Peru 10: Along the Northern Coast to Lima

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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)

Then our route took us back via Santiago de Cao to the camping site in Huanchaco, where we made our base again at 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.

It is an 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.

South of Trujillo we visited the pyramids 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.

Research has revealed that these temples where used mainly for blood ceremonies where captured warriors blood was drunk by the high priests of the Moche. The ancient city in the area, Cerro Blanco, is named after the whitish vulcanic peak behind Huaca de la Luna.

We carried on via Chimbote and to the coastal town of Tortugas, where we had a special lunch at Restaurant Tarawasi. Run by Julian, a Spaniard, and his Peruvian wife, they cooked up a tasty meal of seafoods.

They have rooms to rent but unfortunately there is no camping, so we continued through Huarmey and stopped again on the coast,where we had previously camped at km228 before Barranca. The local fisherman welcomed us once more to his beach area.

Scenic but a lot of litter spoils the setting – a manifestation of the world-wide problem of pollution of the oceans and with that the remote coastal areas.

At 7am the fishermen launched their boats and we decided to push on to Lima – along the PanAm running along the dunes dropping straight down into the ocean.

We were not looking forward to visit the 30mill inhabitants of Lima, but our entry into the city was smooth and with luck we found 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.

After successfully getting new wheels we proceeded to the suburb of Miraflores where we camped in the parking space of the Hitchhikers and Backpackers Hostal . We parked and slept in our vehicle – only annoying part was that each person entering has to ring the bell -which goes virtually right through the night and is next to the vehicles – we had quieter nights on our trip. Bonus: very close by was an excellent Sushi place (Edo Sushi) and we really enjoyed having something different to eat after 8 months on the road.

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.

We visited  the central Plaza where the presidents palace is, did some Pisco tastings and sampled different chocolates. We visited the Mario Vargas library, the old post office and railway station as well as churches in the area.

Before we departed, we visited the 3-storey computer centre close to Kennedy Plaza and finally got some advice of how to fix my Apple-external harddrive problem. About 100 shops offer all you need in computer and communications at this centre.

This post covers the period 7th -13th Dec 2016