A Travellerspoint blog

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.

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Day 20: Saturday 25th July - Huanchaco, Peru

semi-overcast 19 °C

When we got to Huanchaco at around 8am, Harold noticed noone had really slept, so when we got to the hotel he gave us all of our rooms, then told us meet him downstairs for lunch in 3 hours. So I went upstairs changed out of my sweaty clothes, had another magic pill, and went straight to bed.
Woke up 3 hours later feeling amazing, fever felt like it had gone, and Callum was also well rested. Harold took us to this really yummy place for lunch. Had another set menu and tried our first Purple Corn Juice (Chica Morada). It was a little bitter, a bit of sugar it would have been better.
We then did a bit of an orientation walk around Huanchaco. Harold told a bit of history, as it is a fishing town. Lots of cool fishing boats, which he explained how they were made. He also showed us the activities we could do. The weather wasn't overly great while we were there, so me and Callum's trip to Huanchaco kind of just ended up being just an eating visit. They had lots of very yummy restaurants.
In South Amercia they seem to love to eat. Every street there is a food place almost every shop you pass, with the odd outdoor adventure/tourism shop in between, and then the other side of the street will be markets, tourist shops (mainly clothes, keyring, little alpacas etc) and dairies. The restaurants aren't like New Zealand they don't have door or windows or front walls at all, they just have entrances off the street. The food is so good everywhere. You just have to pick the places to go that don't shout out 'food poisoning'. For example, if you go to the markets there are lots of places that dont have fridges so you see the chickens just sitting on the bench. And alot of the don't wash their hands, and they don't use tongs or spoons very often, all the food is personally handled.
After the orientation some people went surfing/lessons, mainly Izzy, a bunch of us went for a bit of a walk to find the market and got lost. But it was fun, you always find new things when you get lost.
Then we all went to this amazing little cafe 'Chocolate Cafe' run by some Swiss ladys. They served the most delicious smoothies and homemade cake. I had apple and cinnamon pie with cream and a banana smoothie.
We just chilled out for the afternoon, then a bunch of us went out for a BBQ meal which was delicious. Callum had bbq chicken and I just had salad and fries, which actually wasn't as basic as it sounds. The salads in South America are all massive and always come with avocado.
After dinner Harold took us out to a bar for a few drinks. We some pisco sours, maracuya sours (passionfruit), and whiskey for Callum and Jack. Then we were invited to joined some people at the international surfing competition after party, which was pretty cool. We were all pretty tired though so went to bed reasonably early.

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Day 19: Friday 24th July Mancora, Peru to Huanchaco, Peru

sunny 26 °C

Today everyone was very fragile except Izzy and I as we didn't drink a whole lot, we were super tired though. So most people slept in until 9 or so (late for tour) except for Jack and Germany (who got up for romantic early morning swim), and Izzy had already swam and was sunbathing before 9am, waiting for early 10.30am surfing lesson. (Machine that woman is). Jack, Germany, Little Julia, Callum and I decided it was time for some breakfast. We found this really cute little french owned restaurant, just on the otherside of the road and down a little from our hotel. We all got some very large omelets and juice smoothies or yummy banana milkshakes. After breakfast we just had to check out of our rooms by 12pm then the rest of the day was free.
We weren't leaving till 10pm on our first of many night buses, so Harrold paid extra to keep his room and we all put our bags in there, and had showers etc during the day. We all didn't do much during the day because everyone was fragile. We went between the beach and the hamaks, swimming and sleeping, Jack got a few great photos of us all passed out in the hamaks. Callum and I did a bit of a walk down the street and did a bit of shopping. I got a couple of really nice necklaces, one of which the guy was making similar ones while we were there looking.
After our chilled free day, Harold took out to a BBQ restaurant for dinner. Callum had a really yummy looking bbq chicken with rice, fries and salad. I had a yummy vegetarian meal, however I only ate a little bit of it as I was starting to get a fever. :-(
After dinner everyone went out and got snacks, water etc for the long bus ride ahead, I went straight back to the hamaks and slept. Izzy came back and insisted on checking temperature, as she had just had a fever a few days before, I was 40 °C, very hot. Yay! Just in time for our first of many overnight buses.
Time to leave Mancora came, as 5 Tuk Tuks came to pick us up and take us to our overnight bus, nice and breezy. When we got there Harold ran across to the pharmacy and picked me up a packet of magic pills. (They really were magic). We checked in and got on our first 2 story bus.
When we got on the bus they had just started playing the Hobbit, but I was sooo tired that I felt straight to sleep in the fully reclinable chairs. The bus also had toilets and food service. It kind of felt like an airplane. Turned out to be not so comfy however, unless you were Little Britian or Princess's size. Hardly anyone slept, especially the tall males, including Callum. I kept waking up all through the night in full sweats, then hot, then cold.

