My last day in Peru was also the last day of my mini tour from Puno to Arequipa. Once again the tour bus was exactly on time to head to Colca Canyon and Cruz del Condor. It was a nice scenic drive. We stopped several times to check out the views and we were able to see the town of Yanque while another few people were picked up at their hotel. Yanque was a boring town just like Chivay (town square and a church) and had children performing a dance in traditional clothing asking for tips. The music was blasting and it was only 6:30am. They also had hawks and llamas that you could pose with (for tips of course). Everything in the country is about getting money out of you, which I guess is understandable since there aren’t many other jobs available.
At Cruz del Condor we saw a couple of condors and supposedly some other birds that weren’t condors but looked similar. It was pretty dull but it was a nice weather day so sitting around was relaxing and pleasant. After an hour or so, we left to drive to Arequipa. We stopped for lunch and some people switched buses again depending on if you were traveling to Arequipa or Puno. In Arequipa, I was dropped off at the airport so that was a great savings and perk to the tour. I had hours to kill in the airport so I found a bar and had some beer. They didn’t have Wi-Fi which was a bummer, but after I got bored, I walked to the other side of the airport (about 5 feet, jk) and found the other restaurant which did have Wi-Fi.
The highlight of the day was being upgraded randomly to Business Class on the first leg of the flight which was pretty cool even though the flight was only 1.5 hours. I got a full meal, champagne upon boarding and vodka with sprite during my meal. Unfortunately, I was not upgraded on my flight from Lima back to the States 😦
Overall, I think this 4m tour is a nice way to get from Puno to Arequipa or vice versa if you have a couple of days to kill. Otherwise, go ahead and take a flight.
I think my 2.5 weeks in Peru was just enough time for me to accomplish everything I wanted to do. Intrepid Travel has a lot of kinks to work out but since I got the trip on a major discount, I feel it was a wise decision to use them. Hopefully in the future, they will have the perfect tour with great tour guides. I do advise to press for as much information you can get from any tour operator you use – either for a full tour or for daily trips. It seems they all like to do a bait and switch kind of thing, so anything you can get in writing is a good idea.