Lima, Huacachina, Cuzco
07.01.2013 - 14.02.2013
After queuing for several hours at check-in in Rio airport we were eventually told there were no seats left on our flight to Lima! ... quite strange as we had pre-booked our seats and had our tickets with our seat numbers in our hands!! Thankfully after a bit of complaining we managed to check-in our bags and get on the flight about 5 minutes before take off! (Nobodies really in a rush in South America and transport rarely leaves on time ...as you can imagine this suited me down to the ground!!) So we arrived in Lima, Peru on the 7th of January and went straight to Hitchhikers hostel in Miraflores. Most people had advised us not to stay too long in Lima as there's not really too much to do so we took their advice and just stayed the one night. Diana's cousin Sinead met us at the hostel ...she'll be traveling the rest of South America with us! ...more mates....happy days!!
Next stop was to the spectacular lagoon of Huacachina. (It's sand dunes feature on the back of Peru's 50 soles note! - very exciting!) To get here we took a 16 hour bus from Lima. We'd been dreading it but with fully reclining seats and lots of leg room we were in our element. (A million times better than a Ryanair flight!!) Huacachina was really nice and relaxing ...I'd never been to an oasis before so I thought it was pretty amazing!
The sandboarding was definitely the highlight of Huacachina! We rented boards with 'Desert Adventures' and even the rollercoaster-esque buggy out the dunes was quite eventful! We did our first sand dune standing on the board but once we moved on to the larger dunes the guides recommended we lay flat on our stomachs as they didn't want to have to bring any of us to hospital! (We agreed of course!) Face first was actually scarier as you pick up some amount of speed!!
Our hostel "Desert Nights' was ok but I'd recommend staying in one with a pool as it gets pretty toasty during the day!! (Silvias and Bananas were both good hostels with pools.) One of the nights in Huacachina we went for a BBQ and drinks in Bananas hostel. We met the hilarious Rick and Ali from England and crazy Sam from Oz. Sam entertained the group with his stories about being robbed and chased around Europe and South America!! (Very reassuring to hear!!!)
After 2 nights we left Huacachina and got an overnight bus to Cuzco (once the heart of the Inca empire!) The amazing views through the mountains made the journey pretty painless!
There we stayed in Locki hostel, it's a party hostel which is a lot of fun but if you're lucky enough (like us!) to get a room right beside the bar... good luck getting much sleep!! We stayed 4 nights in Cuzco to acclimatise before trekking Machu Picchu and of course to celebrate Diana's 24th birthday! We celebrated with the traditional Donnelly banana cake for breakfast in Jacks cafe ..and a day of pampering...an hour massage equated to about 7 Euro! To finish the celebrations off we had dinner and drinks in the HIGHEST Irish bar in world 'Paddy Flahertys". Along with our English friends Chris and James we picked up a few fellow leprechauns and headed out to Mama Africa's and Temple nightclub.
The following day we did the free walking tour of Cuzco. Our guide spent hours showing us around the historical city and also brought us to the Cocoa Museum. We learnt all about the 'Shining path' - a huge terrorist group living in the jungle who each year capture thousands of women. They then bribe their brothers to grow and supply them with coco leaves (for Cocaine) in exchange for the return of their sisters. Only within the last year it is suspected that the group were to blame for the disappearance of a group of tourists trekking in the jungle! (Just what we wanted to hear the day before starting our trek!)