Andean retreat is near site known for its condors
El condor pasa at times very close to those visiting a prime vantage spot in the Peruvian Andes for those wanting to see the massive bird and guests of a new area retreat are being invited to view it as it soars by.
PUQIO — which has eight guest units and is found by the side of Peru’s dramatic Colca Canyon — is near the Cross of the Condor, where morning visitors will easily be able to spot Andean condors, the wingspans of which can top 10 feet.
Clark Kotula of Clark Kotula Representation, which works with PUQIO parent company Andean, told a recent webinar that condor sightings are truly dramatic.
“You can see three or four condors or you can see 12 or 20 soaring around. It’s kind of guaranteed,” he said. “Having these things soar over your head or at eye level or where you can actually hear the whoosh of the wind as they soar over is something to behold.”
The Cross of the Condor viewing locale can draw large numbers of onlookers, with PUQIO currently seeking a prime viewing spot that doesn’t now attract visitors.
PUQIO was built by the Masias family, long involved in Peruvian tourism. Their firm has properties in the Peruvian Andes, along with boutique-style Lima hotels that Kotula said have an intimate feel.
Kotula said the Colca Canyon is the “third deepest river canyon in the world” when measured from “the highest mountain down to the very bottom… It’s a spectacle.”
PUQIO is about three hours from the city of Arequipa, with that journey taking visitors over lofty Andean landscapes.
Kotula said the region PUQIO is in only draws a fraction of the number of visitors that head to the better-known Sacred Valley — home to Machu Picchu — which he said will appeal to those who don’t want to be around large numbers of fellow tourists.
“You’re in this huge canyon or valley, with walking trails everywhere through these beautiful fields and you don’t see anybody,” he continued. “There are vast areas to explore with your guide.”
Kotula added that the area has Inca ruins, ‘really ornate towns” and has been inhabited by Indigenous peoples who centuries ago were “part of the Inca Empire for a blip in their timeline when the Inca Empire subjugated them into their empire but they’ve lived there for 2,000 years.”
Visitors can interact with locals.
Kotula — an American who spent 10 years in Cusco working for tour companies — said PUQIO is found by one of the canyon banks and is a “very intimate property, having four tented and four non-tented units”.
Units have king or twin beds, bathrooms, heating, with tented units either being 600 or 648 square feet, while the adobe non-tented units are 745 square feet.
PUQIO meals use local cooking techniques, he added. “The gastronomic food experience here is very local, not just in production but cooking style.”
PUQIO is adding a yoga deck and hot tub and Jacuzzi experiences are also in the works.
Another of Andean’s lodging options is Titilaka, found at Lake Titicaca, which straddles the Peru-Bolivia border and is the highest navigable lake in the world. Titilaka is six hours by vehicle from PUQIO, with those heading to Titilaka following a route that will have them “driving across the roof of the world,” Kotula continued.
That route will provide sightings of flamingos that live at 14,000 feet, frequently surprising visitors who expect the pink birds to live in tropical environs alone, Kotula continued. “To find them in the middle of the Andes is really mind-blowing.”