Arequipa // Flight of the Condor

There is an amazing sight to behold in the Colca Valley.

Colca Canyon // A Slice of Peru

Aside from the incredible landscapes, there is something else to steal your gaze.

condor flying close by // A Slice of Peru

They glide in the distance silently; sometimes alone and sometimes with friends.

adult condor // A Slice of Peru

The Andean Condor.

They are wonderfully majestic creatures and they are so beautiful to watch just swooping and soaring in front of you and overhead.

condor // A Slice of Peru

Their vast wingspan makes it one of the largest birds to have ever graced this planet, and apparently it’s only second to the Wandering Albatross (which luckily enough I saw on a trip to New Zealand at the age of 12).

condors perching and flying // A Slice of Peru

They save their energy by roosting high up in the mountains and then using the air currents to glide as opposed to flapping their wings to fly.

condor // A Slice of Peru

That is what makes them so graceful in flight.

condors flying high // A Slice of Peru

condors // A Slice of Peru

We managed to see a mixture of adults and young birds, and you can tell the difference between them by the colour of their feathers.

an adult and young condor // A Slice of Peru

The young ones appear more brown (on the right) whereas the adults are black with sections of white on the wings and around the neck (on the left). I also learned that they can live up to 70 years old which is astonishing!

Cañon del Colca

I never realised what an incredible experience this would be until I was standing on the edge of the Colca Canyon at the Cruz del Condor (Condor Cross) staring down the canyon and catching my first glimpse of these incredible birds.

two condors in the distance // A Slice of Peru

Can you spot the two condors flying together right in the middle..?

condor // A Slice of Peru

An hour simply whizzes by as you stand and watch in awe as these huge birds glide overhead, trying to capture as many moments on film as possible, whilst still taking in some of the magic with your own eyes.

condor // A Slice of Peru

Sometimes the beauty of nature can astound you and you realise how lucky you are to have been in the position to observe this.

condors resting // A Slice of Peru

Sadly they are a threatened species and are very rare in parts of South America. Fortunately, however, there have been measures taken to increase their numbers in the wild. If you do come, you will count yourself as one of the lucky ones to have seen them in all their glory.

people watching // A Slice of Peru

Some people travel all this way and come away having seen nothing, so do check the best times of year for viewing them before booking your trip.

group of condors // A Slice of Peru

However, as luck would have it, we managed to see around 14 birds at one time and so we probably witnessed more than 20 birds over the period of time we were stood there (check out the group of them on the far left!).

lower viewing platform // A Slice of Peru

I recommend getting there early in the morning and staying for as long as you can. Avoid rainy days and make the time to come back again if you can so that you have double the chance.

condor // A Slice of Peru

It is so worth it.

P1030579

I promise you that.

condor // A Slice of Peru

Also, take a good camera if you have one. I only have a point-and-shoot and although I captured a few good shots, it took me a long while to get them. It does have a good zoom though, so I’ll give it bonus points for that!

condor // A Slice of Peru

I did use my iPhone on occasion though as it captured some good in flight action. It’s so hard to capture the gracefulness of these birds with just a photo, which is where film comes in to its own.

Hopefully this will give you an idea of the kind of experience you can have watching them.

(This was one of my videos that I uploaded to Twitter earlier today, so I thought I would share it within this post too).

river in Colca Canyon // A Slice of Peru

If you do plan on coming to Peru and visiting Arequipa, definitely make some time to see this incredible place..

condor // A Slice of Peru

..including these magnificent birds that were so highly revered by many different Peruvian cultures before, and including, the Incas.

colca canyon // A Slice of Peru

After a while the condors moved on and the rainclouds drew in, and so we left our perch and set off for a walk before the rain poured down.

colca canyon // A Slice of Peru

colca canyon // A Slice of Peru

The clouds turned the mountains into even more of a dramatic backdrop for our walk.

colca canyon // A Slice of Peru

As the rain started to pour we jumped into our bus and headed off.

colca valley // A Slice of Peru

colca valley // A Slice of Peru

colca valley // A Slice of Peru

The rocky canyon turned back into patchworks of greens and browns and rocks of burnt orange as we headed back into the Valley.

colca valley // A Slice of Peru

colca valley // A Slice of Peru

church // A Slice of Peru

After a few photo stops it was back to the Lodge for lunch outdoors.

lunch table // A Slice of Peru

OK, well not quite outdoors!

lodge and springs in the rain // A Slice of Peru

The sound of the thunder and the rain was extremely relaxing as we sipped on pisco sours and ate a trio of barbecued meats and vegetables. It gave a whole other dimension to our surroundings, which now felt much more enclosed with the low grey clouds covering us.

The view was spectacular.

view from lunch

I love to watch and listen to the rain and the thunder from the comfort of a dry, safe spot!

hot springs in the rain // A Slice of Peru

However, the rain didn’t stop me from having another dip in the natural hot pools after lunch, and I had one all to myself as not many others wanted to venture out in the heavy downpour.

And there, relaxing in the warm water, I enjoyed the stunning vista and the sound of the rain making little ripples all around me.

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