The first thing I noticed was that I was back in the heat, as the couch journey had been a gradual decent to an altitude closer to sea level
. I was loving being able to wear my shorts again and being able to breath without trouble is always a plus. I checked into a hostel that was right next to the oasis and didn“t waste anytime in booking a sand boarding/dune buggying trip for the next day. It cost 35 soles which works out to about £8.75 and this had to be the best £8.75 I“ve spent in my life. The tours all set off from the oasis around 4 in the afternoon, when the heat of the sun is a bit less punishing. The dune buggies themselves are petrol-drinking mechanical monsters and the open desert is their playground. The noise of the roaring engines of several buggies waiting to leave is slightly scary as is the speed in which the drivers tear across the open sand. Even more frightening, but uber thrilling, is the way the drivers negotiate the swooping dunes. I can only compare this experience with being on a roller coaster without the comfort of the knowledge that you are attached to rails and with the added kick of not knowing what is beyond or how steep the next dune is. The drivers stopped around 4 times on the occasional huge dune, handed out sand boards and pushed us over the edge. This was also amazing purely down to the speed you accumulated, sliding over sand inches away from your face. The accompanying factor that topped it all of was the view, miles and miles of open dune-filled desert with the city of Ica in the background. The drivers concluded the tour around half past 6 by driving to a particularly high dune to watch the sun set over the desert and we then returned home
On my last day I shared a taxi and a bus ride with two Dutch guys, Robert and Viktor, who happened to be going to Lima (where I needed to catch my flight to Bogota from) at the same time as me. These guys turned out to be really cool and laid back and I ended spending the next three days with them in Lima. We had endless jokes, we spoke of each other's cities, I told them of my experiences in Amsterdam and they told me about their experience with a website called couchsurfing.com. They told me how it was a cool website as you could stay on people's couches for free but also the host offered to show you around their city and it just so happened that somebody called our hostel that night asking to speak to Viktor. Viktor returned, with a smile on his face explaining how a guy just called and offered to show us around and take us to a bar that had happy hour all night. On paper the offer sounded great, but on the way to meet them I asked Viktor: "So who is this guy? Did you check out his profile on couchsurfing.com?" Viktor told me there was no need and how this is what people on couchsurfing do, it's legit etc etc. It turned out that the guys we met were two gay guys who fancied the looks of the two Dutch guys and wanted to take them out for a night on the town! I did not stop teasing Robert and Viktor for the remainder of my stay and when leaving Lima I advised them to ease off of the c***surfing.com website.
My three day stay in Colombia was way too short, not allowing for enough time to leave the city of Bogota. However my stay was made pretty memorable by some Colombians who took me to a club and then to a slightly shady after party where I got a good taste of Colombian hospitality and nightlife. I was able to visit the Fernando Botero museum in Bogota, a Colombian still-life figure painter with an unmistakable style. The museum was good because not only did it feature his work and some of his sculptures but there were also pieces from the likes of Picasso, Monet and Renior. I also messaged Sham and found that he was staying in a hostel very near to mine so I paid him a visit and we had a night out with some Brits who were also travelling. Before I knew it I was on a plane to Mexico City...
After a partial recovery from my Machu Picchu trip I realised I only had a few days left in Peru before I had to make it to Lima for my flight to Colombia. There was one place I wanted to visit in Peru since before I even started my trip and luck would have it that the bus from Cusco to Lima actually passes through the town with this tourist attraction. The attraction in question is an oasis in the middle of the desert called Huacachina. A lot of people I spoke with told me that they had been but I should not spend too much time there as there is not too much to do there apart from sand boarding, dune buggying and actually viewing the Oasis itself which I later found out takes less than ten minutes. I booked an overnight coach (always opting for overnight, as it saves on a night“s accommodation) and 16 hours later I arrived in the town of Ica, haggled a couple soles off the taxi and reached the desert oasis.