From Munich to Lima with some time to for sightseeing in Madrid. Lima. Oasis Huacachina: sand dunes, sand buggies, sand boarding.

Travelogue Peru 2006
Lima und Huacachina

February 13th, 2006

Dear Friends,   For two years I did not have the chance to travel and now I am finally back on the road even if my bosses did not allow me more than four week, much less than I had for my other trips. I decided to travel Peru and my illusions that I would be able to see all of Peru or even parts of Ecuador had vanished even before I left Germany.

I left Munich a week ago where it was very cold. In Madrid I had a stop over of eight hours which I could use to see some of this beautiful city. To do so I took those open air double decker buses you can find in about every mayor city on the world. That was a cold experience in the winter sun. Finishing all the routes I was dying for one of those hot chocolates Madrid is famous for. Unfortunately I did not have the time to enjoy some time in one of the nice places I saw from the bus as I had to return to the airport.

The flight from Madrid to Lima was long but quite comfortable as we started late in the night and I could sleep for most of the time.

In the airport of Lima I met my friend Ingrid from Santiago de Chile, so I’m not travelling alone this time.

Peru: The coast of  Lima at
The coast of Lima at Miraflores
Peru: El Parque Central, Miraflores, Lima
El Parque Central, Miraflores, Lima
Peru: At the barber shop
Professional tourist – professional barber

Lima , what can I say? We did not spend enough time to get a complete picture. Our hotel was located in Miraflores, being the new and hip part of Lima : Everything is new, clean, touristy and more expensive than in other quarters. The location is indeed nice. Miraflores is built on a Cliff, maybe some 50 or 100 meters high, which declines steeply directly at the coast leaving only a small stripe of beach (and a road of course). We spent an evening in Barranco, party-district, good atmosphere. The center of Lima is quite similar to other Latin American capitols with palaces and office buildings. We did not see as much poverty as in many other Latin American cities. The government seems to be anxious to improve security and tourism. Of course there is a lot of poverty, better visible in smaller towns, but in Lima it seems to be banished to suburb slums.

After two nights we started our trip south. First stop was Huachachina, close to Ica , the center of the Peruvian wine and Pisco production (Pisco is a kind of brandy, quite famous here). The Panamericana leads through impressive landscape, the sea on our right and scarce desert to the left. There is some green in the desert but one hardly believes that huge quantities of wine come from such dry lands. Huachachina itself seems unreal or at least in the wrong continent. Imagine huge sand dunes, a small lake and some houses: Welcome to Sahara ! Here you can climb the dunes which is quite exhausting and sand boarding is a mayor past time till there is no part of your body not covered by sand. Buggy tours are nice unless someone of the group gets sick from speed, quick turns and jumps and ends the fun by making the driver go slowly.

Peru: Oasis Huacachina
Oasis Huacachina surrounded by giant sand dunes
Peru: Oasis Huacachina - Sand buggy roller coaster
        over the dunes
Sand buggy roller coaster over the dunes

Peru: Oasis Huacachina - After Sand Boarding
Sand boarding is not so easy with the simple boards they provide. After you try it you will be covered in sand. But it is fun.

I chose an additional option: getting an upset stomach … :-(( well, I am used to getting that once each trip and after one day in the bed with sickness, headache, fever and lots of sleep I was well again.

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© Volker Umpfenbach

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