My first trip in Peru: Paracas, Huacachina and Nazca
When I was in France, I was so fascinated by the idea of going to Peru that I was always looking in the Internet a lot of pictures and videos of places to go if I would be there. I was so amazed by the beautiful landscapes that I couldn’t imagine that one day I would be watching these in front of me. Luckily for me, the dream of coming to Peru came true through an exchange semester abroad.
During the welcome day (I wrote about it in the last article), my exchange University (Universidad del Pacifico) proposed the international students to travel together for the weekend to ICA, a Department south of Peru, around 6 hours away from Lima. I was first hesitating, because the trip seemed quite short, I had just arrived in Lima and I wanted to discover more about my new city-home.
I put both options in a balance, and then I realized that going outside of Lima in a group is a great opportunity to meet more people and what you should do with opportunities? We should definitively take them as much as we can, because most of the time they do reserve good surprises. So, I bought my tickets along with my two other flatmates. The whole trip costed 280 soles (85 dollars approx.) and lasted two days, including one night in a hostel. I definitely do not regret this investment.
Day 1: We took the bus around 4 am; tired and excited at the same time to be out of Lima. It was quite funny, because all the students looked like zombies trying to sleep.
Our first stop was Paracas which is a city that belongs to Ica Department. Paracas is a really beautiful coastline city, known for its beaches, its National Reserve, its islands and its small colorful fishing boats. I thought it was a really cute city and a nice place to drink a fresh juice while feeling the relaxing sea breeze on my skin.
What did we see in Paracas? We took a boat with music playing in the background and captained by an enthusiastic tour guide towards Islas Ballestas. On our way, we first saw a prehistoric geoglyph called “El Candelabro”with an extension of 170 meters and an unknown origin that has been magically painted in a sand hill.
While in the Ballestas Islands, we saw many birds and sea lions. Regarding the birds, it was quite a big challenge for me since I am scared of them (yes, even pigeons in the streets). But I am not scared of sea lions, so I could look at them really close. They were smelling a bit, but who cares! They were so “preciosos”.
After having theses activities in Islas Ballestas, we returned to our bus and we headed to Ica City, our second stop. In Ica, we went to a wine and pisco distillery company to try the local wine and pisco. Don’t worry you will not get drunk and you will be able to go back to the bus by yourself. We walk around the distillery, looking at the machines and the wood barrels while a charismatic woman was explaining how they were processing and making the wine and pisco. The last part of the guided tour was the funniest one: We tried the Wine and the Pisco (Pisco Sour), and I can say Pisco Sour was 10 out of 10.
After the wine and pisco tour, we went to Huacachina (within Ica city), a tiny village which is also called the “Oasis of America” and located in a desert, For me, Huacachina was the highlight of the day. In the afternoon, I and a group of student companions that were really cool and adventurous, went for the “buggie tour” which is going around with a car designed to be driven in a desert. This team of student companions added the exceptional touch to this experience. We were screaming and laughing while the buggy was bouncing in the middle of the dessert. The feelings and the adrenaline were just amazing. Then, we stopped with the buggies at 2 spots to do sandboarding. If you do sandboarding, I would advise you to lay down if you don’t have any experience at all with this sport or snowboarding which is more common for Europeans and Americans. This tip will help you to not end up sleeping in a hospital instead of your hostel.
For the ending afternoon, we spend it in the middle of the dessert watching the sunset. Everything was so quiet and peaceful.
We spend the night in Huacachina at a hostel called “Wild Rover”. I recommend this hostel if you want to party and meet people. The room was nice and they have a swimming pool where you can enjoy the sun with a cold beer.
The day after I was supposed to come back to Lima with the whole group, but for me and my new student companions (4 in total) from the buggies experience, it was not enough, WE WANTED MORE. So we decided to pay a visit to Nazca and its famous geoglyphs ancient lines since we were still in Ica. So Nazca, we went!
Stay tune for the next article as I will write more details about the Nazca lines trip, but for now let me give you some tips if you visit Nazca:
1)If you go directly from Lima to Nazca, don’t spend too much time in Nazca City, because unfortunately the city is polluted and feels like it is a bit creepy in my opinion. A reliable bus company that goes to Nazca is Cruz del Sur. The bus ticket is around 85 soles one way and the bus rides is around 7 hours.
2)Try to arrive in Nazca at the end of the afternoon and book a night at “La maison de Lydia” (around 17 US dollars the night). The service in this accommodation is just perfect and you can also book the flight for the Nazca’s lines directly with them (around 87 US dollars the plane) which we did.
This is my first experience out of Lima and I am impatient to discover more. The adventure awaits, read my next article and travel with me.