Located at 160km from Arequipa, the hotel pick-up starts at 3am. It is an almost 3-hour ride before paying the entry fee of PEN $70 / USD $21 (August 2017) and stopping at the small town of Chivay for breakfast.
Breakfast is the typical South American fare of a few pieces of bread, jam, butter and coffee. Not exactly fuelling - so bringing some snacks is a good idea.
We stopped at the viewpoint La Cruz del Condor to view the Andean condors, one of the three sacred animals in Peru legends. The viewpoint was filled with hundreds of tourists, all holding out their cameras, hoping to get a good shot of the very few condors.
Condors are supposed to be the biggest birds in the skies, but here, they were tiny. With hundreds of eager tourists, I’m not surprised that the birds preferred to stay away.