The three of us (me, Jodi and Phil) left Cusco a week ago Tuesday, on what we thought would be a peaceful bus ride to Huacachina. Instead, we really had bought ourselves a 14 hour fun park ride, complete with stomach dropping twists and jerky turns that literally hurl you against the window. It wasn’t as bad as the bus ride from hell in Bolivia, but it was certainly close.
Battered and bruised, we arrived in Huacachina. Huacachina is a small oasis town outside the city of Ica, in Peru, which consists of a few restaurants, “bars” (which also moonlight as mini-marts and sand-board rental offices) and a few hostels. The other notable thing is the wet oasis in the center, which you can see in the header photo above.
And that’s it. Sand, small town, small water hole, sand.
Despite being tiny, we loved it and it was just what we needed for a few days of sport and relaxation. Upon our arrival, we reunited with some of our favorite people: Daniel — those of you who follow the blog regularly all know by now that we met him in Calama, Chile and traveled through Bolivia with him — and Luke & Woody, 2 British guys we met in San Pedro de Atacama on the way to the Salar de Uyuni.
Our few days in Huacachina were quite restful, filled with much sunbathing at the pool (hat for Jodi, no hat for me), and of course, eating and drinking. One of our best nights was spent at a local restaurant, Hospedaje del Barco, where me, Jodi, Phil, Luke and Woody took down Jenga and showed it who’s boss.
The 5 of us had spent quite a bit of time together yet we were all shocked the find out that each of the others were also International Jenga Masters. You really do learn something new every day.
Our last full day in Huacachina was last Saturday, where we spent the morning taking a boat trip out to Paracas National Nature Reserve and Isla Balletas, where we spotted some penguins and sea lions, and an afternoon trip on a sandbuggy through the sand dunes to do some sand boarding.
The trip to get to the sand boarding was, by far, the most entertaining part. As our luck would have it, instead of a drunk driver, we had 2 drunk Peruvian girls sitting shotgun with our driver. They were so drunk, that when one went sand boarding down the dunes, the other girl crashed right into her. Quite the scene. Our driver rocked and definitely defied gravity with some of his maneuvers through the dunes. A little bit like our bus ride actually, but this time expected.
At this point, Jodi and I decided that we may as well hit another country we never planned to visit, and decided to head to Ecuador with Phil and see if we can catch an affordable boat out to the Galapagos. So up the coast of Peru we went, taking a 4 hour bus ride from Huacachina to Lima, transferring buses and terminals and catching a 17 hour bus to Mancora. Mancora is a beach town in the Piura region of Peru, up in the northwest corner with beautiful turquoise pacific ocean views and gorgeous sunsets.
Our time here has also been quite restful…. lazy days at the beach, followed by beautiful sunsets and delicious dinners. Tonight we are off to watch the Copa Libertadores soccer match, and then head to bed early for our 8 hour bus ride tomorrow to Guayaquil, Ecuador, over what is touted as the “worst border crossing in South America”.
Should be yet another interesting bus trip for us!