Following a relaxed Xmas time in Arequipa, we still wanted to observe the Condors at Colca Cañon and then make our way southwards into Chile. Nach einer ruhigen Zeit in Arequipa hatte wir noch den Colca Cañon vor uns, wo die Chance, Kondore zu sichten, sehr gross war. Also machten wir uns auf den Weg dorthin, bevor wir dann entlang der Küste Perus auf Chile zusteuerten. Leaving Arequipa we drove back to Tambillo and turned north passing through Huacán and Huambo before we got to the the Cruz del Condor viewpoint above the Colca Cañon.
Peru has the highest Andes mountain peaks in South America - not surprisingly also the deepest Cañon in the world. Cañon de Cotahuasi is very remote and difficult to get to - and we did not expect the surprises along the way. Wenn wir schon die höchsten Gipfel der Anden bestaunen konnten, wollten wir uns den tiefsten Canyon der Welt nicht entgehen lassen -allerdings mit ein paar unerwarteten Überraschungen auf dem einsamen Weg dort hin. Once we had left Nasca we took Ruta 30A eastwards via Puquio, a road with many curves and wild Vicuñas grazing. Underway we met Axel & Erika in their bright yellow Unimog who are already travelling for 3 years with their dog. southern Viscacacha (chinchillas), cute with their curly tail. Cordillera de Huanzo mountains were clear, the snowing had stopped and within two hours of brilliant sunshine enough snow had melted for us to see the road again. We continued albeit a little nervous about further landslides as there was no oncoming vehicles we could ask. Grace Valley B&B with Diana and her mother running it and making us feel very welcome -especially since it was Xmas. Mitsui Toyota on short notice,a professionally run workshop with one assistant in sales speaking English to translate. We relaxed in the comfort of the client lounge with view of the workshops. Zigzag restaurant for Xmas dinner - an excellent suggestion. We toured the old city, had a haircut and looked for a laundry. The central plaza was abuzz with families showing their kids the nativity play - little Jesus was missing (it only appear on Xmas Eve after the mass).
Although the coastal area of Peru is mainly desert, we found a visit to the Paracas National Park attractive as it reminded us of our home country, Namibia. Having a closer look at the mysterious Nasca lines reminded us of books of Erich von Däniken we had read many years ago. So we decided to have a closer look. Ein Flug über die Nazca Linien klang reizvoll. Hatten wir doch über die von Däniken Theorien gelesen, dass diese Linien und Geoglyphen für oder von ausseridischen Wesen stammen könnten. The PanAm Sur to San Vicente de Cañete is a good stretch of highway with many holiday developments along it. It is close enough to Lima to be conveniently reached for weekends. Pisco. This area was hit by an earthquake during 2007 but most is reconstructed. The famous Pisco liqueur is distilled in this area and shops along the road offer many variants of it. Reserva Naçional de Paracas, then visited the small natural history museum past the entrance gate before exploring the coastal desert park itself. Laguna de Huacachina with plenty dune buggies racing on very high dunes - adrenalin galore for the visitors. The laguna itself looked rather dull and polluted. Nasca line formations that can be seen, albeit not very well. They were supposed to be the hands, the lizard and the tree. We could really only make out the hands(but had a good view from the air next day). Nazca and we could not but wonder, how they were made without an aerial view at the time, as they are really only clearly recognisable from the air. As we returned we had a glimpse of excavations dating back to the Nazca people and the entry points of the Cantalloc aquaducts built by the Nazca.
Note from the Editor: We have upgraded WordPress and suddenly all line breaks are omitted which makes the text difficult to read - we apologise for this inconvenience until we find a solution. . The northern coast of Peru is barren and mostly desert. Nevertheless it offers much to see in the form of museums,pyramids, temples and adobe cities of past civilisations. Die Nordküste Peru entlang des Pazifischen Oceans bietet viel Sehenswertes. Überreste vergangener Zivilisationen zeugen von Besiedelungen weit vor den Inkas und Moche. We left our favourite camping site Swiss Wassi at Zorritos where I tried to solve my Apple-harddrive storage problem without much success but got my backup drive operational again. Around Mancora We drove through Mancora, did essential shopping in Sullana, then drove via Piura and the Desierto de Sechura, past Lambayeque and Chiclayo (in very strong winds-dust & sand everywhere) and decided to call it a day in Pacasmayo where we found camping at El Faro Adventure Resort -beautifully overlooking the ocean and known for its very good surfing and windsurfing conditions (one of the longest wind-surfable waves in the world). Jenny, the owner explains that it was started by her father and today her sons are also involved. For US$40 you could rent all windsurfer gear from Jaime, the instructor. Beautiful view -super waves El Faro -The Lighthouse Next we made our way via the village of Magdalena de Cao, celebrated because of Señora de Cao - probably the only female queen of the Moche period and her grave was not plundered and the mummy intact. Xmas was coming -also to this remote region Her grave was in the El Brujo Archaeological Complex, with its Moche temple and grave at El Brujo (400-800AD) Huanchaco RV Gardens Hospedaje Meeting Willi & Gabi Cordes again -nicknamed the "bomberos"due to the fire red vehicle. From here we explored Chan Chan - the biggest adobe city in the world where part of the mud walls are still preserved and it is possible to see the extend of this once flourishing city during the Chimú Kingdom period. Unesco Heritage site since 1986. This city was only captured by the Incas 1470 after they cut off the water supplies to the 100 000 inhabitants. Huaca de Sol y Huaca de la Luna, the biggest adobe structures built in the Moche cultural period. Approx 130 million adobe bricks were used, each with the signature of the provider in it. As with Chan Chan the years of very wet El Niño period wreaked havoc with the mud constructions, which are now under roof to a great extend while being excavated and partially restored. Llantas Heintz without too much of a problem - here we hoped to find the same Coopers tires to replace the burst one. We were not disappointed: an absolutely professionally run operation, third generation Japanese owned operation and within 2 hours we left with 2 new Coopers tires, wheels balanced and rotated. If ever you have a need for new rubbers -try them. Hitchhikers and Packpackers Hostal On the following day we decided to do a walking tour with one of the walking tours organisations starting at Kennedy Plaza, Free Walking Tours - it is a service which is tip based and you decide how much it was worth to you. The walkabout was most interesting, well organised and professional -worth doing.
