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20th April
written by Hazel

Once again I find myself trying to catch up with the blog.  We’re more than making up for taking it easy at the end of our time in Chile by racing around Peru like crazy.  We’ve had pretty much zero internet access, so I’ll at least make a start at getting caught up.

We flew from Santiago to Lima and had a nice smooth flight.  Honestly, we were a bit more apprehensive about Peru than the countries we have already been to since we have heard more stories about muggings, dangerous bus rides, etc.  So far though, it has been really great!  We had the hostel we were staying at send a good taxi to pick us up from the airport and were fairly glad we did since the airport is not in the best part of town.

The hostel we stayed at, Link Hostel, was great – helpful with recommendations, advice, booking help, pretty much everything.  It is in the Miraflores neighborhood of Lima which is a nice area with lots of restaurants and cafes and handicraft stores.  It’s also close to the beach.

Miraflores Area

The hostel also had the tallest bunk beds I have ever slept in!  We were in an 8 person dorm (they had really great built-in lockers, which makes dorms so much nicer) and both Justin and I got top bunks.  They were at least 8 feet off the ground.  I had to throw stuff up and down if I wanted it up there.  They were also some of the most comfy beds ever as long as you didn’t need to get in or out very often!

Church near the hostel

We had Peruvian style sandwiches for dinner and they were so, so delicious.  Justin’s had crispy fried pork, sweet potato and hot sauce as the main ingredients.  Really different tastes from the food in Chile.

The next day we got up and decided it was about time we figured out what we were doing in Peru.  We decided to head south (following the “gringo trail” which is the most common tourist route in Peru) and the hostel helped us book an overnight bus ticket for the same evening heading for Arequipa.  Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru and has a couple of things going for it.  It is close to the second deepest canyon in the world, which we wanted to see.  It is also a really good spot to adjust to higher elevation.  Our next destination, Cusco is at 11,150 feet and Arequipa is around 8,000 so it is good to spend a day or two there getting used to the thinner air.

Since we only had about 6 hours left in Lima we thought we would have a nice lunch of some traditional Peruvian dishes.  Lima is known for its food and we absolutely enjoyed trying it!  We had tiradito (which is raw fish and somewhere between ceviche and sashimi with 3 sauces – parmesan, yellow chili, and a red sauce that I can’t remember the name of) and a shrimp risotto in a yellow chili sauce and shared them both.  And they were both delicious!

Lunch comes with Corn Nuts! But they are way better than Corn Nuts.
Shrimp Risotto

After a quick walk by the beach we got a cab to the bus station to catch our bus to Arequipa.


Beach in Lima

We went with Cruz del Sur since we were told that they have the safest and nicest buses and they definitely took security seriously.  They had a metal detector wand they ran over people before they could get on the bus and then take photos of each person before the bus leaves.  There’s no hopping off to run to the bathroom either – they don’t make any stops where you can get off unless it’s an emergency.  Our trip was long (15 hours) but uneventful and the next morning we arrived in Arequipa.

Our time there was short and pretty uneventful since we left for a tour early the morning after we arrived, but we did manage to score a 3 course meal for about US$2.50.  Peru is definitely cheaper than Chile and Argentina!  The traffic and driving is also much crazier!  We took a few photos, especially of the white buildings made out of volcanic sillar, but mostly used the time to hang out at the hostel and catch up on sleep.  These long bus rides may save the price of a hostel for the night, but it’s not the same as sleeping in a bed!


Main square and traffic

Cathedral in Arequipa

Soup is absolutely always absolutely delicious in Peru

Up next…Holy Week, friendly Canadians, the second deepest canyon in the world, and the worst tour of the trip so far!

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