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Journal #28: Huacachina & Paracas

Ok, so we booked another day tour on our only Saturday in Lima. It's always nice to get out of the city and explore the surrounding, right? Well, kind of. Let's get into it.

We booked this tour through Peru Hop which was recommended to us by a friend we made in Costa Rica (s/o Matt). We mainly wanted to see Huacachina, which is this cool oasis town in the middle of these vast dunes in the desert south of Lima. However, this tour also included a stop in the coastal town of Paracas, where we'd have a chance to go on a boat to see sea lions and PENGUINS. So we thought, F it. Sounds like a nice little bonus stop on the way to the oasis!

Well, this turned out to be one of the longest days of our lives. We started the morning with a 6:00 am pick-up and drove down the coast in a coach bus about three hours to Paracas. It turns out this town is a local fave getaway for Lima residents to escape the perma-cloudy climate of the city.

We took the boat tour out to the Ballestas Islands, marketed as a "smaller Galapagos." We saw a ton of sea lions and caught a glimpse of a small squad of penguins at the top of one tall, rocky island for about a millisecond.

Oh, and Brett fell asleep the whole bumpy boat ride out there, his head bobbin' more than a hippie's at a reggae concert.

This part of the trip I probably could've done without. Seeing the penguins was cool, but the town was small and touristy, and I think La Jolla Cove is more beautiful.

The second part of the trip was driving another hour to Huacachina.

The pictures online were sick, and of course, I brought Dronie to try and capture one of my own. However, we were running about an hour behind schedule, which gave us little free time before our dune buggy tour, and the clouds had rolled in, making for less than ideal drone conditions.

So, with the bit of time we had before hitting the dunes, I chose to forego launching Dronie from the oasis in exchange for grabbing a coffee to boost our energy levels.

Then, it was time for our adventure in the dunes. This was by far the wildest thing we've done on our trip! We boarded our dune buggy, the driver put it into gear, then absolutely SENT IT; like drove straight down the face of the first dune, sent it. Then up the side of another towering dune, over the top, and straight down the other side.

I was screaming and trying to record some videos on my phone while white-knuckling the bar on the back of the driver's seat. He whipped that thing up and down and around, engine roaring and whining as we swept across the sand.

We stopped periodically to break out the sandboards and slide down a few dunes penguin-style. Then we closed the day off, watching the sunset over a Star Wars-esk landscape to the west.

This part of the day was so fun, and I was able to get some drone footage along the way.

But then it was time to get some dinner para llevar and hit the road for the five-hour journey back to Lima. It was 7:00 pm at this point.

My superpower is that I can sleep anywhere. So, I fell asleep right away and didn't wake up again until we were entering the city's outskirts around midnight.

On the other hand, Brett was miserably sitting squished next to me the whole time, unable to catch some z's. He was grumpy about our polar opposite experiences of the bus ride back.

All-in-all, I'm glad we did it for the dunes. But if I could, next time, I would try to go straight to Huacachina, spend the night in the oasis, and then come back to the city the following day or continue to another town.

This is the awesome thing about Peru Hop, they have several legs that you can hop on throughout the country. If you wanted to, you could take their bus from Lima to Huacachina, then down to Arequipa in the South and back up towards Cusco. But that would take days and, you know, with our work schedule, we could only really factor in a day or two of exploring on our one weekend there.

Also, I got to shout out the two friends we made this day, Kartakay from San Jose, who decided to hop on the tour with us the morning of and had a refreshing smile on his face the entire day, and Raymond from New Zealand, who has been traveling all over the world and had to wake up the next morning at 4:00 am to catch his next flight to Medellin. Oh, and to Alex, our tour guide, who was hilarious and shared some Peruvian culture facts with us throughout the day.



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My boyfriend and I started our digital nomad journey in December 2021. We're just starting out and want to share all the ups and downs with you!

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