Mindo also offers an excellent opportunity to see many of the butterflies of Ecuador. A good place to start is at the local mariposarium (Butterfly Garden). Südamerika's Schmetterlinge sind prachtvoll. Mindo bietet dafür eine gute Gelegenheit im Schmetterlingspark, welcher etwa 2km ausserhalb des Dorfes liegt und auch per Fuss zu erreichen ist. Enjoy!At the butterfly sanctuary we saw, amongst others,Papilio thoas, Owl butterflies on a tree trunk, Morpho elenor,Celtinas with their transparent wings,the red and black Heliconius melpomene toma. Following our visit to the butterfly sanctuary, we departed and drove from Mindo via Santo Domingo de los Colorados to Quevedo, where we found a parking spot inside the security area of Hotel Presidente owned and run by Señor Wellington and his wife Sunet. Pictures on the wall testified of better times when even presidents of Ecuador stayed over here. Today it is no longer in the class for presidents, but we were happy to camp in the yard and use a room's bathroom, all for US$8 for the night. It was quiet and safe. Hotel Presidente -found a safe campsite in their parking at the new part being constructed Next day we travelled from Quevedo to Babahoyo, then on to Milagro (past Guayaquil). On the way on a very busy single lane road a rear tyre burst and we were somewhat nervous while changing the wheel due to the traffic of heavy vehicles. Heavy traffic in both directions -not a good place to change a burst tyre Our next stop was past Naranjal where we camped at Kaluz Hosteria and Spa with the hot Balneario de Aguas Termales in walking distance, which were run by the local Shuar people in the village. Breakfast was included in the tariff at Kaluz and we were permitted to use the clean bathroom of a vacant cabaña. The breakfast consisted of a piece of indescript queso (cheese) and deep-fried platanas, a bland and fairly tasteless banana - not quite what we would normally have ordered if there had been a choice. Camping at Kaluz A wonderful specimen of a Travellers Palm in the Kaluz gardens The Shuar are part of the Jivaro tribe, known for the shrunken head trophies which were only outlawed in modern times by the Ecuadorian and Peruvian governments. Balneario de Aguas Termales From Kaluz camp our route took us back to the trunk road and on the way we spoke to Shuar farmers harvesting the large red cacao fruits. Harvesting Cacao fruit On her way to school Soon the magnificent trees of Ecuador started making way for boring banana plantations as we got closer to the border Post cover period 4th to 6th December 2016
South America is endowed with beautiful birds - hummingbirds and colibris are just one of the many groups present. So we had to find a spot that would allow us to observe some from close by. Südamerika hat eine Vielzahl schönster Vogelarten. Die Familie der Kolibris ist eine der faszinierensten Gruppen. Wir hatten gehört das auf unserem Weg gen Süden der Ort Mindo dafür bekannt ist. Aber vorher musste noch etwas am Wagen getan werden. Galápagos felt like a 14 day holiday for us being on the ship. For a change we had super bathroom facilities, a roof over our heads and all food that was prepared for us in place of having to cooking outside no matter what the weather conditions were. By now we had travelled 7 months in our vehicle and we had done just over 21 000km exploring 6 countries. However, a few things needed fixing before we could continue - especially our fridge. Luckily parts had arrived in Ibarra when we got back and we could get them out of customs for the moderate sum of US$130. This amount was little in comparison to the DHL courier freight costs from South Africa for the few items we needed. Fellow traveller Stefan Sigl assisted to get the compressor brazed back into the fridge circuitry ( with assistance of local technicians in Ibarra), we also repaired the ARB air compressor ( the over-heating protection sensor failed) and did general maintenance, cleaning, washing etc. Then it was time to say our goodbyes to new friends we had now met going up north and coming back south and a good occasion was a farewell braai! Not to forget Fred & Elisabeth Smits from New Zealand in their 1957 Mercedes who had to leave their trailer behind to be able to tackle the high Andes.Post covers the period 28th November-6th December 2016