A Travellerspoint blog

Day 25: Thursday 30th July - Paracas to Huacachina to Nazca

Quadbiking, Wine, Pisco, Sandboarding, Swimming and a great feed

sunny 28 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

Today we got up early as we had a long day ahead. Went across the road and had a decent feed at this really fancy hotel that was the sister hotel to where we were staying, hence being able to have breakfast there.
After breakfast, about 10 of us went quad biking through sand dunes to a place called Red Beach. Aptly named, as the beach had rich red sand, it was soooo gorgeous and such an awesome view. I took a few amazing panoramic photos around here.
After quad biking it was time to get on our bus to Nazca, however we had a few stops to make on the way.
Our first stop was the Pisco winery in Ica, where they produce Peru famous liquor which becomes their most famous drink, 'Pisco Sour'. Pisco is also made from grapes, like wine, but lots of different types of grapes can be found in 1 bottle. It is quite a long process. There are 4 main types of pisco that they make at the winery, our guide gave them all nick names; Strip Tease, Baby Maker, Panty Dropper and Perfect Love. After our tour we got to taste test some different sorts of Pisco and some wine they make. All very tasty some very strong. The Pisco the produce is all around 42% alcohol. The guide also had two more names the bottles we tested; My Ex - girlfriend (baby maker) - no flavour, and My Girlfriend (Perfect Love) - full of flavour made with lots of different grapes.
We left the winery and drove another hour to everyones favorite part of the day; Sandboarding and dune bugying in Huacachina. Was soooooo much fun! As soon as we got to the hotel, we had some lunch, then our dune buggies were ready waiting. We had 8 in each buggy (Aline and Vanessa stayed behind).
Our driver took us straight out and up some high sand dunes and dropped down really fast. It was like being on a roller coaster, but slightly more fun. He kept driving up and down really fast like a crazy person, until he stopped at the top of a dune where we got our boards out and waxed them up, ready to fly down the otherside. We did this 4 times. The first one was about 20m high, second was about 30m, third was 60m. The last one was the scariest and I took a bit of convincing to go over the edge. It was around 120m high. Was such an adrenaline rush, glad I did it. Callum flew down the last one, and kept going for ages as well.
After our sandboarding and dune bugying we went back to the hotel (our temporary hotel while we were in Huacachina). There we all changed into our togs and jumped into the swimming pool for half an hour. It was reasonably cold, but not too bad. We had a few cold drinks and the boys had some beers.
By this time it was about 5pm and time to make our way to Nazca, which was about another 2 hour drive.
We arrived at Nazca at around 7pm. As we were staying out in the waps of Nazca, our driver stopped in town so we could get some dinner. We went to this nice little pizza place that made the yummiest homemade pizza. We stressed the poor man out that own the place though. I don't think he was used to that many pizzas. They also had some really bad/funny Peruvian/South American Idol on tv which kept us entertained while we waited ages for our pizza. They were worth the wait.
Then we finally drove the last 10 minutes to our hotel. We took this really dodgy dirt road to the middle of nowhere, then we get to our hotel and it looks like something out of a horror movie and we were the only group staying there that night. It was super creepy. It had been such a long day and everyone was knackered, so we all just went straight to bed.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 24: Wednesday 29th July - Lima, Peru to Paracas, Peru

sunny 20 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

Today we got up and had breakfast then Ben, Clare, Callum and I went for a bit of a walk around the waterfront. Then we packed our bags again ready for our 'short' bus to Parracas at Midday. Only 4 hours.
We arrived at Parracas around 4.30pm. We unpacked and settled in a little. Didn't need any showers this time as it was only a short bus ride. So we decided to just go out for a drink. Marco recommended a hostel that had a bar and happy hour just around the corner from our hotel. We also messaged Harold as his home town is Parracas, and he was now off duty.
So we went to the hostel thinking we'd go out for some dinner somewhere else, but then we got very comfortable and couldn't be bothered moving. This place had very yummy pastas and hamburgers, so we just stayed put, ate, drank and played pool. Harold also came and joined us with some of his friends. It was cool seeing him in his casual setting.
We stayed at the bar until about 11pm which felt very late, as we'd been there since 5pm. Then we just all head to bed as we had a big day planned for tomorrow.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 23: Tuesday 28th July, Lima, Peru

