The Cruz del Condor

The most famous tourist attraction in the Colca Canyon is the Cruz del Condor. It’s famous because it’s relatively easy to see condors there – yes condors! 🙂 They are mostly active first thing in the morning and last thing in the afternoon.

It’s around 14km away from Cabanaconde, and with infrequent buses – so our strategy was to take the 7am bus to arrive at around 7.30am, spend a couple of hours there, and then walk back to Cabanaconde taking in some other viewpoints on the way back.

When we arrived it was very quiet – the hoards of tour buses hadn’t arrived yet 🙂 But then on the other hand, neither had the condors…. 🙁

We’ve arrived at the Cruz del Condor.
View down the valley – where are the condors?

There is quite a large area with walkways where you can wander around and look at the views and try and spot condors. The problem is always deciding which area to go to to try and find the condors! Finally we saw some! Yes! 🙂 But unfortunately they had their backs to us, and were quite far away…. losers…

Our first sighting – four condors on the cliff.
Close up of the condors. One male and two females.

We watched the four condors on the cliff for a bit, hoping that they would all turn around 🙂 But they didn’t move a lot, so we decided to head down the trail to some other viewing platforms.

Heading to another viewing area.

This area turned out to be pretty good (that, or the condors decided to come out….) and we saw loads and loads of condors flying around, and occasionally landing. They were very hard to take pictures of – especially when they were flying – that’s our excuse anyway – but they were great to watch! 🙂 We had a great couple of hours watching the condors!

Female condor.
Male condor.
Condor on the rock.
Two condors on the rock!
More condors on the rock!
By the time we left, the viewing areas were getting quite crowded.

Satisfied with our condor viewings, it was time to start the walk back to Cabanaconde. It was getting quite hot, and in the end it was quite a tiring walk – we figured that by the time we had added on the detours to the viewing points, the total distance back was around 17km.

But it was worth the toil, as there were great views all along the road on the way back, and we saw lots of nice birds (that weren’t condors! 🙂 )

View from the road.
The road back is actually the main highway to Cabanaconde – but there are hardly any cars on it…
We weren’t the only people walking along the road towards Cabanaconde – but we were the only ones without cows! 🙂
More scenery from the road.
Soon we arrived at our ‘official’ lunch stop – the Mirador de Tapay
CC is ready for a well-deserved lunch at the mirador.
View from the mirador.
After the mirador, we started the approach to Cabanaconde – as the sign says, it is 3287m above sea level.
Our next stop was a few kilometres outside of town – Mirador San Miguel.
Although it can be very hard to find public toilets in Peru – for some reason, the largest and most fancy public toilet we had EVER seen –  was here in the middle of nowhere, not far from the mirador. Our suspicion was that it was there for large tour buses to park next to.
View from the mirador.
Cabanaconde in the distance.
There were quite a few scenic paths to wander around on near the mirador..
PB heading home towards Cabanaconde.

By the time we got back to Cabanaconde, it was around 4.30pm – a long but very enjoyable day – and good training for our next hike – which was going to be a lot tougher, as we were going to go down in to the canyon…

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