A Travellerspoint blog

Stop 53 - Punta Cana

sunny 36 °C

Leaving South America behind we now take a holiday from our travels. What most people wont understand is that travel is completely different to a holiday. Our full time job this year has been planning, budgeting and trying to find food. It is exhausting!! So, before heading home we want to just relax pool side and not have to think about anything!!

Hello all-inclusive!

We're really not resort type people but this is the second all-inclusive resort we've done this year. The kids love it so that's one good thing I guess. Luckily we're not visiting these places during peak season. If it had any more people in it then I think it would be an absolute nightmare!

Cant really tell you much about Punta Cana as I didn't leave the resort. And I cant show you much because I only took 3 photos (and I think 2 of those were taken by Lucas....). Here they are:

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But, it served its purpose and we leave for LA nicely tanned, wonderfully relaxed and a little bit sad as we will be heading home in less than a week.

Posted by carlagregory 15:59 Archived in Dominican Republic Comments (0)

Stop 52 - Paracas

Next up on our bus trip is the small coastal town of Paracas. This town was a little gem - great food and quite a bit to do!

We arrived around midday and Adam noticed there was a dune buggy tour guide opposite our hotel. Not satisfied with our adventures in Huacachina (mostly because he wasn't allowed to drive the buggy), he went off to book in a tour for that afternoon. This time he was allowed to drive his own buggy but had to follow a guide. I don't think the guide spoke much English and Adam spent a lot of time doing his own thing instead of following the guide but they had a good time.

Our main reason for stopping here was the Ballestas Islands a.k.a. the poor mans Galapagos. These islands should really be called bird poo islands because with 850, 000 birds living there that's basically what you're looking at. Also, don't wear anything you don't want to get bird poo on.

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As we looooove the animals we quite enjoyed this 1.5hr boat ride around the animals. Once again I took way too many photos of the sealions (but they're just so cute!!) and not much else. The one thing we did see here that we didn't see on the Galapagos was lots of penguinos! That's Spanish for penguin btw. They were pretty cute too. We must have arrived at the right time because 2 out of 3 groups were heading out to fish so we got to see them waddle down to the rocks edge and jump off into the water.

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So for US$35 per person its actually a pretty cool activity.

That afternoon we had a national park tour booked in with the bus group. We got to see some pretty cool spots including cathedral rock and the red beach. Stunning vistas, loads of desert and super windy! You can do a self guided tour through the park on bike but the main attraction points are quite far apart so a tour is probably the way to go.

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That night we jump aboard the bus and head to Lima. Two things to keep in mind:
A/ spoiler alert...Lima isn't better the second time round
B/ Lima means we're heading out of South America and almost home *insert me crying here*

But before we get to Lima we have a free tour of one of the old homesteads that were involved with slave trade. Would you believe that in the beginning slaves were happy and enjoyed their life of slavery on the homestead?? I know, sounds ridiculous and I don't believe it either. But that's apparently how it was at this particular homestead; until the owners died that is. It was at this point when their children inherited it and they became involved in slave trade. They had 1000's more slaves than they were supposed to have by law. They also built an underground tunnel system that would link the port to their homestead so they could smuggle in slaves. It was at this point in the story where the slaves weren't having a good time anymore.....ummm, I'm sorry, but I think they weren't having a good time from the moment you took them from Africa!! But who am I to judge. An interesting part of history and it was free.

Now we go to Lima.

Posted by carlagregory 15:40 Comments (0)

Stop 51 - Huacachina

sunny 34 °C

I first saw Huacachina on Pinterest (...god I love that app!!) and I told Adam it was one of the places we HAD to visit. Then we arrived in Peru and decided it was well out of our way and headed to Bolivia instead. But you know what?! There is a massive mountain range in between Lima and Cuzco so, if you're catching the bus between the to places (like we ended up doing on our way back to Lima), you'll end up passing through Huacachina whether you like it or not!

What a super fun place this is!! It is a tiny oasis town in the middle of the desert; just outside of Ica. We based ourselves here for a couple of days -
mostly because of the bus timetable but we had a great time!

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The main thing going on in town is the dune buggy tours and sand boarding. This is done just before sunset so you can get your thrills then sit and watch a lovely sunset. The boys were all talk and were super pumped to do the sand boarding, then when they saw how high the sand dune was they quickly changed their minds. So while Adam went down the slopes, I hung out the top with the kids. Damn them for ruining my good time!! (secretly I didn't care cos I chickened out once I saw the height too haha!)

