Here we are, the second country in our mini round-the-world adventure!
Our time in Lima got off to a pretty slow start. We arrived at midnight on Good Friday and after the 45 minute drive from the airport, checked into the Blue House Hostel. As soon as we dropped our bags we were online, looking for an alternative place to stay. I´m not sure if it was urine, old body sweat from prior guests, or the fact there wasn´t a window in the “room”, but the odor was almost unbearable. Luckily there was just enough light to marvel at the peeling paint, bugs and weird mold color scheme that crawled up the walls.
After an hour of research we accepted the fact that we would have to lay on the musky beds for the three hours it would take to be morning. Out came the sleeping bag liners and the pillow cases that had been stuffed at the bottom of our bags and all but forgotten. There was no way I was touching those beds.
At first light I woke Bret up and we were out the door to find a new place to crash. We stopped by a hostel a couple of minutes away and they had one last private room available. Of course I had to check out our options so we walked to another hostel about ten minutes away, only to find they had no beds open. They did, however, have a restaurant so we stopped in for what we thought would be a quick breakfast. An hour later we headed back to the first hostel we looked at.
It turns out Peru is a world-class arena for highly skilled “Slug Bug” competitors. With anywhere from two to five VW bugs every three to four blocks, it’s a great way to ensure your traveling partner is keeping their head on a swivel.
On the way back we spotted a couple of backpackers heading the same way. Knowing the place we wanted had only one room left, we picked up the pace. We all ended up at the hostel door at the same time but the other couple made it to the front desk before us. They asked for a private room but luckily the girl at the front desk remembered us and asked if we still wanted the room. Phew! We didn´t have to spend another night at the Blue House!!
We were dog tired by that time and our room wasn’ t going to be available until later in the afternoon so we went for a walk around the neighborhood of Miraflores.
Miraflores is pretty much the Beverly Hills of Lima. It is the financial area of Lima with wide, tree-lined streets, an awesome walkway along the top of the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a big outdoor/indoor mall, large hotels and plenty of restaurants and cafés. It also has guards on every other street corner to ensure the safety of the area.
Most of our time was spent in Miraflores, especially along the cliff tops where there are countless parks, a spot to watch parasailing and to marvel at the stunning sunset each night.
We also spent time in Central Lima, which had some nice areas. For some reason we went to the presidential palace and watched the changing of the guards. We lasted about twenty minutes into that ceremony before we got bored. For the most part we both found Central Lima a little too hectic, hot and humid, especially after spending time in Miraflores.
Before arriving in Peru we had heard from other travelers about the fantastic food and we were pretty excited for that after coming from Colombia. While there were many opportunities for Ceviche in Lima, we decided to check out La Canta Rana in the Barranco neighborhood. We were not disappointed! Even I was digging in! Ceviche washed down with a Pisco Sour – what more do you need?
After five days in Lima, we felt we were ready to move on and booked the 19 hour bus to Mancora in Northern Peru. For about $18 more per ticket, we decided on riding VIP. That got us on the lower level of a double-decker bus in lazy-boy like chairs that decline almost to a full bed, dinner (which was questionable), a ham sandwich for breakfast and a hand towel! VIP all the way!
Portrayed to us as ¨The place where people get stuck¨, Mancora is a small little beach town on the northern coast of Peru. It is comprised of a single main street and a side street that leads to the beach. It is packed full of restaurants, bars, and hostels.
As soon as we arrived (after our 19 hour bus ride) it was easy to see how some people could spend a little more time than intended. It has a great beach with some surfing and kite boarding available, the nightlife is apparently pretty dope (we only got to go out one night, I was shitting my brains out the rest of the time we were in Mancora… though manageable to get out, club/bar bathrooms are not where you want to be spending extended amount of time), and there is always a sign hanging up behind the hostel bar asking for help. We met an Argentinian that had been working at our hostel for 6 months.
We both decided that if we didn´t have some what of a timetable we might have stayed longer. However, Mancora didn´t claim us as victims and we pushed on south after four days of laying on the beach, drinking many beers and hanging toilet-side.