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Day 18: Wednesday 23rd July - Mancora, Peru

Turtles and Party, Party, Party

sunny 26 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

This morning a bunch of us got us early to go swimming with turtles (tortugas). It cost 50 soles each (about $25 NZ) and was a 40 minute bus ride. Wasn't really what we were expecting but was still pretty cool. So, we got there and they gave us life jackets, which didn't really fit, kept hitting me in the face. Callum's was too big then too small, so he wore it into the water then took it off; which most people also did. The water was very murky/dirty and cold. We swam with turtles for about 30 mins which was pretty cool as there were lots of big turtles. Got a bit of a freight a few times as they would slide over your feet without you noticing. After our swim, our tour guide, Gabriel, took us to a restaurant so we could eat and played some volleyball on the beach. The place was very expensive, so we just got drinks and fries. Izzy and Jo were sick and shattered, so they just slept on the beach the whole time.
Stayed there for an hour and a half, then went back to the hotel, for showers and a quick nap. At 2pm we had to go get our entrance bracelets so we could get into Loki Hostel party which started at 6.30pm. We just chilled out for the afternoon, did some lounging on the beach etc, as we had a big evening planned.
We were all going to go out for dinner at 7.30pm, so Jack, Callum and I had a bit a catch up chat our room and got our pre drinks ready, went down to meet everyone and no-one turned up. Turns they left for dinner earlier and didn't tell anyone. We ended up having a really nice cheese and ham toasted sandwich at the hotel in the hammocks with a few pre drinks, and tried to remember we were in holiday. ;-P. When they all came back we sat around the sofas and had a few drinks until 11pm then head down to the Loki party.
The Loki party was a great night! Wasn't as many people there as we were expecting, and the ones that were, were all just sitting around while one person sung terrible Karaoke. So we basically brought the party because after that everyone was up dancing and singing (I did a bit of salsa). The highlight of the night was when Jack, Callum and Papa Jo (Austrian - everyone's dad on the trip, as he had a 5 year old back at home) got up on the table and sung wonderwall at the top of their drunken voices. (See video on facebook). The best part was when everyone from our tour joined them on the table, until it could fit anyone else. Pops decided no-one else could sing as well as him so kept getting up on the table to help. 'Our son' Jack finally got his girl, Veronika (Nickname: Germany - only german on the tour). He'd fallen head over heals for her and been finding the right moment. Was very cute to see them finally get together.
Great night all round! Most people got home a 2 or 3, some people went to the beach party afterwards and got home at 4 or 5.

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Day 17: Wednesday 22nd July - Cuenca to Mancora, Peru

Another long bus ride to the Palms Springs of Peru

sunny 24 °C
View South America Extravaganza on Maraka Saunders's travel map.

This morning we got up, had a quick breakfast before getting on the bus to Mancora. The bus ride was in 2 parts. 6 hours to just before the border. Then a different bus that took us another 10 minutes to the border then another 2.5 hours onto Mancora.
Border crossing a new experience, however much easier than I expected. We basically had to 'check out' or depart Ecuador, and 'sign in' or arrive into Peru. We were in no man's land for a while there.
Our bus arrive into Mancora (favourite place so far) at around 4.30pm. We checked into our hotel (very nice hotel) then lay on the beach for the afternoon (which was on our back doorstep). This was our biggest hotel room so far. A bed was big enough to fit 5 people on it, and we also had an extra single bed as well. Our room was on the second floor, the view off the balcony was amazing; the beach.
We watched the sunset on the waves and then went out for a Peruvian dinner. I actually ended up having the only meal on the menu that was not Peruvian, but was amazing. It was basically a carbonara. Callum had the set menu.
So a little fact; most/all restaurants around Ecuador and Peru do set menus. This normally means an entrée, salad or soup and a main meal, which is usually a stir fry with veggies, rice dish or noodles. And then beef, fish, seafood, chicken, pork and vegetarian. In the seaside towns like Mancora they do an entrée called ceviche, which is raw fish served with lime and a side salad (kind of like sushimi).
After our yummy dinner we had a little stroll round town. Mancora had more of a village feel, it wasn't really small, was just long street that felt quite homely. By far my favourite place so far on our trip. We all stopped and had a drink in one of the pumping bars on the beach. Tried first Pisco Sour, which is a local liquor made from grapes, with lemon, sugar and an egg white. After 1 quick drink each we all head home as everyone was quite wiped from the day of buses so we all went to bed.

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