Huanchaco, as I mentioned before was a really nice place to spend time. In fact one of the nicest places that we have visited in Peru. Of course we’ll see more on the way North so let’s hope for the best. Our accommodations were well priced at about 10 bucks for a huge room, hot shower, internet and kitchen on the roof. We enjoyed dessert in the afternoon and ceviche in the evening, with beer of course. A sunset walk on the beach with locals playing soccer and a warm Pacific breeze made Huanchaco a place we will return to.
The Northern part of the Panamerican should be rightly named the Road of Garbage. That all changes after Lima but until then it stinks and is utterly depressing. With a lack of alternate scenery the garbage really stands out too. There was more than one occasion when we drove past people with trucks on the side of the road chucking their garbage into the ditches. I guess the lucky part of having a coast made of desert is that there are no rivers to throw your garbage into. Garbage doesn’t belong on the side of the road jerkies!
The road South is long and dusty, the temperatures range from about 5 degrees Celsius to 25 Celsius and as much as you are riding through thousands of kilometres of barren region the landscape can change quite dramatically. We spent the next evening, having increased our average daily kilometres to 400, in some port at a scurvy hotel. The hotel was poorly run but was the only place with rooms in town and it had a garage. The place reeked of urine and the first room we went in was reminiscent of a two bit brothel fully stocked with wall mirrors and slippery spots on the wall. We ended up with a better room but the pink paint and dingle balls are still stained into my mind.
After that we were making good time, we hit Lima in the early afternoon just as planned, and passed the city of 7 million people with ease. In fact it was a lot easier than we had imagined and heard. Of course it should have been the highlight of insanity compared to Colombia…lol….but it wasn’t. We stopped in a small town called Asia, looking for water and planning to find a place to stay, this is when awesome happened.
Deya went inside the store and I sat outside with the bikes. As I waited a fellow walked out of the store and towards me. We started to talk, one he found out I was Canadian he said his friend in the car was Canadian and yelled, “Cody!” Another Canuck, I love those Canadians they are so friendly, seem a little cold at first but they tend to warm up with time;-) We talked briefly when Carmelo asked me where we were staying and I said I wasn’t sure. The invitation to stay at the beach house was taken with little hesitation and a lot of appreciation. We followed the boys back to the beach house in a gated community. It was safe, beautiful and a nice place to be.
Our new friends Carmelo (US/Peru) and Cody (Ontario, Canada) were old buddies. They were bachelors for a few weeks since some technical problems occurred and Carmelo’s family wasn’t able to come down at the same time as Cody. These things tend to have a way of working out though and we were able to fit right in. Carmelo is one of those class acts, the man has a heart of gold and tends to put in your hand if you stand there long enough. We had good food, talked about all sorts of stuff, visited some Haciendas which were stunning in their beauty, toured Lima which is a nicer city than I thought, temporarily rescued some puppies (Puppy Love), and interviewed a local company.
It was appropriate to head out but I have to say Thanks to Carmelo and Cody for taking us in, taking care of us and being our friends, your kindness will not be forgotten. We spent two days there so we had to make up some time. Our next destination was Huacachina, an actual Oasis.
Huacachina is cool, the hostels are reasonable and the Oasis looks nice. There are tonnes of cool activities we would do if we were going to stay, like sandboarding or renting dirt bikes to blast through the desert. There are other things to do but the place is also good for just hanging out, good food and pleasant people.
After the Oasis we saw the famous Nazca Lines, ha, the route to them was far more dramatic. Stayed in a cheap hotel with no functional toilet in Atico, many towns are all booked up with miners and slept like fish. The next day we found a great spot about 12 kilometres of the main road called Cocachacra, beautiful lodging (25 Soles), good food and the Cuy is only (25 Soles). We would also return here, safe quite, beautiful. The boarder town of Tacna has a nice board walk and plenty to offer for a night, great BBQ chicken but the accommodations are too pricy.
In general, The Panamerican through Peru is long, dusty, foggy, crazy, too many speed zones with cops lurking, boring and filled with garbage. On the plus it’s an easy ride, some interesting desert scenes, good road conditions, cops don’t really bother you if you follow the law, helpful people, easy to get through cities and fantastic helmet time.
Chile starts now…