Sandboarding in Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina Desert Oasis, PeruAfter 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.

Casa de ArenaWe 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

Kiteboarding in Paracas, Peru

image My reason for visiting Paracas was simple – to spend time on the water kiteboarding. A friend we met in Vietnam gave us some tips on the best kiting places in Peru but unfortunatly we were not close to any of those reccomendations. After doing a little research in Lima, I found that Paracas had good steady winds. The PeruHop bus ticket we booked also stopped in Paracas which made it very convientent.

We left Lima early for the relitivly short journey south. Driving straight would only take about 4 hours but we made several stops at interesting tourist destinations which were included in the ticket. The first stop was Cristo del Pacifico where we had an amazing view over the city of Lima before heading out into the desert. Next, we stopped on the road overlooking Pachacamac, Limas version of Machu Picchu. The bus was was high enough to see over the wall barrier so we could see the ruins without paying the $25 entrance fee. The next major stop was at an old spanish colonial house (Hacienda San Jose in Chincha), but the real excitement was underneath. Descending a narrow staircase led to a maze of Continue reading

Exploring Isabela Island in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Isabela Island in the GalapagosAt 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. Galapagos inter island ferry engine repairAfter 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

Scuba Diving with Sharks in the Galapagos, Ecuador

Santa Cruz Island, Puerto Ayora HarborWe 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 Dive SiteGordon 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