An early morning flight from Quito brought us to Lima mid-day. After settling into our hostel, Kokopelli, we attended to our laundry, visited a supermarket, and had an early night watching a movie from our portable library. We had a slow start the following morning while planning our stay in Lima and our upcoming month in Peru.
Just as we were gathering our things for an afternoon walk, Will said that we had to go in a rushed tone. I looked towards him at the window and saw smoke billowing past. As we quickly gathered our valuables (passports and electronics), I opened the door to find hostel employees rushing through the halls with fire extinguishers. We went downstairs and out to the street below before the employees were able to force the fire alarm to sound. From the street, we could see that all the smoke was escaping from the Irish pub situated below half of the hostel. Immediately, local police were clearing the area in front of the restaurant and stopped traffic from passing through the block. We watched as other travelers evacuated the hostel and additional employees entered the pub with fire extinguishers. When the fire trucks arrived about 10 minutes after we evacuated, the smoke seemed to be dissipating. The fully equipped responders entered the pub with basic tools such as axes and only took a short time to sweep the building. When they exited with their masks in their hands, we breathed a sigh of relief. And just as quickly as it started, the fire trucks left the street and the police lifted the road blocks – crisis adverted!
With packed lunches in hand, we set out for an afternoon on the coast. I had visited Peru for work several years ago and had remembered the stunning coastline so wanted to share it with Will. Previously, I had spent time watching paragliders ride parallel to the skyline and it left an impression with me. We headed to the park where the gliders launch only to find a calm day was keeping them grounded. We inquired about prices hopeful the weather might improve during our stay but it never did. We did though have a wonderful walk down the newly renovated coastline complete with gardens and viewpoints.
That evening, we signed up for a food tour to get a taste of Peruvian cuisine. For this tour, we paid a set price that included four courses and three drinks along seven stops. We had a crab soup which evolved as different toppings were added, the group loved eating cow heart, and we were all surprised by the complexity of a health drink mixed up on the street. Besides trying amazing food, the tour was a lot of fun with laughs like a night out with friends. Typical of the other tours we’ve encountered in South America, Will was the only guy besides the guide. We joined two friends traveling from Germany and a Scottish transplant traveling from Australia. All three had already visited Cusco and Machu Picchu plus our guide had lived in Cusco after traveling around for several years so we took the opportunity to get advice for the upcoming weeks. The tour finished at a craft brewery but unfortunately the beer was nothing the write home about. After the last stop, our guide was kind enough to escort us all back to the neighborhood with our hostels. The local bus did not have published routes and without speaking Spanish it would be hard for us to ask for help so his assistance was much appreciated. Overall, we were very happy with the tour.
The next morning, we finalized our plans. We saw PeruHop advertised in the hostel and learned it was a hassle free bus to Cusco. It includes small tourist stops, has optional tours and overnights in towns along the way. A single ticket purchase allows for a full year to complete the route making it easy to explore at our pace. We planned for five days in Paracas, two in Huacachina, and four in Arequipa to arrive in Cusco about two weeks after leaving Lima.
That afternoon, we returned to the coast to watch a stunning sunset. Wanting something quick, we grabbed dinner at La Lucha which is a lovely little sandwich shop that also has fresh smoothies. We skipped the smoothie though and visited my favorite frozen yogurt place, Pinkberry, which we found next door. It was a nice last night in Lima before starting our bus journey to Paracas the following morning.