sunny 20 °C

This morning we got up and had some yummy breakfast in the hotel (which was included), it was just continental, bread, jam, juice, coffee etc. However you could order eggs for 5 soles more (about $2.50). That was the same for most hotels we have been in, continental with eggs separate, at varying prices.
We had to wait for a table for a bit as there was another G Adventures group having breakfast. While we were waiting, we noticed a guy sitting by himself and asked if he happened to be on our next tour (Lima to La Paz). He was. He was going to come talk us sooner however we were a very tight looking group and didn't want to interrupt. So we invited him to have breakfast with us. Ben is his name. 27 years old, been in the English Airforce for the past 7 years. Just left to go to Medical School, which is all paid for due to his dedication the the military. Cool guy, lots of crazy stories.
After breakfast our old group and Ben decided to catch some taxis into the city, as today was indepence day. It was a little nuts!! People everywhere. The taxi driver had to stop 3 blocks from the centre city as it was blocked off due street parades and celebrations. As per usual every taxi went on a little ticky tour, and wanted to beat the other, so we made a plan to meet in the Plaza de Armas. Once we found each other again, we went for a bit of a walk around look at the markets etc. Then went back to the Plaza where the presidential speech was happening. It was very long, however apparently is was the shortest speech in history. His speech can sometimes take upto 2 and a half hours. The street infront of the parliamentary house was roped off. When the speech was finished the parade started. All of the police, military, fireman and other servicemen and women, lots other important people and horses, then came all of the dignitaries including the President of Peru. We were right at the front of the rope, about 2 metres away from him, when people started going crazy. One older lady cried because the President just accepted her flowers. Once all the important people were in formation outside the parliamentary house they started letting the general public in. Then there was a stampede. We decided this was good time to get food.
Somehow I think we found the only vegetarian place in Peru, everyone couldn't be bothered walking so we stayed there. It wasn't the best food but it was a 3 course set menu for 16 Soles ($8) so pretty cheap. We got used to paying next to nothing for our food, as we move from city to city we are getting closer to normal NZ prices for food, we are now finding it expensive.
After lunch we caught taxis back to the hotel then chilled out for the rest of the day until our meeting with our new group and CEO, Marco.
Group meeting was at 7pm again to discuss the trip from Lima to La Paz, second leg of the trip.
We lost 10 people from our last trip. Some of which are now my very good friends. Izzy from Portugal/Austria, Vero/Germany and Little Julia from Austria, and a few others.
Everyone on this trip is going to La Paz (18), 12 continue to Buenos Aires, then 8 go to Rio as mentioned before new people will join us on each section. The new people seem pretty cool, will be hard coming into such a tight group though. They range from 19-30. The 10 new people are 2 aussie guys, Cal and Josh - 21, an aussie girl, Nim - 30, very cool life story, Jonas and Luisa 18 from germany (just broke up 6 months ago, but had already booked their trip). Reisha and Desmond from America, most chilled couple. Desmond also just quit the American army. Reisha is a Lawyer, it is also her 30th birthday in Salta on the 3rd leg of or tour. They are taking a year off and are heading to NZ and Aus after SA.
There also 2 English sisters Izzy and Emily. Izzy did her degree and Spanish and Portuguese so is very handy to have around; and she is a lovely person. Emily spent her last year working abroad in France as part of her degree. And of course Ben (English) who we meet earlier in the day . Our tour guide Marco, has only been working for G Adventures for 1 year, this is his 5th tour. He can speak reasonably good english. He's 33 and is from Puno, Peru.
After our meeting, a few of us from the first trip and Ben went to the supermarket and got a roast chicken chips and salads and meet the rest of our old group in the restaurant area and had our last meal together. Very tasty but sad to say goodbye :-(.
After dinner we had a few drinks with the old group and the new group in the communal area in the hotel. Then we went out to the bar for a few drinks, before heading to bed.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 22: Monday 27th July, Lima, Peru - Last day of tour

