Peru hoppin’

From lima there is a hop on hop off bus service made for tourist usually I don’t like these kind of tours cause you can’t really do what you want when you want to but this one is flexible and actually a really good idea. Mack and I coughed up the cash to hop on this bus full of like minded backpackers. This bus will eventually get us to cusco which was the last stop on the line. Our first main town on the line was paracas a provincial park four hours south of lima. On the was to paracas we stopped at a few different places, one of them being an old mansion belonging to spanish royalty. Under the mansion there were a few kilometers of tunnels used to transport slaves from the coast into the house. Going through the tunnels gave me an eerie feeling but it was cool to see. We hopped back on the bus and made our way down coastal road (which I believe is the panamerican highway). We stopped at a view point in the provincial park which was a very cool desert into cliff into ocean. The sun was unbearable hot and from the few minutes we were outside we got our first burn of the trip. After all the stops and food breaks the trip to paracas took us around 10 hours so you could imagine most of the strangers on the bus become somewhat friends in that time. Mack and I met an Israeli guy named Ariel that we hung out with quite a bit. He loved his American pop culture and many of our conversations were about that. He was also a jokester so any opportunities to get a laugh, he took. Spending time talking to him about his country made me realize I know NOTHING about Israel. I’ve learned so much about the culture and country in the past week.  
The next morning we took a boat out to an island called ballestas. It had many animals including Peruvian boobies, penguins and sea lions. On the trip we met two British girls, Charlotte and Jessica they are what I call posh but they didn’t think they were, we spent the long bus rides exchanging stories from past trips and experiences.
The next stop was a little oasis town called huacachina. It is a desert. Very hot, very dry, very sandy. The first day we hung out by the pool and soaked up the sun with our new friends and at night found a nice restaurant to try some more local food. The next day we checked out the small town (you can walk around it in 10 minutes) had lunch at our favorite restaurant huacafuckingchina (mostly our favorite because of the name and our server was crazy and really liked canadians) and when four o’clock hit we all got on a dune buggy and ripped on the sand dunes surrounding the oasis. While cruising the dunes we would stop periodically for pictures and a chance to ride down the dunes on our own sandboard. Basically it was snowboarding minus a good board and instead of snow it’s sand. It was a ton of fun and definitely the highlight of the trip so far! We got to watch the sunset from the dunes which was awesome and then later that night mack and I caught a cab into the larger town close by called Ica which definitely wasn’t as chill as huacachina but still seemed nice.

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