Many of you already know this, but for those who are new to my blog my husband and I just returned from Peru. We booked an 18 – 30 group tour because I knew I’d be lost in Peru with my limited Spanish speaking ability. LBW Travel took care of all the bus transfers, accommodations, and most of the activities for us. This was my first travel experience with this company and I already know I’ll be back for another adventure next year!
Company: LBW Travel
Tour: Wonders of Peru
Length of Tour: 20 Days (+ a few days for travel)
I’ve shared quite a few pictures on my Instagram but I have lots more to show you guys! Let’s start from the beginning shall we?
We booked our own flights to Lima. The flights weren’t too bad, we arrived at the airport around 6am and departed at 8am for the Houston airport. We spent four hours in Houston wandering the airport before transferring to Lima. We flew with United airlines which I was really nervous about given all the negative media attention the airline has been receiving. I didn’t need to be worried at all, I was floored by the service we received on the plane.
We were provided with blankets, pillows, and two different selections for dinner. They also kept us hydrated throughout the flight by offering us a beverage almost every hour. United also has FREE television and free headphones! I watched five episodes of Westworld on the plane ride to Lima! I normally fly Air Canada but I’ll avoid Air Canada like the plague now that I’ve flown United. You get nada with Air Canada.
When we arrived to Lima at 11:30pm our guides were waiting for us at the airport. We met a few more people from the tour and piled into a van that would take us to the Flying Dog Miraflores Hostel. Unfortunately there was a mix up with the rooms we booked and LBW had somehow put Mike & I down as siblings instead of a married couple and had booked us into separate dorms. That was frustrating for us as I had specifically asked about the room arrangements prior to booking and we were assured we’d get our own room. LBW was great about fixing their mistake though and shuffled people around the next day so that we could have our own space.
Technically the arrival date wasn’t day 1 of the tour. We arrived a day early so we’d have the full day in Lima to explore and meet the rest of the people on the tour. We walked across the well named Cat Park for continental breakfast the first morning. The park was literally full of cats! Cats everywhere! It was a dream come true for me, not going to lie. Next we met up with a few people from our group and walked down to the beach!
It was incredibly foggy. We could have gone surfing or something like that but we decided to save it until the end of the tour since we would have a couple of days to spare in Lima at the very end. We walked down the beach and saw lots of little sea shells and crabs chilling out on the rocks!
Afterwards we went to check out the Huaca Pucllana Ruins. The excavation site contained a pyramid of pre inca burial tombs. The guide took us through a short maze of walls build out of mud bricks. He explained about how gaps were left between bricks in order to compensate for the shock of earth quakes. We were then taken up to the top of the pyramid to learn about how the pre incas buried their dead. A bit morbid really, but it was fascinating.
In the evening our LBW guide took us on a little tour through the Miraflores district of Lima. We were taken to a fruit market where we got to eat Cherimoya, a fruit that grows mostly on the North Western outskirts of South America and through Central America. It was one of the best fruits I have ever tasted, I miss it so much already now that we’re home!
Our guide surprised us with a free dance class. I’m not a dancer so this was out of my comfort zone but but it was fun to try out some dance moves from another culture.
My dinner was a soy sauce based noodle dish. It was good, but I kept getting little tastes of cilantro, which is one of my least favourite foods on the planet. I didn’t realize it was so popular in South America! Afterwards it was time to head back to the hostel. Many of the group went out clubbing after dinner but that’s not really our thing so we stayed in.
The next morning it was already time to leave Lima behind. We were picked up by a Peru Hop tour bus which was going to take us to our next destination, Huacachina, with a few stops along the way.
Highway Bread Oven
Our first stop was a coffee and sandwiches shop along the high way known as the Highway Bread Oven by the tourists. The bread oven was incredibly busy, and for good reason. The sandwiches and the coffee were both really great as well as inexpensive. Our guides had to help us order because the workers at the shop didn’t speak English. I got an avocado sandwich for 4 sols, which translates into approximately $1.75 CAD. My husband ordered the Don Bruno Chicken Special for 2.50 sols. He told me afterwards he wished he had ordered two more it was that good!
Hacienda San Jose Slave Tunnels
Our next stop was a beautiful estate built in the 1600’s. The family who owned it became extremely wealthy by building slave tunnels before constructing the estate on top and then using those tunnels to smuggle slaves in from the Sea to avoid paying taxes on them. Our guide took us through the tunnels.
There were some chambers that contained old bones (I’m not sure if they were real or for show). The ceilings were sloped and the ground uneven. Many parts of the tunnels had caved in long ago due to earthquakes. If you are claustrophobic these tunnels would not be a good place for you, especially when you think about how many slaves were chained and hid inside the tunnel chambers.
Huacachina is well known in Peru for it’s night life as well as for the towering sand dunes. It’s a little town surrounding an oasis in the middle of the desert. It was one of the places I was most excited for on the trip! We arrived in Huacachina in the afternoon and had time to check into the Carola Hostel before heading out in a dune buggy! The Hostel was really nice actually, it felt more like a hotel than the hostel in Lima did. This was the only location that we had a pool at our hostel during the trip. We made sure to enjoy it!
We also noticed that there were dogs literally every where in Huacachina. They were really friendly too, they just followed tourists around and took naps wherever they could be near us. This little guy was taking a snooze by the pool.
We had about an hour to settle in at the hostel before the dune buggies arrived to pick us up. Our guide told us that he specifically booked us the craziest drivers in Huacachina. Little did we know he was right! I don’t have photos of the ride itself because it was honestly so insane that I would have lost my phone had I pulled it out! It’s like a roller coaster ripping up and down the dunes, I was half convinced I was about to die the whole time. It was exhilarating though!
Eventually our drivers stopped at the top of a dune so we could take photos and strap into our sand boards. The view was spectacular, I felt like I was in Aladdin! Wrong part of the world, I know, but I had never seen a desert in my life before so that movie was pretty much all I had to base it off of. I don’t think I’ve ever posted a photo of my husband and I together on the blog, so here you go!
This is the “bunny hill” of the sand dunes! Unfortunately the boards straps were too big my feet so I couldn’t strap in properly. Most of us made it work by boarding down on our stomachs! The rest of the dunes were rather terrifying because you go down so fast!
That evening our hostel hosted an all you can eat & drink BBQ for 32 sols each. It was a great price (about $15CAD each), there was a lot of food and three separate cocktails that were on free refill for the duration of the meal. We took advantage of this while it lasted before hiking up a sand dune behind out hostel for a bonfire. Day 2 was a hit!