During my second week in Peru, I went birdwatching in Paracas, biking in the desert and sandboarding in Huacachina. Unfortunately, the last one did not go very well…
Birdwatching in Paracas
I took a night bus from Huaraz back to Lima and got on the first available bus to Paracas. So strange to see so much sand again after spending almost a week in the Andes! Because I wasn’t able to sleep on the bus (too many turns and sudden stops), I spent the afternoon relaxing at my hostel (Kokopelli) and walking on the boulevard. The view at sunset was amazing! So many boats and birds.
The next morning, I did the most touristic thing in Paracas: a boat tour to the Islas Ballestas. We saw a giant chandelier in the sand (similar to the Nazca-lines) and loads of birds, penguins and sea lions. Although I loved seeing all the different kinds of wildlife, I didn’t enjoy the tour. There were just too many boats surrounding the same group of penguins and the exhaust of the boats was terrible. I felt horrible when we arrived back in Paracas.
Biking on my own in the desert
In the afternoon, most tourists do a bus tour in the Paracas National Reserve, but because I’m Dutch I decided to rent a bike. It was a 35-kilometer round trip and I loved every second of it. I was completely alone and it was awesome to bike in the desert, making pictures and find remote spots at the coast. At some point, I caught up with the bus tours and it was so crowded. Luckily it was just for 5 minutes and I was alone again. I was just finishing my lunch at a cute peninsula when something strange happened: the clouds went away and there was a bright blue sky. The landscape looked even more beautiful!
My last stop was at a Flamingo viewpoint and I saw loads of them! So cool! Unfortunately, they were too far away to take a decent picture, but you can’t have it all. I was so happy to do the bike ride after the disappointing boat trip, it completely made my stay in Paracas. I can highly recommend it!
Chilling in Huachachina
The next morning, I took a bus to Ica and from the bus station a cab to Huacachina. My plan was to relax at the pool of my hostel, but because it was very cloudy and a bit chilly I spent my afternoon climbing dunes around the oasis. The view was pretty awesome!
The weather improved the next day and I was finally able to chill at the pool at my awesome hostel (The Upcycled Hostel). Now it feels more like summer instead of winter.
When sandboarding goes wrong
In the afternoon it was time to go on my buggy tour (pretty much the only thing you can do in Huacachina). We raced in the sand dunes, which was awesome! And then we tried sandboarding. Laying on our stomachs on a board and just slide down the sand dune. Sounds easy right? It was really fast and so much fun!
But at the second (very high) dune it all went wrong. You know I’m clumsy right? I went down too fast, somehow lost my balance and lost my sandboard. I tumbled down like a rag doll, with no idea of what was happening. I hit my head a couple of times and I remember thinking “This is not good”. It seemed like forever before I stopped tumbling. Luckily I got up, relieved but too scared to go sand boarding again. I was able to enjoy the sunset but was really happy to get back to the hostel again.
The next day I felt like I was run over by a truck, my whole body hurt. Too bad, because there many cool things to do around Ica and Huacachina and I really wanted to explore a little more. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep in any food at all, so I kinda assumed I had a concussion. I booked a night bus to Arequipa and decided to take it and visit a doctor in Arequipa asap. It took 13 hours, and yes, it was horrible (luckily I didn’t throw up on the bus).
When I arrived at the hostel in Arequipa (Limbo Jump Hostel) the owner was super-friendly and called a doctor. She came right away and told me my head was fine, but I got a lot of painkillers and muscle relievers for my neck and my back. She didn’t trust my kidney (it hurt really bad when she pushed my stomach), so she took some tests. I happened to have a urinary tract infection(?!). So I got some antibiotics, took it slow and was able to eat again. And Arequipa is a beautiful city, which I will tell you all about it in my next travel diary.