Thursday, 19 May 2011

Coast of Peru


Bone dry and baking hot Nazca doesn't have alot to offer, but we went to do a fly over of the famous (and mysterious) Nazca Lines. The town is literally in the desert. We were lucky that our hostel had a cold pool and shaded roof top patio, to escape the very hot weather (a real shock after being in the cooler climate of the highlands). We had a couple of great and cheap set meals, although the South American tendancy to serve rice and chips on the same plate is bizzare! On the second day we had an early morning flight. The plane was so small, it only held four of us and two pilots. The flight was really cool, it was about 40 minutes and we got to fly pretty close to the ground to see the lines, and circle each drawing twice. We saw ten of the drawings, sadly some were not as clear as we were expecting, but it didn't ruin the majestic beauty of them. The best were the condor and the hummingbird.

 The hummingbird (we really needed a better camera)

The Condor

Ica and Hucacachina

Short bus journey from Nazca to Ica, and a taxi to the desert oasis that is Huacachina. A small lake surrounded by guesthouses and palm trees, with sand dunes stretching up behind (its the place thats featured on the 50 sole notes and there is a reason for it!) Its a great place to chill out. On the first afternoon we went on a joint sandbuggy and sandboarding tour into the dunes. The sandbuggies seat nine includng the driver, Rick and I were lucky enough to be seated at the front. The driver drove so fast over, down and round the massive dunes. It was like a sand rollercoaster ride, so much fun. We stopped four times to sandboard, each dune higher or steeper then the last. We had opted to do the traditional boarding which you lie on the board for. The first was nerve racking, but the others were completely awesomme. Rick managed to deck it on the last, he got cocky and tried to go faster by closing his legs, result was a mouthful of sand! lol! We drove to the top of a dune to watch the sunset over the desert, a nice end to a great trip.

 The dunes

Looking down on Huacachina

The second day we went to a winery in Ica, with two Australian girls we met. Its the largest and oldest winery in Peru, 154 years old. It produces 9 varrieties of wine, and three different piscos. The tour was fairly short but really interesting. We got to try 6 of them, most were quite sweet which apparently Peruvians prefer, and the pisco was so strong...we left with slightly wobbly legs.

Outside the bodega

The third day we went on a tour to the Ballestas Islands (the poor mans Galapagos). The boat trip took about two hours. Sadly the weather wasn´t great. The rain had stopped by the time we got in the boat but it was fairly overcast. We got to see dolphins, sea lions, penguins, pelicans, and so many birds! It was pretty cool when the boat came away from the islands as many birds were flying out to sea, it felt like we were flying with them, as we sped alond side the black mass. That afternoon we hired sandboards and went boarding on our own. It wasn´t as much as the tour because walking back up the dunes, was bloody hard work! Hilarious when rick tried to go down standing up and totally wiped out, again!

 The bird filled islands

 The penguins

 The sealions

The birds in flight

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