A Travellerspoint blog

Sun, wine and more sea lions

South Coast of Peru (and our aborted attempt to hike the Colca Canyon)

sunny 31 °C

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After what feels like 3 days on buses (crossing into Peru at Puno, heading off to Arequipa, then on to Cabanaconde (where we wanted to trek into the Colca Canyon), then immediately back on the bus back to Arequipa) we arrived at Nazca.  You see we got ambushed by a surprise tax. Not a good surprise. The moment we got off the bus in Cabanaconde they tried to charge us 70 soles just for the privilege of entering the Colca Valley, which by this stage we'd already done. A bit cranky and with no ATM or enough cash to pay the tax and actually do the trek, we told them we wouldn't be paying anything and got straight back on the return bus to Arequippa. We did get some lovely views of the canyon on our two bus rides, but overall were a bit frustrated that no one thought to mention this bizarre tax before we actually arrived in the town!

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From Arequippa we headed on to Nazca and put the Colca Canyon behind us. Nazca was really all about the Nazca Lines, which are pretty incredible when you think the people who created them couldn't actually ever see their finished product properly. The plane was small and bumpy, and soon had me puking my guts up. I did get to see the majority of the images though. Think wow, monkey, bleugh, oh hummingbird, bleugh, ok missed that... bleugh. You get the point. Even feeling as rotten as I did, they were incredible though. We also checked out some nearby Nazca ruins and aquaduct system that brought water down from the nearby mountains into the desert. Pretty clever stuff really.

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We headed to Pisco after that and as well as trying a few Pisco sours did a pretty amazing boat trip out to the Ballestas Islands, which have huge amounts of bird life as well as substantial sea lion colonies. We saw baby sea lions which were adorable and tried to imagine the islands 30 metres higher than today due to bird droppings, which are now collected and exported. The bird colonies were enormous! Whole sections of the islands were just covered in a mass of black squawking bodies.

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After Pisco, we headed to Ica, to complete our South Coast tour. We did a great little winery tour resulting in the purchase of a very nice bottle and went out to the nearby Huagachina oasis. The Oasis was pretty cool but the real highlight was the view from top of the sand dunes and the fact that I won our race to climb it! Yeah!!

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Posted by Addy21 14:44 Archived in Peru

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