After spending 10 days in Cusco we traveled to Arequipa, the white city, for 2 days before we made our way to Lima.
It was good to finally be at sea level again! No more altitude after one month spent in the Altiplano, no more being out of breath all the time… It was also a relieve to find decent temperatures after the cold nights we’d spent, despite the grey and misty sky that apparently is quite typical of the Lima. It was a bit of strange feeling though to be back in a big city with modern skyscrapers, shopping malls, metro, traffic etc… back to civilization sort of!
From Lima we took a day trip to Huacachina, an oasis in the sand dunes 4 hours south of the city (which seemed nothing compared to the long bus hours from Cusco). We took the 6am public bus to Ica where we found a local guide that proposed to take us on a Pisco tasting tour and then drop us off in Huacachina at a very fair price compared to what touring agencies proposed in Lima.
We visited two wineries and started tasting Pisco at 11 in the morning. It was quite tough, definitely not our favorite liquor (except when mixed in a cocktail). It is rather strong but apparently in this region, people drink it and love it. In desperate need for food after all the drinking, our guide/taxi driver (we are not really sure what his actual job was) drove us to the oasis for lunch and booked us in for a buggy and sand boarding trip for the late afternoon.
At 4pm, we were ready to board the buggy when we randomly ran into Evan, a young and fun American we had met in Cusco. He was on the same buggy tour than us!
The buggy ride was so much fun, we laughed so much! Our driver was speeding up and down the sand dunes for more adrenaline, we were shaken up and were jumping out of our seats due to all the bumps in the sand, screamed a few times when driving down at all speed just like in a rollercoaster… (I was screaming… Adrien was just laughing at me really…)
As for the sand board, Adrien tried riding the dune snowboard style and I did it laying down on my stomach head first style. There was a bit more screaming involved, we really had a blast!
The area is special, we definitely recommend a day trip to Huacachina, it is very fun. But most of all, it was quite surreal to be in a sand desert for a day with a view on an Oasis, with such a dry landscapee and the heat of desert after everything else we’d seen for the past 2 months.
We headed back to Lima with the 8pm bus. The day after was our last day in Peru. Actually, our last day in South America before moving on with our trip to Central America. Already 3 months have passed which seem like eternity but at the same time have flown by so quickly. It is a strange feeling thinking of everything we’ve done and lived already and in a way it feels like the first chapter of this long trip has come to an end.
We enjoyed our last day in Lima just walking around the different districts: the old town, Plaza de Armas, Miraflores, Barancos…
The next day we said good-bye to South America, and took our flight to Panama City.