Week 1: Lima & Huacachina, Peru
Trip Start Mar 31, 2014
21Trip End Sep 18, 2014
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The first week of our trip has come to an end, as we depart Peru (at least for a week or so) and head to Ecuador.
It began with a very long and tiring trip from Sydney to Lima via Santiago (Chile). Our 12 hour flight into Santiago was followed by an 10 or so hour stopover in the airport, followed by a 4 hour flight to Lima. We were absolutely wrecked as we had minimal sleep and plenty of boredom. Our time in the ordinary Qantas lounge in Santiago was made a little more exciting though as we saw Lorde (Kiwi singer) there, and several other bands on their way to a music festival in Buenos Aires, however we have since been kicking ourselves that we didn't get a photo with her.
Our first few days in Lima were spent trying to get used to this hectic city. With around 10 million people living here, no metro system, and buses suited only to locals, the roads were filled with crazy drivers and even crazier taxi's. There seems to be very little care for the road rules...constantly pushing in, clogging up intersections and using their horns! Super cheap though and plenty around!
We found there wasn't loads to do here, but we walked around a couple of the major districts, visited one of their best museums in Peru apparently (although we'd had enough about halfway through), and took an evening bus tour which included entry to their renowned 'water park', which unfortunately isn't like wet n wild, but is actually multiple water fountains illuminated with coloured lights and laser shows. Still impressive though.
After 3 full days in Lima we took the bus 4 hours south to Huacachina, which is an oasis in the middle of the desert, surrounded by huge sand dunes. Very picturesque, but very small and reliant on tourism and hence we were hassled left, right and centre. There also isn't much to do there except sand boarding and dune buggy rides, so we almost immediately realised the 3 nights we had booked were far too much and decided to head back to Lima a day earlier
When we did go sand boarding and on the dune buggy rides it was pretty awesome! A beautiful evening, great sunset, and plenty of dunes to ride and sand board down! No injuries to report, but some great photos.
The rest of our time in Huacachina seemed to be spent relaxing and drinking cervezas (beers) and pisco sours at the Desert Sun Hostel, overlooking the oasis. By the end of it we felt like locals with some of the staff.
We caught the bus back to Lima yesterday for one last day here before flying out to Quito, Ecuador (we are waiting for our flight as I write). This was quite a chilled day, walking around the Barranco district and throughout Miraflores, before cabbing it to the airport.
We've tried to experience some more traditional Peruvian food, such as ceviche (fish marinated in lemon juice), pisco sours (drink) and several other dishes, but haven't yet tasted guinea pig...perhaps we'll save that for when we're back late next week. Almost every dish though seems to be served with potato fries or rice, so we've had more than enough of both
So far we've settled in fine. We were a bit unsure of Lima at the start but have come around to enjoy it, preferring to come back for another day rather than spending it in Huacachina. The long distance buses are fantastic - very comfy, smooth, some with WiFi, etc. Our Spanish is slowly coming along, although 'no hablo espanol' (I don't speak Spanish) has been used multiple times when they have spoken Spanish to us at their ultra fast speeds. And although our first week has been rocked by earthquakes and volcanos in South America, none have directly impacted us thankfully. Hopefully though when we reach Quito or Banos in Ecuador we may be able to see the volcano from a distance.
We look forward to telling you about our Galápagos Islands trip next week, but in the meantime, Adios!
Mitch & Sally