Peru: South of Lima (aka Screaming towards Bolivia!)

After our adventures in the mountains, it was back to the coast for sand and cities.

And we kinda fell in love with the trucks in Peru. I mean, how can you not smile at this wild mop top rolling down the street?

This one has been dubbed the Jon Bon Jovi, circa 1985. 

The David Lee Roth 1988. 

We tucked ourselves into a small deserted rv park on the edge of the lagoon just north of Lima. 

The avian inhabitants were a little wary of their new two-legged neighbors. With good reason, after a day in the car our kids were crazed Mexican jumping beans.

Peru challenged our family. The long driving days took their toll on everyone. Too much time cooped up in a small camper makes everyone crabby. If I had to do this trip over, I’d have not rushed us quite so much in Peru.

The resort was deserted; the kids let off a little steam and we settled in for the night.

Hot cocoa restores everyone’s spirits. 

We’d been told horror stories about the traffic in Lima: always bad, always crazy. After a calm night at the lagoon, we were ready to face the the metropolis.

It was…manageable! I won’t say it was the easiest driving we’ve done but perhaps not the worst, either. I don’t have any pictures because I was too busy being a fabulous backseat driver. 🙂

Once free of the city we stopped in for lunch and groceries and then continued south to Ica, and the small outpost of Huacachina.

 

Huacachina is known for the small natural lake that lies in the midst of vast surrounding sand dunes. Dune buggies are the primary mode of transportation on the sand but we took one look at the driving antics of the men behind the wheel(s) and decided that this was not an activity for young children (or people with bad necks/spines/etc).

We tried out sandboarding instead, with limited success. 

In the brochures it looks like a blast (of course) but our experience was a bit like watching paint dry: very very slow. Perhaps the campground’s freebie boards needed a new wax job. Has anyone had an exciting sandboarding session? I won’t write it off completely if you had a successful trip down a dune. 

 

Frankly, the most entertaining part of the dunes is madly throwing oneself down the face of the slope.


Recommendations 

Campgrounds (North of Lima)

Camping Albufera Medio Mundo. Outside of Barranca District. We thought this was a very nice, very quiet spot for the night before facing the rigors of Lima. We liked that it was an established campground and that there was plenty of places for the kids to run around. We were literally the only guests on the property and the restaurant was closed. It felt very secure. That said, I just read back through the iOverlander posts and one guest who visited around the same time was robbed by three armed men during the night….so perhaps not as secure as we felt?! I wonder what happened to the security guard at the gate.

Campgrounds (South of Lima)

In hindsight, I wished we’d skipped Ica in favor of the coast: Paracas looks lovely (and quieter!) than the sand madness that is Ica/Huacachina. That said, we did like Ecocamp Huacachina, which was directly on the dunes and had a level spot for us to put up for the night. You basically set up camp in their paved parking lot so there is lots of foot traffic plus the sounds of 100 dune buggies roaring right outside, but it was actually a great spot staffed by friendly folk.

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