Moving down the coast!
Paracas Travel Blog› entry 13 of 23 › view all entries
Bag arrived just in the nick of time as we checked out of our hotel - shower, fresh clothes and 1/2 hour late for our meeting with local travel agent. but first - funny breakfast story!
As we walked into the breakfast room (at our very flash Lima hotel) Dave had a slightly 'uncomfortable' momento... sitting at the tables were very well presented business people, all set for offical business on a monday morning! Meanwhile, he was looking rather scruffy given that he had the same clothes on that he left NZ in 4 days previously, unshaven, and unshowered waiting for the bag to arrive. He commented that ... "I feel like I don't belong in my own environment'... lol - a great way to get away from work and really get into holiday mode, no longer a business man... The look on his face - PRICELESS!!
So, we arrived to meet Pocha, our local travel consultant. A moment of reflection as we worked out weather to trust a stranger. She was a whizz - almost too good to be true. Put together an action packed itinery in 5 minutes. She reassured us she had been helping tourists since 1981 and knew the best people. She asked for the cash and said she would be back in 30 minutes with all the tickets, including our overnight bus to Nasca to Arequipa. The one thing we had agreed prior to leaving NZ was that we wounld, under no circumstances take the night bus. It was too dangerous - we had researched well and knew the stories of armed holdups and robberies. But this confident stranger reassured us and the Hotel Kamana in Lima gave their guarantee. So again - the question - "do we trust a stranger in a new country?" She was either a great find or a very good operator??? So we handed over the cash (a lot) and rushed to the bus station with minutes to spare and assurance that at every point there would be someone to meet us, with a named board, and transfer to our hostel.
Onto the first bus and arrival in Paracas - 5 hours down the coast. No bus terminal, a dusty spot on the side of the road in a small fishing village. No man with a sign. Every other passenger stayed on the bus to go to the next town. Oh no... then from the crowd ... "David?" Our man was there to meet us and in charge of our transfer to the hostel ... (see picture).
Fantastic, good rooms, great food and trust of a stranger worked out so far.
Early start the next day with many local rosters and horns, dogs and people. No alarm necessary for our 730am start for the boat trip to Islas Ballestas - known as 'the poor man's Galapagos'. Cool boat trip and a heap of birds, peguins, pelicans, shags, and some sea lions and crabs to boot. Then back to the shore and onto our road trip to a vast desert. The Reserva Nacional de Paracas - the National Park of Paracas. Dusty, not much there. No animals to see - apparently they have all gone south. It only rains for 4 or 5 minutes every 5 years when there is El nino weather pattern here - a long drought! Great coastal vista and a cruisy afternoon. Our man Edwardo no see at the end of the bus trip however... so the hotel transfered us from the Santa Maria Hostel in his very cool beach buggy to the next bus journey.
Sitting up the front of the bus on the top story watching the driving was an experience to say the least! Maybe next time we will pick our seat so we can not see the traffic and the passing manouvers... Still arrived safe and well in Nascas, an hour late and in the dark - but there he was - our man with a sign with Dave's name on it! How we have come to treasure those signs.... Another great hostel and dinner out on the town in Nasca.
So this morning we have been our flying over the Nasca Lines - a world heritage site and mystery as to why they exist and why the ancient people made them. We have our own theories - like many others as we have found out. Was a very cool flight in a wee six seater cessna plane, with a teenage pilot who had mastered the art of banking left, banking right, talking, pointing out landmarks - all at the same time! Sue ended up somewhat nauseated for the rest of the day, while Dave had a grin from ear to ear! Excellent trip and views.
Spent the rest of the day wandering the town, sorting the next step in the trip, gathering supplies and hanging out. Nice.
Tonight - the night bus to Arequipa. Remember, the trip that we agreed that we would not take... onwards. Please contact Kamana Hotel, Lima to claim on the guarantee if necessary. Should be fine.