Some of these places only need a short visit so I’ve given the highlights of each place and what I got up to here:
Paracas – a boat ride around the Ballestas island filled with penguins, pelican, sea lions and other exotic birds. It’s a cute seaside and fisherman town to be in but only for a day.
Pisco – There is a lot of debate whether Pisco is made in Peru or in Chile. Either way, there is a place called Pisco in Peru where they make the famous spirit and worth visiting the distillery for a tasting session.
Apparently, every summer to crush all the pulps, they hold a weekend festival where all the locals come and stamp the pulps with their feet and drink pisco all weekend.
We tasted like 15 different pisco’s in the morning and we were all drunk by the time we were done. As it was still morning and we were travelling, we needed to get some carbs asap but the nearest stop would be like an hour and half away so if you do this, make sure you have some crisps or a sandwich in your bag ready.
This is a place that I have been DYING to go to – just to do SANDBOARDING!! I’ve been to Abu Dhabi and I wished they had this activity but none-the-less; I am in Huacachina and we rode into the desert in a buggy (there was sand everywhere from my hair, nose, eyes etc) then we got to a high slope and it looked like a long way down. But my adrenaline started to kick in and I was so excited!
Whilst on the board, I had all the butterflies in my stomach and I flinched (check out my instagram for a quick video and a squeal) BUT it was all worth it. We did this 3 times and hands down – one of the most memorable activities I’ve done in South America.
What do you do in Nazca…see the famous Nazca lines that only got discovered in 1970. Located in the Pervuian flat desert but they date back to 200BC – 500AD where there are a series of patterns and pictures etched in the ground on this. This still remains a mystery and there’s theories that correlates to the Solstice and just recently, they uncovered 500 more lines so this mystery just keeps giving.
You can catch a small rickety plane that 30 minute flight is enough time before you start throwing up – literally all of us felt nauseous afterwards but it was worth seeing these lines. On the plane, everyone puts on earphones and the pilot talks you through the discoveries and point out which window to look out from.
Whilst you’re in Nazca, you should make the time to go to the Chauchilla Cemetery as you can get up and close to the incredible Nazca mummies. These mummies have been well-preserved along with their belongings and offerings to God, meaning you can see the tomb in a similar condition to how it was at the time of burial. If you’re into dark tourism, this is something that you need to do.
Arequipa is a very old city where they are still discovering mummies beneath the grounds. It’s quite fascinating.
Meet the oldest and best preserved mummy Juanita (at the museum) and see the one of two original paintings at this cathedral of The Last Supper and the centre piece is a guinea pig. For those of you that don’t know, the guinea pig is a special delicacy served in Peru.
If you get bored, you can also visit a nunnery which was like a city within a city – it seems that there was a hierarchy of nuns here where ‘rich’ nuns and ‘poor’ nuns affected your status. By this, if you were rich, you were automatically given a senior nun role and have ‘servants’ who were nuns from a poorer background. This nunnery was only for women and they had to cleanse themselves if they every leave the walls of the this sanctuary they created. Times have changed and this is no longer in practice but there are nuns that still reside here but just in a different area.
The square is the main area where it leads onto these different places – this place is small so everything is walkable and you can’t get lost.
The famous canyon where on the drive there you can see famous volcanoes and the attitude quickly changing. I threw up a couple of times whilst my body was really trying to adjust quickly.
You will see famous Andean Condor which is magnificent. We had a lucky day where there were so many out flying, landing and chilling. Our tour guide said he has never seen so many condors out before as there is usually only a few. Whilst going through all these altitude changes, we stopped off and stayed a night in a very small town which was a square that had a cool market and we stopped off at the thermal springs as it was seriously cold. I can’t remember the name as I was still out of it considering the altitude changes but I highly enjoyed this.