Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 55/56 - Lima to Ica, Peru

RobC:  Leaving Lima was kind-of hard to do. Getting to Lima (by road) was a big intermediate goal for me, and now we were heading south again, away from the city where I spent several great years with family and friends, where two of my kids were born, and where I learned to play tennis, the sport that captivated me and brought me much pleasure for many years.

It also was hard to leave my daughter, Lisa, and family once again. But fortunately they are only a 5.5 hour flight from Miami (or 7 weeks driving from Michigan). So, we will see each other again.

RobT:  The ride down the coast south of Lima on the Panamerican Highway was very smooth and pleasant once we got out of the big city.  The coastal desert with its huge sand dunes seemed like we'd get swallowed up by the sand at any minute.  We stopped at the typical fishing village of Pucusana for lunch.  I guess the fishing was done for the day, as the small harbour was filled with colorful boats.

View from the restaurant.  There's a "hole" in the rock that the ocean waves come blasting though into a little "bay".  Very cool.

We decided to stop in Ica as Nazca was another 2 hours and the weather was turning wet and dark.  Turns out that was a great decision.  It started drizzling as we approached the city of Ica, the first time since 1992 that it rained in the desert (according to RobC, who gathers details like that).  It's the little black cloud that has been following me around.  Anyway, the drizzle brought up all the grime on the road and it was slippery like ice ... literally.  We passed a jackknifed semi truck that slide out of control.  Didn't dare touch the front brakes.  Found a nice hotel near the Plaza for 50 soles a night (18 USD).  Beautiful spot!

RobC:  The region surrounding the city of Ica was hit by an earthquake (7.9 on the Richter scale) on August 15, 2007. In Ica, only one church was left standing and 60 percent of the private homes were destroyed. These homes were mostly made of mud bricks (adobes). During the last three years the Peruvian government has been rebuilding the schools and the hospitals, but the promised help for rebuilding private homes has not been forthcoming and many people are still living under reed-mat roofs. Additionally, the price of bricks, cement, rebar and roofing has more than doubled since the earthquake.

RobT:  Day 56.  Today I decided to try to book a flight over the Nazca lines from Ica instead of traveling the 2 hours by road to Nazca, then doubling back to head northeast to Ayacucho the next day.  I went to the Ica Airport where they had a provider, but it was going to be expensive because the flight to the Nazca lines is longer.  Also, the rates had gone up due to a recent plane crash that grounded 10 of the 13 providers in  Nazca.  RobC set it all up, but didn't participate because he had seen the lines before and he wasn't very fond of being tossed around the aircraft cabin as it banks from side to side to give all customers a good view of the lines.

Some of the mountains along the desert.  You can see how the sand seems to consume the mountains.

From the Cessna 206 at 7000 feet on the way to the Nazca lines.

Panamerican Highway though the coastal desert.

The Humming Bird.

The Astronaut.

The Condor.

The Spider.

That's the Panamerican Highway at the top with an observation tower where you can see a couple of the figures from the ground.

 The Hands

After spending some of my life flying, you would figure this flight would be a piece of cake .... I felt pretty sick afterwards.  Needed to lie down, but what cured it was a beer.

After the `nap` it was off to the sand dunes for an adrenaline fix.  RobC has done this before and warned me it was an awesome ride!!

 The road to the Huacachina Oasis where we boarded the dune buggies.

There they are, awesome machines with V-8 engines and 14 pounds of tire pressure.

 The dunes.

RobC on top of the world.

Getting ready for sand boarding.

José and Ivonne with RobC.  Very nice couple we got to know; José from Spain and Ivonne from Peru.

The long ride down the dune on a board.  AWESOME!  ... remember to wear your goggles and close your mouth.

Sand boarding.

Toward the end RobC actually mustered up the courage, only to say later, "That was a piece of cake!"  Yup, that's the dune in the background that he came down.

Fashionable young lady, braking with her feet all the way down.

Ica tucked surrounded by sand dunes to the west - in fact, 50 kilometers (35 miles) of sand dunes to the Pacific Ocean.

That is SAND pouring out of Rob's WATER shoes.  I think he bought the wrong shoes.


  1. RobC, did Sinterklaas visit your grandchildren in Lima on Sunday, or has that tradition not survived in their generation?


  2. Ahhhhh.... I wanna go sandboarding!!!!! LOL! That looks like a total blast! Amazing landscape...

  3. Are those Nazca lines just for the tourists? Or the trademark of long lost aliens?

  4. Hi Dick, I am afraid that Sinteremikmak er helemaal bij ingeschoten is. Niemand geloofd er meer in. :-)