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Our driver was a bit of a nutter and made our dune buggy experience a memorable one. We all had a great time in the end and came back with sand everywhere!

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We also did a tour of the pisco winery in Ica. Our guide was soooooo enthusiastic! I think he might have already been drunk. We got to sample their different wines and learnt the Incan way of toasting before drinking. I have no idea what the words were and I don't think anyone else in the room could understand either....when we (the crowd) were asked to repeat the words it was more of a loud indecipherable mumble than anything.

In the end I am glad we came here as it was a lot of fun. Maybe next time we'll all try the sand boarding...

Posted by carlagregory 23:32 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Stop 50 - Nazca

sunny 35 °C

The town of Nazca is nothing special. Here is an aerial view of the town...pretty drab!

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It is quite dusty with a few places to eat and a few hotels but not much else. But that doesn't matter because on the outskirts of town is the local airport where you can take flights and see the wonderful Nazca lines.

We weren't originally going to visit the lines but then James kept seeing images of the lines and was quite intrigued. The flight goes for about half an hour and takes you over all the main images. Its really quite amazing to see. If you don't want to take the flight they do have a viewing tower on the side of the highway - not as impressive...

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And the road cuts right through the middle of one.... I feel like someone failed at their job when that decision was made.

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One more thing, this town also has really good chicken and chips and it is quite cheap! Be warned that when you order chicken you also get chips and salad served with it. It doesn't say this anywhere on the menu and we ordered more. So much food!!!

Anyhoo, here are the pics - enjoy!

Take off!!

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The Whale...

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The Astronaut...

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The Monkey...

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The Dog...

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The Hummingbird...

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The Ant...

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The Condor...

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The Crane...

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The Flamingo

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The...something?!?!....

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The hands and tree...

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Aquaducts...

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Landing...

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Posted by carlagregory 20:51 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

Stop 49 - Arequipa

sunny 25 °C

Hopping back onto our bus we start making our way back to Peru and in particular, the colonial town of Arequipa!

This city is gorgeous!! In the horizon you have the views of the volcanoes, the architecture is just beautiful and the white walls of the buildings shimmer in the sunshine.

One of the attractions in Arequipa is their ice maiden, Juanita. Juanita was a sacrifice to the gods during Incan times. Now she is a frozen mummy and was found on top of one of the nearby volcanoes.

I saw a documentary on another "ice maiden" who is so well preserved she just looks like she is sleeping. Here is a picture of her:

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I really want to see this one but unfortunately for me she is located in Argentina so Juanita is the next best thing. All through the tour they kept saying Juanita was the best preserved they have found. LIES!!! ALL LIES!!!

We weren't allowed to take any photos during the tour so here is a picture of Juanita I found online. Still pretty impressive I guess...

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James had a meltdown after seeing her. So I guess we can add mummies to the long list of subjects to avoid with James.

We also used Arequipa as our base for a visit to the Colca Canyon. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this tour but it was actually quite fun! We stopped in at a few towns along the way to the canyon and were able to visit the churches which are still the same as the day they were built in the 17th century. Lots of gold and odd statues throughout.

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On the sides of the roads you can also see large herds of alpacas and wild vicunas. These are a relative of the llamas and alpacas and they have the most expensive fur of the lot! I believe they are endangered...don't quote me on that...but I feel like I need to farm them, make wool and then become a millionaire from the profits... (If I see any of you operating this same business I'll sue you for stealing my idea!!)

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To end the first day we visited the local hot springs with children! This was their first visit to hot springs and they really enjoyed it. It meant that I didn't enjoy it as much because I had to tell them off the whole time. So they've ruined it for themselves - never again!

The next day we were up early so we could make it to the canyon and see the condors. My goodness these birds are MASSIVE!!! We were quite lucky because the weather was perfect for condors and there were about 6 flying around at any one time. Very impressive.

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And because they know everyone wants a llama selfie we made a stop on the way home to visit the tame ones. They're soooo cute!! I'd settle for an alpaca farm if vicunas aren't possible.

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In other news Peru played New Zealand in the soccer whilst we were in the colca canyon. Spoiler alert - Peru won! Its their first world cup appearance in 32 years - so everyone was pretty excited.

Next up on our journey - Nazca!

Posted by carlagregory 16:09 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

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