It is unlike anywhere else in the world
High Altitude. Floating islands. Ancient culture. Salt Flats.
Would I recommend? Absolutely but with elevations of 8,000 to 15,000 throughout, I definitely think this is a destination you should enjoy as young, healthy and active as possible.
Arequipa: We started in the White City Arequipa, named because of the white volcanic rock, a great Spanish colonial town with a beautiful square and cathedral. Definitely tour the Santa Catalina convent started in1580. The tradition of the time indicated that the second son or daughter of a family would enter a life of service in the Church, and the monastery accepted only women from upper-class Spanish families. Each family paid a dowry at their daughter's admission to the monastery. At one time, they had over 175 nuns in separate homes built by family. During a reform period in 1870, the Vatican stopped this practice.
From here we went to Valley of Colca, and along the way, we stopped in Chivay, which was celebrating the Festival of Our Lady of the Assumption. Young people dance in the traditional festival of "poncheke" which begins the night after the Sunday of carnival. That evening we stayed at Belmond Le Casitas del Colca, challenging terrain in elevation not faint of heart, but stunning casitas with great views. The Casitas offered a fireplace in the room, enjoyable dining room lovely, a place for relaxing after a busy day.
Condor Cross: The next morning we headed to the Condor Cross, the perfect viewpoint to light in the majestic flight the Condor, the largest flying bird in the world. Andean condor’s wingspan, ranging 9 to 10.17 feet and weigh up to 33 lbs! Wow!
Recommendation: Belmond Andean Explorer