Days 516-517 The end of our Peru-Hop trip
If you were visiting a nature reserve what would you imagine? In my mind, I had lush vegetation amongst the tall trees with birds twittering. The visit to Paracas nature reserve was quite different. I think I was thinking of a "National Park" Doh!
But let me digress. The day before was spent in Huacachina, with its massive dunes surrounding this small touristy village with a natural lagoon in the centre.
Peru has such a diverse landscape, from this desert to the Inca terraces in the Andes to the lush wet jungle by the Amazon.
At Huacachina (pronounced Wackachina) we took advantage of the free Pisco tour that Peru Hop provided. A rather excitable guide explained the process of making this blowyourheadoff alcohol (perhaps he had some for breakfast). The grapes are extremely sweet due to the hot weather in autumn, winter and spring and, as he said, hell weather in summer. The tall vines are handpicked, difficult for the short Peruvians, and five men tramp on them in a large concrete bath. The fermentation process only takes two weeks due to the amount of sugar and heat.
We then had a tasting of three wines, two neat Pisco and one with caramel. Where was the Pisco Sour? I only came for that!
Our next journey was to Paracas, a small town by the Pacific Ocean, where you can get a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands to see Penguins. We decided to have a wander along the beach instead and saw other wildlife; so many pelicans, they looked as if they were having a right ol' natter together.
It was in the afternoon that we visited the Paracas Nature Reserve. Its primary function is to preserve the ecosystem of marine life. We stopped numerous times to view the red beach, the red-beaked vultures, craggy coastline and miles of desert with not a tree in sight.
Back in the coach for our last Peru Hop journey, this time to Lima for five nights. A quick stop to see Tambo Colorado, the 3-acre fortress which was constructed in the mid-1400s, and taken over by the Incas. Despite many earthquakes, much of the complex is still standing due to the clever use of stone and adobe by these ancient builders.
Despite visiting some amazing places, I am quite glad our Peru Hop trek has finished. The constant daily travel in full and sometimes stinky coaches, we have realised, is not our prefered way of travelling. It has felt like being with a herd of young cattle.