Sunday, May 16

Majes Valley: Witchcraft, Dinosaurs & Shrimp

Bryam and Briggitte (who I met through basketball) have become some of my favorite people in Arequipa. Also our neighbors in Miraflores, they are down to earth, sweet and always up for an adventure. 
A few weeks ago, they took us to Majes valley, about three and a half hours through the desert from Arequipa. Briggitte, Bryam, Bryam's friend Oliver, Sergio and I loaded up and headed out on Sunday morning around 8:30.

Located on the dusty road to Cotahuasi canyon--the deepest in South America--is this breathtaking, fertile oasis. Southern Peru is full of river valleys like this. 
Majes valley, however, is particularly attractive. Pre-Incan petroglyphs (called Toro Muerto) are located nearby. The freshwater shrimp, as well as Majes brand piscos and wines, are famous. There are dinosaur tracks etched in the rock. But what really caught my hear was the area's reputation for witchcraft. 

As Briggitte told me, one of the smaller towns is known for producing towns of curses. You always have to be careful to accept food and drink there with the left hand, because if you accept something with your right, you could be cursed. Many people in Arequipa come to the Majes valley to visit the witches, and have a love curse placed on someone they're infatuated with. At the least, I can vouch for the bewitching scenery and energy in Majes.

We drove through the valley floor until we found a patch of shrimp shacks that Oliver had heard about. But before we settled down to eat, we took a walk out to the river nearby. A group of boys were getting informal swimming lessons near this wooden bridge where Oliver (red) and Bryam (pink) are standing. You can see the boys in the background.

Explorer Sergio immediately found the shrimp nets, made of bamboo, I think? 

After we'd played around in the water enough, we found our shrimp shack. For, I think it was, $7 we each had a *giant* plate of freshwater shrimp. Here's Briggitte with some Inka Kola showing off all of our plates:
Afterwards, we took a drive up the valley to see the dinosaur tracks. Here Briggitte and Bryam are pushing each other up the hill, with the impressive footprints in the background. 
And of course, what would a dinosaur park be without a giant T-rex model? 
We spent the whole day in the valley and had even more fun on the drive chatting. Thanks again Briggitte and Bryam for a wonderful weekend!


  1. Very Cool. Visited Majes with my wife and her family for lunch. I managed to take photos of all of our shrimp dishes as well. From your photos I think we ate at the same place.

  2. All these adventures! I'm a bit jealous!