If we haven’t said it already, I’ll say it now, this trip keeps getting better and better the further south we go. We loved Lima, right up there with Medellin and Mexico City as our favorite cities of the trip. Lima, however, has the best food, a beautiful coast and so many cool spots to explore nearby, that it just might be my favorite.
The fun thing about driving our huge camper van is figuring out where we are going to stay when we go into large cities. Luckily, there always seems to be an option, and we found an awesome hostel that has a parking lot for car camping right in the best part of Lima. We also discovered that the best pisco bar in the city was next door, and nothing tastes better than a proper Pisco Sour.
Whenever Jenine and I stop in a city for a week, we try to combo it with spanish classes, so we signed up for 20 more hours of lessons. I also dropped in to two cross fit classes and found out how much muscle strength I’ve lost. I’m about 15 pounds lighter than when I left SF.
The spanish school we lucked into, Peruwayna, was the best we’ve been to so far in our trip and the dinners and pisco sours we had at night lived up to the hype. Many of the best restaurants in South America are in Lima, and we loved it. If the weather was a little better and the traffic a little lesson insufferable, Lima would be a candidate place to call home.
After a fantastic week living the good city life and speaking better Spanish, we pulled out to head south. I wanted to try surfing along the coast and we wanted to check out a national park/reserve in the South with fantastic kiteboarding that we had been hearing so much about called Paracas. The first surf spot we stopped at was Punta Rocas about 1.5 hours south of Lima. This is a big wave spot that hosts the ISA World Surfing games. When we were there, it was huge for me (10ft), and the surfers out in the water were on very long surf boards called “guns” because you need the extra length of board to generate enough speed to get into these waves. I gave it my best shot, but I got crushed, and came in as a powerful wave wipe me out across the rocks…. The next morning, I told Jenine let’s just get down to Paracas and see if the kiteboarding and the national park there would treat me better.
Paracas was everything I hoped it would be and more. Paracas is a term in Peru meaning “Sand Storm” and the wind here was pretty legendary. Paracas is a small upscale resort town with a few hotels, an incredible national park, and a fantastic kiteboarding school (Kangaroo Kite). We decided to camp for a few nights in the parking on the beach by the kite school, just outside the national reserve. Jenine was happy to be able to do Yoga at the school in the mornings before the winds came. Overall Kangaroo Kite was amazing to us, definitely want to come back to visit them again.
Additionally, we spent a few days inside the actual national reserve of Paracas. The park has incredible sand dunes and cliffs right on the ocean. Our pictures sort of describe the place, but the reality is it was unlike any place I’ve ever seen. We met a lovely family from Bend Oregon here that are traveling for a year with their two sons and all of their kiteboarding gear. They had us over for dinner one night at their rental house and we all kiteboarded together during the day. It was really fun sharing this time with them. It’s crazy when we think about all the people we’ve met on this trip. It may be just for a day or two, but it is really great to share the experience of traveling with others.
On the final day that we were there, a massive “Paracas” or sand storm came through. There was so much sand blowing on the beach that you couldn’t even see the water from shore. Most of the kiters could not go out, but luckily I have a super small kite perfect for these conditions. I was one of the only people kiting in the 30mph+ winds, and I had the time of my life.
Paracas, you are on the list of places we want to return to…
More pics of our time on the southern coast of Peru: