Published: August 28th 2012August 28th 2012
For the next 21 days we will be travelling with Oasis Overland from Lima, Peru to La Paz, Bolivia. The reason we chose to go through Oasis Overland was because even though its UK-based company, it was a lot cheaper than any other companies we looked into. To be honest we hadn’t heard much about Oasis Overland, in Europe we stuck to companies such as First Festival and Top Deck. Companies we had heard of and that had been recommended through like-minded travelling friends. Day One:
The first day of the tour was spent in Lima exploring the city, seeing the catacombs and having some drinks in Miraflores which is a really touristy area. We stayed in a more grungy area away from the flocks of tourists, which I preferred. You get to see the ’real’ city. That night we tried Pisco, a favoured local drink, it tastes a little bit like tequila but is mixed with lime juice and whipped egg whites. The alcohol percentage is pretty high but apparently hangovers are non-existent if you stick to Pisco…I guess I will have to test this theory out one night. Day Two:
On tours you never waste
time in a city for too long. On just day two we took a Bus to Pisco from Lima. Pisco is a very small and quiet town that was hugely effected by an earthquake and it is also the home of Peru‘s favourite liquor, Pisco. We arrived here very late so had a quick look around and went out for dinner at a local restaurant where we tried Cerveche, a Peruvian dish consisting of raw fish cooked only with lemon juice. It was surprisingly very tasty! Day Three:
Took an early morning boat tour of the Ballestas Islands to see the sea life which included seals, penguins and thousands and thousands of birds. I have never seen so many birds and the smell was at times overwhelming. After this we made our way down the coast via Catador, one of Peru’s oldest vineyards, to sample the locally made wine and pisco. Then it was onto Huancachina in Ica, which is a beautiful desert Oasis in the middle of nowhere. Some people did sand boarding but we decided to just look around, walk up one of the dunes and chill out. After the sand boarding finished we jumped in
a sand buggy and were taken over dunes at crazy speeds, stomachs turning, about 15 minutes out into the dessert where camp was set up for the night. We had an amazing bbq, drunk too much pisco and camped in tents in the middle of nowhere. I don’t think many people remembered that night. Day Four and Five:
Woke up early to head to where the Nasca Lines are located. The bus ended up taking twice as long as it broke down in the middle of the desert. We didn’t take a flight to see the lines, but we saw them from a distance. We spent the day here then took an overnight bus to Arequipa.. After sorting out our rooms and eating too much at the buffet breakfast in Arequipa we made our way to the local markets to sample some of the fruit and fruit smoothies which were amazing. There are so many varities and they all tasted pretty good. The markets can be a little bit dodgy in this area because of the amount of people there but we didn’t have any trouble and we loved tasting all the different fruit. Arequipa is a really pretty city that has also had to rebuild numerous times after earthquakes. Day Six and Seven:
We spent two days at the Colca Canyon, the world’s deepest canyon which is about 5 hours from Arequipa. The first morning we were advised to drink coca tea and eat the coca leaf sweets on the way to the canyon from Arequipa as it helps with altitude sickness. You can really feel the altitude especially when you reach the highest point which is 4910m above sea level, the highest point I have ever been too. Never being at such high altitude before we were all a little worried. Luckily, for most of us we were fine, apart from feeling light headed and almost ‘drunk.’ Unfortunately for Mel she felt the worst and was quite sick so we couldn’t stop at the highest point. We made our way down to 3500m above sea level for lunch where we would stay for the night in a really nice hotel. The buffet lunch was amazing and we even tried bbq‘d Alpaca which was surprisingly pretty good. After lunch we spent a couple of hours in the local thermal pools.
The most amazing part of the Colca Canyon trip for me was the Condor watching. Unfortunately for Reagan he was suffering from altitude sickness so he couldn’t get out of the van to witness it. The condors glide through the air, so peacefully and they really put on a show for us. There were at least 8 condors in the Canyon. We were very lucky, some days tourists can only see one. Day Eight:
Back to Arequipa for the day. We visited the Juanita the frozen mummy, which was strangely interesting. Her skin and organs are all preserved due to being buried at over 5000m above sea level. Its amazing how well persevered she is. Shopped around for some ‘hippy’ pants, they are more comfortable than jeans and great for overnight bus trips. Spent the afternoon playing cards and waiting around for our 8pm overnight bus to Cuzco. The bus was amazing, leather seats that reclined to almost 180 degrees and enough leg room to stretch out - defiantly more comfortable than any plane ride we have taken. Day Nine:
Arrived in Cuzco around 7am. After walking around for an hour waiting for our rooms to be cleaned we went for breakfast at Jack’s. A very popular little place with an amazing breakfast menu and quite possibly the best hot chocolate I have had. We start the Inca trail tomorrow so today we had a briefing about what to expect and what to take. Feeling a little nervous about walking at such high altitude. And the talk didn’t really calm my nerves. Hopefully he was telling us the worse possible scenarios! We were warned about the cold at night, so today’s purchase was thermal leggings at only 20 soles. Was nearly ripped off when the lady tried to short change me but luckily I noticed and quickly told her ‘naughty naughty’ to wish she sheepishly grinned, gave me the correct change and walked away. Reagan’s birthday today so we all went out for dinner and our tour leader arranged a birthday cake. Early night tonight as we start the journey towards the Inca Trail at 5.30am.