day trip started bright and early with a 3am pick up. After a nap on the minibus, we woke up at 6am, 4850m above sea level in a huge mountain pass named Patapampa. Snow and thousands of tiny rock formations surround the active volcano, Sabancaya. The rock formations otherwise known as Apachetas in Quechua language, are offerings for safe travels.
Next we visited the home of the Andean Condor, Colca Canyon. With a depth of 3200m it is one of the world’s deepest canyons. Take a seat at the viewing point and hope to see a Condor fly pass, with an incredible wingspan of over three metres. Part of the vulture family, Condor’s scavenge the canyon for animal remains. Despite visiting in rainy season where it is unlikely to see these birds in flight, we were lucky enough to see several flying overhead.
The final stop of the day was Yanque’s natural spring thermal pools. This was great for relaxing the muscles, especially after our recent Machu Picchu trek.
By 1pm we were on our transfer bus to Puno, which took around 6 hours including a few stops. We used Puno as a stop over before our Bolivia Hop journey to Copacabana, the Bolivian side of Lake Titicaca, the following morning. Bolivia Hop was extremely easy and especially helpful when it came to the border crossing.
We stayed in Copacabana for one night and two days, which was more than plenty. If you’re short for time we recommend passing through Copacabana. There is not a lot to do and Isla Del Sol was very average.
Snow to hot springs to Condors, the road from Arequipa to Lake Titicaca offers a variety of natural beauty.