15th June – 23rd June
After finishing the Salktantay Trek we spent a day or two in Cusco before travelling back to the coast and up to Lima. We left Cusco with the Peru Hop bus company, a new tour company taking tourists on a route from Cusco to Lima in Peru. The company is run by two Irish Guys. We bus stops off in major cities on route to Lima. The cool thing about the bus company is there is a tour guide on the bus with you who speaks English, there to tell you where to stay, eat and what tours to do in each city. The bus picks you up and drops you off at your hostel so you avoid those doggy bus stations and the taxi cost. Other good points is the bus is full of tourists, we met on the bus some friends we were travelling along with previously in Bolivia. The bus has English movies also which helps pass the time on some of the day time journeys.
So our first stop was the city Arequipa where we spent 5 nights. We booked a 2 day / 1 night tour of the Colca Canyon – a popular tourist attraction in Peru famous for the Andean Condors which fly above it. We saw many Condors on our first day there which was cool. The first morning we were up at really early at 3am to get a four hour bus out to the Canyon, that day we walked about 7 hours down into the Canyon. The views were good, very vast. The following morning we were up at 4.30am to trek up out of the Canyon before Sunrise. This was definately the highlight of the tour. The views in the morning were beautiful for the sunrise about 5.30am).
On the Friday we were back on the bus and headed to Huacahina. On route we stopped off at the Nazca lines. The Nazca lines are a series of ancient engravings in the desert rock. The lines are mainly visible by air; two lines are visible from a lookout point which we stopped at. There are many theories as to how the lines came about which was interesting to learn about.
The top photo is a tree and the below are crossed hands.
We arrived at Huacahina on Friday night. It is a popular party town so we went out for the evening with the crowd from the bus. The hostel had a pool, bar and nightclub so we did not have to go far. The next day we did a Pisco wine tour, as the area is famous for Pisco. We did a good few shots, it is pretty strong, we learned how best to drink it so the taste did not cause a burn to the throat. In the afternoon we went Sand boarding. I didn´t go as wasn´t feeling the best. Paddy really enjoyed the experience. There are huge sand dunes surrounding the town, it was an impressive place. I relaxed by the pool for the afternoon.
That evening, we travelling onto Paracas and stayed one night. The following morning we went out on a boat to view some national wildlife off the coast. We saw some sea lions, lots of birds and penguins! That afternoon we went to the Paracas national park and bay area. The views were great.
Later that afternoon we stopped off at a small village called El Carmen where we visited Hacienda San Joe one of the oldest and richest houses in the whole of Peru. We took a tour of their underground tunnels that were used 300 years ago to help bring slaves from Africa from the port to the Hacienda illegally. Slavery was abolished in Peru in 1854 however up until then this was common practice. We have since been to Colombia where we have learned about the slavery which occurred in Cartagena, so it was widespread.
The grounds were beautiful!
That evening we arrived in Lima and at our hostel. We spent two nights in Lima. We did a city walking tour which took us by bus to the downtown region. We stayed in an area called Miraflores, a very safe part of Lima which had many security guards at most corners on patrol in the city. We ended the Peru hop tour in Lima, the owner Will met us in Lima and give us some tips on what to do and see in the area. It was really enjoyable and nice we didn´t have to plan what to do and see!