After a short ride on PeruHop from Paracas, we arrived in Huacachina mid afternoon. Most of the travelers on the bus followed the recommended schedule of immediately joining a tour to the sand dunes and then they would depart the following morning. Keeping to our slower pace, we planned an extra night which allowed us to push the tour to the following day. Because Will was still recovering from being sick, this really worked in our favor.
We grabbed a room at PeruHop’s recommended hostel, Casa de Arena Lodge, and tried to relax before finding dinner. We were immediately uncomfortable in our room due to a strong stench of paint fumes. We noticed an employee was spray painting the banister outside of our room and the gaps in the window were inviting the fumes into our room. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
At the main dock in Puerto Ayora, we took a water taxi to board our ferry to Isabela Island. We were surprised to find the boat, Gaby, was barely larger than the small boat that took us scuba diving the day prior. The boat was completely full with every inch of space occupied by bodies. They handed out life jackets to each passenger and we headed out to sea. About thirty minutes into the two hour journey, the captain slowed down the engines with a concerned look on his face. After turning off the engines, he motioned for the passengers sitting along the back to move and he began to inspect one of the three engines. After a ten minute inspection, we noticed that the caption appeared to be changing filters. He put the engine back together and we again headed towards Isabela. About twenty minutes later, a different engine began smoking. Continue reading
We ended the Galapagos tour onboard Darwin Yacht before 10am in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. We had a rough plan of staying in town for a few days to go scuba diving and then wanted to head to another inhabited island for exploring on our own. While walking the main street in town, we stopped at several scuba diving shops which all seemed very similar. We decided to focus on finding a place to stay and use wifi to research the different dive companies. I’m glad we did because several of the companies have very negative online reviews stating that safety was compromised. We found the top rated company, Tip Top Dive, which turned out to just be a training center but they recommended that we dive with Scuba Iguana. We signed up for a trip to Gordon Rocks leaving the following morning.
Gordon Rocks is known for schools of hammerhead sharks and we were excited for the possibility to see some. We had about an hour ride to the dive site in a small speed boat. We first stopped at the Plaza Islands where we did a short dive to test our equipment. We were excited to learn that we would be in small groups with only four people per dive master. During the briefing for the dives, the dive masters informed us that they wanted to maximize down time so offered to share air with the first person to run low but that it was only an option, not a requirement. Neither Will or I considered this a safe practice but did not feel pressured to participate. Continue reading