From Impérial to Ayacucho – 5 days – 89 metres above sea level

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During a travel, there are sometimes places where time seems to be stopped. At Oscar’s, the seconds seems suspended like the bunches of grapes in his garden.
The riding day was pretty hard due to Lima crossing.
Therefore, when the metallic gates of this pretty house started to open, a fairy tale started. Immediately, Oscar knew how to make us happy. He offered us a welcome Pisco drink and spoke a little bit in French. Then, we had the time to stroll in the vineyard. A nice walk which was the excuse to speak about grape varieties, the work of vine and the production of this nice drink which is the Pisco. This traditional Peruvian alcohol is mainly made in the Ica region in the South of Lima. It’s made by distillation of grapes like brandy or cognac, but without the age if in wooden casks.

We’re leaving Oscar and Imperial to head to the Paracas desert.
This one is alongside the Pacific Ocean at the South of Pisco, a seaside city. Over a superficy of 3 350 km2, its sandy dunes are playing with the horizon line before to reach the sea from the top of the cliffs height of tens of metres. In the middle of the park, a beach with a bloody red colour stops the continuity of the cliffs. This colour is due to the volcanic activities and the erosion of the red mountains around. A few kilometres further, waves have dug in the rocks which is named today the cathedral of the desert. At the origin, this rock was attached to the cliff with an arch which fell down in 2007 further a earthquake.
We carry on the road in the vineyards growing as far as we can see between the Pisco farms. We reach the Huacachina oasis, a little touristic haven around an artificial lake, just few kilometres away from the Ica city.
In the oasis, there are many superficial things, but around there are dunes as far as we can see. The local attraction which is a buggy tour in the dunes at the sunset time, is tempting us. In spite of the rubbish in the sand, the view is beautiful and these fire colours are warming up our spirits. Between the photos and the jumps in the dunes with the buggy, we try sandboarding. We are a bit confident with our previous snowboarding experiences in the Alpes. But when they gave us the wooden board with only velcro to attach our feet, we quickly understood that won’t be easy. Indeed, we lied to go down the hill on a very steep hill over tens of metres.

After a few sandy hills, we took back our hiking shoes on the Peruvian asphalte towards Ayacucho. New landscape, we are back in the mountains. The loops are making the altimeter crazy as it’s indicating quickly 2 000 metres. The mountains offers beautiful colours and we have a little breeze until Ayacucho.

This city, with an exotic name, kept its colonial architecture in the historic town centre. It’s also famous for its 37 churches.

We are enjoying strolling in the streets with a homemade ice cream in one hand. These ice creams are made from milk by the farmers of the surrounded mountains. They sell their milk prepared with cinnamon and coconut before to freeze it in a big saucepan over a bowl full of ice cubes. We leave Ayacucho behind us and are going towards the discovery of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of Incas.

Where to sleep ?

La Viña de Oscar
Fundó Santa Adela, Nuevo Imperial, San Vicente de Cañete

Going out of the borough of Lima, towards Pisco. La Viña de Oscar offers us the possibility to rest in its nice garden and to enjoy the tranquility of the place. Oscar will know how to welcome you and will enjoy telling you about his passion for the wine and grapes.
Where for a snack?

D’marce Café
Jr. ricardo palma 340, Andahuaylas

After a rainy day, we allowed ourselves a small snack in a tea room on the main square of the city. After climbing up the stairs to go in the room, we find a cosy room with pretty Christmas decorations. For the first time during this month of December, we are feeling this warm atmosphere of this festive season while it’s raining heavily outside. The cherry on the cake? Slices of cakes, teas and coffees are delicious!

From Cancas to the Laguna Parón – 10 days – 23 metres above sea level

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Crossing this border next to the Pacific coast was fast and quite simple. The organisation is well-proven, the desk of Ecuador and Peruvian migrations are face to face and in the same room. Once we got our visas, we needed to go to the customs desk which is in the same building, to import the vehicles. 

The SOAT, insurance which allows riding in Ecuador, is the document which will take the most of our time. In spite of the desk being in the same building, we didn’t have any Soles (Peruvian currency) in our wallets to pay the insurance. The only bank at the border being out of service, we went to Tumbes (25kms away) to get our first Peruvian coins before to go back to the border to get the SOAT. 

Then, we went back on the road towards South, next to the Cancas city where Cio and Beto were expecting us. We went alongside the Pacific Ocean at the dusk, and enjoyed to see the endless blue of the ocean. 

During three days, we have enjoyed daily to have sandy foots and to watch the horizon.  We enjoyed some tasty Ceviche and Tiradito in the restaurant of our hosts and fully enjoyed the idyllic surroundings to recharge our batteries. 

As everything comes to an end, to be able to enjoy the next unforgettable moments, we went back on the Pan-american Highway to go down towards South. Our stops allowed us to discover the secrets of the Pre-Inca by visiting the tomb of the Lord of Sipan in Layambeque and the Chan-Chan city in Trujillo.

After this, we arrived in Huanchaco. Here, the waves hit powerfully and daily the pier. The spot is famous for the local surfers but also by many backpackers coming to test the reputation of this Peruvian wave. 

Besides the surf and the waves, we will remember this stop for an improvised pizza night when we shared tips, good deals and good addresses with five other couples travelling South of America, from North to South or South to North. 

After a nice evening with the gentle sound of the waves lapping the shore, we are heading to the mountains and the National Park of Huscaran.

To go there, after a stop in the city of Santa with nothing exciting, we are using a small road in a canyon to reach Caraz. The turns are one after another one, the landscape is beautiful and worths largely the stressing moments on this narrow road when a truck is coming on the other way. At the end of the tunnels, Caraz city is welcoming us. We will spend two days there to change the oil of the sidecars after 5000kms done. 

Once the sidecars ready, we are heading to the Laguna Parón. This natural lake with a turquoise colour will show up only after an ascent of 34 kilometres on a rocky path with uncountable curves. We will spend three hours to reach the summit. 

But again, what a show! We will spend  the night on our own, in front of this beautiful lake. The next day, before to go down, we did a nice hike alongside the lagoon, before to fall in love with the blue-turquoise colour and to dive in this water at 6 degrees (estimation did on the last bathings in Brittany). 

Once warmed up, the descent towards the civilization will be done with the engine switch off to continue the adventure towards South. 


Where to eat ?

Majariscos Canoas de Punta Sal
Carretera Panamerica Norte 1196, Canoas

With sandy feet, looking the horizon, a sunset over the Pacific Ocean in the background ; the Majariscos restaurant offers idyllic surroundings to enjoy the best Ceviche of the area (and maybe of all the country!).

Where to sleep ?

Casa de Amelia
Avenida Victor Larco Herrera 1150, Huanchaco

The travel and the encounters are keys in the project of the Casa de Amélia. A small hostel by the sea in the town centre of Huanchaco. This friendly hostel without pretension has three small rooms and welcomes vans of travelers. The conviviality is key in the outside shared areas including the living room, the kitchen, and the wood fired pizza oven.