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Quick Update from Arequipa, Perú

posted Feb 18, 2011, 6:05 AM by Paul Gareau
Hello! Just wanted to write a quick update to let you all know what I'm up to. After six days of riding from Cuzco, I reached the town of Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The riding was great, good road and impressive "Big Sky" views, and I rode with three other cyclists along the way, including yet another Pan American cyclist who I had never met or heard of. From Puno, I went on a two day tour of three of Lake Titicaca's islands, including the floating islands of Uros (made entirely by reeds!), and an overnight with a family on the island of Amantaní. Next I took a bus to Peru's second largest city, Arequipa, which is quite far from my route and on the other side of some pretty big mountains. I spent yesterday exploring the city and the amazing Santa Catalina convent. Today I'll catch a bus to the Colca Canyon, the second deepest canyon in the world, where I'll spend a few days hiking. After that I'll head back to Arequipa, where I plan to climb the 6000 meter (nearly 20,000 foot) volcano, Chachani. The side trip to Arequipa is something I had been considering for a while, and it's a good way to spend some time while I wait for the rainy season to pass in Bolivia, which will let me cycle across the Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat. A traveler I met recently took a 4x4 tour across it, and as amazing as it looked covered by a few inches of water, it would make for some pretty miserable cycling (and camping!). I should be back on my bike by close to the first of March, and after two or three days of cycling, I'll reach Copacabana, a town in Bolivia on the shore of Lake Titicaca. Since my passport was stamped for four months in Peru, and I'll be leaving after spending five months here (!!), I'll be fined for $1 per day when I leave the country, but that's still cheaper than when I extended my stay in Colombia! That's all for now - ciao!