6 Weeks in Peru - Part 6
Updated: Jan 13
Sacred Valley & Paracus
We had an early walk around Pisac and found some great gifts to take home for family and friends.
We left Pisac about 10am and caught a taxi through the Sacred Valley to Ollantaytambo, which is a small, lovely town, and it’s where the train leaves for Machu Picchu. As you can imagine, it is very touristy but the town has kept its Inca traditions. Most of the streets and house foundations were built by the Incas and it has a lovely feel about it. We returned to the restaurant that we visited last time we were in Ollantaytambo that serves world class food presented on stone plates and bowls. We ate there for lunch and dinner for the time we were in town because it was so good. The picture is of an entree of mushroom kebabs which we shared as a main because the servings were big.
We had a quiet day in Ollantaytambo walking around checking out the town. It was election day for regional governments. The locals all came to town dressed in their traditional dress which was great to see because they are proud that they are a democracy. Unfortunately, corruption is holding back the country because there are so many political parties and they each only care about their supporting voters, not the country as a whole. It was a noisy night with the young folks partying and drinking the local spirit, Pisco, and there was loud music and fireworks until the early hours of the morning.
We caught a taxi from Ollantaytambo to Cusco and flew to Lima for the night. We went back to the restaurant where we went with our friends the last time in Lima and once again the food was amazing.
The next morning, we caught the early bus to Paracas, down the coast about 3.5 hrs for 2 days. The bus was very comfortable as we had VIP seats. We went to Paracus because of the National Park and the Ballestas Islands. The trip down the coast is not pretty and the beaches are not safe for swimming but there are resorts and vegetable farms. It doesn’t look like the farms and resorts are sustainable because of their water and fertiliser usage. In between it is desert.
Lorraine really wanted to see Flamingos and we were told we would see them in the National Park. We went into a booking office to book me in for the Ballestas Islands tour and a National Park tour for both of us the next day. The lady in the office said we could see Flamingos if we walked along the beachfront so off we went along the beach. About 4km later we finally saw about 15 flamingos foraging on the shoreline.
The coastline is desert, but the ocean is alive because of the Humboldt Current that brings cold, nutrient rich water which fires up the anchovy fishery. The anchovies eat plankton and are the start of the food chain, so the birds and bigger fish eat them. If Climate Change changes these major world currents, that disperse heat and nutrients around the world, it will have enormous environmental impacts.
I did the Ballestas Island boat tour at 8am to 10am to beat the wind that starts to blow about 11am and is really cold as it is straight from the Antarctic. The islands are known as the Peruvian Galapagos Islands because of the birdlife and sea life. I saw Penguins, Seals and Blue Footed Boobies and hundreds of thousands of seabirds.
We arranged a National Park private tour for 11am for 3hrs. The views were amazing, but the wind was strong and freezing. The best way to describe the landscape is stark, with no vegetation and reddish sandhills. We had a seafood lunch at a small, protected cove where the fishermen anchored their boats and only supply about 6 local restaurants because it was in the National Park.
We were supposed to leave Paracas at 2pm, but the bus was an hour late and we were not given a reason. Arrived after dark in Lima. We tried a different restaurant and once again had great food.
We left for the airport at 12pm for the 1hr drive to the airport and the 28hrs of travelling back home. Coming back across the international date line we left on a Friday and arrived back on the Sunday 2 days later! Taxi, 3 flights with stop overs, then drive home. It’s a long way!
The places we visited marked on the map in yellow.