Lima to Nazca: Our Introduction to the Peruvian bus system

Lima Travel Blog

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This was our first introduction to the Peruvian bus system.  Buses are the backbone of Peru's transportation system.  The country has some problems with bus hijackings, especially at night, but after a little research I found that the Cruz del Sur bus line was quite safe.  Their buses dock at their own private, gated compounds that are swarming with security guards.  The buses had security guards on them, helpful staff that often spoke English, and were monitored by a GPS tracking system so that the company always knew where all the buses were. 

Kristi and I arrived at the Cruz del Sur Lima bus compound bright and early to get on a bus for Nazca.
See the tiny specs on the giant sand dune that dwarfs the town - those are people climbing the dune to sandboard down it. I'm going to have to come back to Peru to try this.
  Of course, nothing was going to go as smoothly as we hoped it would.  The desk attendant told us that the buses were COMPLETELY full!  But, we could get a seat down to Paracas.  We would still be a couple hours from Nazca, but we were determined not to be detered from reaching out goal.

As the bus headed out of Lima, we traveled through numerous shanty towns.  Nothing on the scale of sheer poverty, disease and famine that I saw in Cairo, just your typical poor, cardboard or partially finished mudbrick towns with trash piled everywhere.  What's interesting about Peru, is that lining it's coast, at least south of Lima, is not fertile land but a true-blue desert.  A desert like the Sahara with sand dunes so tall and massive they towered above villages like imposing mountains.
  What does one do when sand dunes reach epic proportions - use them for sandboarding of course. 

At Paracas, Kristi and I grabbed our bags and looked around a little lost, yet still determined, for some kind of bus office to see how in the world we could get to Nazca.  One of the Cruz del Sur workers saw us and asked if they could help.  We told them that we needed to get to Nazca, but were told the bus was full.  To our great surprise they responded, "We have plenty of seats to Nazca!"  We didn't quite believe it until they printed us two tickets for the rest of the way to Nazca.  Estatic not to have to take a taxi, or a tiny, stinky, sketchy local bus or walk all,  Kristi and I bounded back on the bus clutching our tickets tightly.  It turns out that Cruz del Sur sells only a few tickets all the way to the final destination and leaves the bulk of the tickets to be sold on the day of at each stop! 

After 3 movies and passing through countless tiny towns, we finally pulled into the Cruz del Sur's Nazca compound, elated to have made it to Nazca all in one go.
  Our next challenge was finding a hotel.  True to form, on the ride to Nazca Kristi made some new Spanish friends who at the bus station introduced us to their hotel owner.  After a little bargaining we secured a pretty good deal for two nights at a cute little hotl close to the center of town. 

Next up - exploring!  Nazca has one main strip which contains most of the jewelry and knicknack shops, in addition to the best cafes and restaurants.  It's a cute little town with a touristy, yet down-to-earth vibe.  We spent some time trying to book our flight for the next day.  As good little travelers we shopped around and realized very quickly that everyone was selling the flights over the Nazca lines for $65.  A few months prior, one of the flights had crashed due to the plane not being properly maintained.  So, to keep the tourists coming back, the government had swooped in and regulated all the companies - requiring them to all charged $65.
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See the tiny specs on the giant sa…
See the tiny specs on the giant s…
More gaint sand dunes dominating t…
More gaint sand dunes dominating …
Hundreds of potatoes.  The Peruvia…
Hundreds of potatoes. The Peruvi…
Desert cliffs - really reminded me…
Desert cliffs - really reminded m…
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photo by: rsvpme