sunny 20 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

We got to our hotel in Baranco reasonably early, around 8/9am, breakfast was still going so we had a bit of breaky then went and had a nap for a few hours, as not many of us slept again. At around 12.30 Harold had organised with his sister to make us a traditional Peruvian lunch.
Side Note: Harold is from Paracas however his mum had just been in hospital in Lima to have an operation and it was her birthday today, so all of Harolds family had come to Lima for a family celebration.
The meal was really nice, chicken breast cooked in a special green Peruvian sauce and rice. After Harold went to his family lunch and rest of us just chilled out and went for a little walk around Baranco, Lima.
Lima is a massive city. 10 million people live here. It is the capital of Peru. So you would have to spend quite a few days here to see it all. You can surf here aswell but it is alot colder.
We got together just before dinner time and discussed what we should do for Harold as a parting gift, as it is suggested you give your guides a tip. So everyone put in 20 Soles each and we went out and got the ingredients to make his favourite cocktail; the alcohol, mixer and a couple of limes. We also found this cool fruit cake that was in the shape of a love heart and said 'I love Peru' on it. Then we got 3 group photos printed off and I made a little card and everyone signed it. Was such a cool gift, the most he has ever been given apparently.
When Harold came back in the evening he took us all out for a nice dinner. This placed served 1/4, 1/2 or whole roast chicken with a plate of salad and a plate of fries and you could share. Me, Callum, Ina and Jack shared a whole chicken. It was sooooo good.
After dinner we went back to the hotel and gave Harold our gifts. He was so surprised and happy, he said a very nice heart felt speech, also said we were sincerely the best group he has ever had. He said 'we've had regular dogs and regular toilets and regular boys that fall in love in 6 days (Jack)' it was very funny. Harold wanted to take us to the light show, we took 4 separate taxis out there but it was closed for maintenance. Our taxi driver was a little crazy and decided to take all of the side roads so we had lost everyone else. We then realised on the way that if we got lost we had no phone and forgot to grab the address of our hotel, so couldn't contact Harold or get back home. Luckily it all worked out ok, just wasted 24 soles getting to the light show and back again. The drive through Lima city was pretty cool though at night time, as all of the lights were on. It is quite different to everywhere else we have been, as it was a developed big city and was more advanced. Everywhere else we have been is all unfinished houses and very poor looking, lots abandoned building, before or after completion.
After our little ticky tour, we went out to a local bar for a few drinks. Everyone was out as holidays have just started for Peru Independence Day tomorrow. Harold got us a round of free drinks, then we went upstairs and chilled out as it was our final night together.
I went up to the bar order another drinks but my spanish still isn't the best. I said 'Jack Daniels y Coca, por favor' he said 'Que/What?', I said 'Jack Daniels'', he said 'Ah si' then dissappeared downstairs with my money. He finally came back after 10 minutes with tequenos (kinda like fried wontons with cheese inside and a side of guacamole). Got my spanish speaking friend to help me, but the bar just said it was my fault. They were yummy anyway, and its a funny story. Callum went and got his own drink after that.
After a good night of drinks and dancing we went and got some sleep.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Day 21: Sunday 26th July, Huanchaco to Lima, Peru -Night Bus

semi-overcast 19 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

Callum woke up this morning with the fever I had the day before, Julia (Izzy's friend) also woke up with bronchitis, so Harold went out to the pharmacy again and got two sets of different magic pills. He seemed to know every type of pill to solve all problems. So we didn't do much in the morning, I did some writing while Callum slept.
Tonight is also our next night bus luckily Harold decided to hold 2 rooms till we left at 8pm, ours and his, which meant Callum could stay asleep longer.
When Callum woke up about 1ish he was starving, so about 10 of us went to back to 'My Friend' restaurant that we went to when we arrived in Huanchaco. I had the yummiest omelete. Then we went back to Chocolate Cafe for more cake but they had none left so I had a Banana split and Callum had chocolate fudge which he'd been eyeing up since yesterday.
In the afternoon we went to visit a pre Incan Chimu site called Chan Chan. It was very interesting, huge site made of mud bricks. We got a guide to take us around. He was very knowledgeable. The city had allsorts of different size spaces and area for different purposes. The big open spaces were for celebrations and the smallers spaces were for smaller functions. The smaller the rooms the more important the people. Then centre of the city was the tomb of the King. Next to him were the graves of 42 of his parliament etc. as he needed them to rule the afterlife (which was their beliefs). So, went the king died everyone was sacrificed also. The Money the King had over his time was not left behind for the new king either, they believed that he also required this to rule the afterlife and that the new king had to find new lands to rule over in order to bring in new income.
After our trip to Chan Chan we went back to the city for a little dinner before catching the night bus. The bus was meant to have full meal for us however we just got given a small roll with a piece of ham and cheese (not very nice) and a juice. Apparently that was the kids menu and not what we were supposed to get. Luckily we ate first and got some snacks.

Posted by Maraka Saunders 17:00 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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