We left our Airbnb at 6:15am to catch our PeruHop bus outside the McDonalds (yes they are here to) in Kennedy Park a short walk away
It was overcast and drizzly which is unusual for Lima. You see, Lima is the second driest capital city in the world; the first being Cairo. People say that it never rains in Lima, however it drizzled three times since we arrived, all three times in the night or early morning. Lima is also always overcast because the cold Humbolt current in the Pacific comes into contact with the warmer air between the ocean and the Andes Mountains resulting in a lot of cloud and mist but no precipitation so the area is actually classified as a desert. We did see sun for about twenty minutes. One of the locals said a nickname for the city is "Lima the Gray"
Peru is also on the Pacific Rim of Fire which means they have earthquakes every day but most of the time they are too small to feel. There are many places that have a big "S" painted on the floor or wall meaning it's a safe place to stand in case of an earthquake. So far I haven't felt anything.
The PeruHop bus is a great concept. It's a hop on/hop off bus that travels to interesting spots in Peru and Bolivia. Various price packages let you stay as long or as short as you want in towns along its route when travelling in one direction for a period of one year. Some buses go overnight and they have made the seats more cushiony and incline further than normal to make sleeping more comfortable. We even get our own blankets. The bus has an English speaking guide to provide information and any help with accommodation, tours etc.
We did find that it pays to arrive at the bus early in order to get your best choice of seats. There is a good mix of ages in our group, over half are younger than John and I and a few (three) are older.
At the beginning of our trip, the guide informed us that the bathroom on the bus is only for number one; not number two, three, four or sixty-nine.
PeruHop includes some free tours and you can add others for a reasonable price.
Our first stop was to Chincha where we had an included tour of the world heritage site- the once secret slave tunnels at the Hacienda San Jose (1688). This colonial plantation used to have 900 African slaves working the land. The 17km of tunnels were used to smuggle slaves from the coast to the Hacienda to avoid paying taxes. They said not to do the slave tunnel tour if you are claustrophobic but I still went and did ok. The Hacienda is now a five star hotel.
It was a little windy when we arrived into Paracas (which means sandstorm in the language of the original inhabitants). We booked into our accomodation at the Paracas Backpacker House hostel. It was clean, centrally located and supplied good wifi.
For lunch we got a balcony table with a seaside view at the Paracas Restaurant. The wind picked up and a sandstorm blew in. We watched all the different birds blow past us. Soon after we ate, we were coated with sand. Even the hairless dogs were dusty.
We walked around the waterfront but the sandstorm and my breathing got worse. John and I decided to hang out it our room and rest up. Sand had coated everything in our cute little hostel courtyard. I feel so grimy.
We have booked a couple tours for tomorrow.
PeruHop bus - $228 US each
Paracas Backpackers House- private double room with shared bathroom- $55 soles ($22 CAD)