Huacachina, Paracas and Lima

I haven’t blogged in forever – internet connection has been pretty dreadful! Anyway, last I left you we were in Arequipa getting ready to take our trip to Lima. This blog will be the story of that trip.

We got up at 3.30am to get our bus – and luckily managed to sleep on the bus. A slightly grotty breakfast and an even grottier lunch later (Peru isn’t much for roadside cafes) we went to Nazca. Michael had been before and I didn’t want to do the flight as I hate planes, so it wasn’t terribly impressive from the viewing tower. It was a bit of a let down. But anyway. The rest of the trip more than made up for it.

We stopped in Huachachina for the night. Didn’t have a terribly pleasant sleep, as there was a mosquito in the room eating me alive, but it’s a really cool place. Basically it’s a town built around a natural oasis in the desert. It’s really tiny and everything centres around the lake in the middle. The following day we went on a visit to a pisco vineyard (pisco is Peruvian brandy) and got quite tipsy on their generous samples.

In the afternoon we went sandboarding. This was AMAZING. We drove up and down crazy big dunes in a dune buggy – then went up high and body boarded down them – like surfing, but lying down. You could have done it standing or sitting too, but lying down looked way more fun. And faster. We were in a group of about 10 people – some chickened out before the end and didn’t do the biggest dunes, but Michael and I did them all. Luckily the people who didn’t finish could take photos of us! You do end up with sand everywhere for days afterwards, of course.

That evening, we continued on to Paracas. No mosquitoes here thankfully. Spent the night and left super early the next morning to take a boat around the Ballestas Islands. These are known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” as they have many of the same species. We saw hundreds and thousands of birds, loads of sea lions and a few dolphins too. We are going to the Galapagos too, but it was definitely good preparation! After that we took a visit to the national park, looked down cliffs and saw how the 2007 earthquake had changed the landscape.

Lima was our next stop. I really liked Lima. I know it was largely cos we were staying in a rich area, but it seemed really modern – apart from the terrifying buses. We ate amazing sea food, visited Inca ruins in the city, wandered around the old town and went to see the fountain show, which was amazing! There are 10 or 12 fountains in the park. The middle one has a proper light show with music and so on, then the rest are themed and you can run through them or play in them – one is a maze and you get soaked (which we didn’t do!), one is a bridge… they’re all just really cool. I loved that place. They also had a live nativity and I got my photo taken with Mary and Joseph. :D

We had to leave Lima too soon, and fly to Quito in Ecuador. They nearly didn’t let us on the plane because we don’t have tickets OUT of Ecuador, but after a lot of conferring they finally accepted out tickets out of Colombia proof that we weren’t going to stay illegally and let us on the plane! Which was very very lucky, as that was where we planned to spend Christmas… And that’s for the next blog!

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