A Travellerspoint blog

November 2012


sunny 25 °C
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Across the border between Ecuador and Peru and a taste of what kind of incredible drives where ahead of me I headed to party-central Mancora, where Peruvians and foreigners mix in a charming way under the pretext of sunbathing and surfing. Staying at the prime party hostel and meeting some cool Peruvians brushed my apprehension at this tourist onslaught aside. The days I spent chasing waves and working on my consultancy and the evenings were always good for some party after heaps of ceviche.

After celebrating Obama’s victory hard, I decided that it was time to get serious and headed to Lobitos one hour South for some serious waves, where a good salt wash awaited and relaxed evenings at Lobitos Lodge (major recommendation) were a treat.

I continued down the coast and if I ever had any doubts about my intentions, the Panamericana won me definitely over in Northern Peru - epic. No better place to contemplate the rhymes, reasons and future of life. Every morning I asked myself what I wanted to do and just did it. In Huanchaco the surf and a cool group of locals convinced me in no time to stay a few extra days - a book by itself this stay, which led to a side trip to a bay in the middle of nowhere. But the Panamericana drew me back and led me to Lima, which I really enjoyed with its sights, mix of Peruvian and cosmopolitan bustle, beach and haute cuisine.

And then it came, the camino gringo - from Lima to Puno -sigh... I was a bit unprepared for this kind of tourism with its quite sophisticated infrastructure and the heaps of tourists from all walks of life. Also an experience, which was entertaining at first, but more than happy to get away from it as much as I could. Yet, the sights which draw the masses are obvious and undisputed in their charm, so I was a complete part of it, and played my role as the crazy with his Jeep from New York... Huacachina in the dunes is a fun stopover for amazing views and fun in the sand, a flight over the Nazca Lines cannot be missed, the drive up into the Andes was serene, Cusco the ancient Inca capital is marvelous and Machu Picchu blows your socks off...

So the places taken by themselves are truly incredible, but it was about as much as I could take in this setting and my current state of mind. So I was even more excited to swing back into my Jeep and drive off to mi querida Bolivia, where I am ecstatic to meet the people I hung with 10 years ago and things are a bit less touristy and more rough!
Here are the photos


Posted by freddop 09:22 Archived in Peru Comments (0)

viva Ecuador! viva.

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They are not exaggerating in the glossy tourist brochures about the multitude Ecuador offers.
Mita and I arrived late in the evening in Otavalo after a bit of a wait at the border, where they needed to do an inventory of the chairs that were laying around (...). I was grateful for the country's good road conditions, as I would have otherwise pulled over when it got dark to avoid a broken axle due to a pothole, which seemed to be a constant risk in Colombia. But smooth sailing into Ecuador, where we stayed in Otavalo at a former Guinea Pig farm and explored the light version of the Otavalo market on a Wednesday, which becomes huge on Saturdays. We continued towards Quito on a dirt road through the Andes to stay at a very impressive hotel at the edge of the Pululahua volcano and visited the "Middle of the World" - the equator. First the real thing with some cool experiments - balancing eggs, flushing toilets on both sides and on the equator where my favorites! - and then the equator line a bit off (drawn by the French a hundred years ago) with a large monument.
Mita left from Quito back to NY and I celebrated a legendary weekend with Duende, 10 years after we saw each other last in Bolivia - now making plans to continue parts of the voyage South together, when he has finished his work in Quito in a few weeks time.
After Quito, I drove to Baños, relaxed with some nice hikes there and decided that I really want to see the Ecuadorian part of the Amazon basin. Stayed at the fantastic lodge Huella Verde, alone with the Swiss owner, Christof, whose wife, who is usually with him, was in Quito. Great conversations, excellent Ecuadorian and Swiss food (partly from his garden), a fun ride down the river in a truck tube and a very educational hike with Don Lucho from the nearby village, made for my most memorable hotel stay on this trip so far.
I was lucky that the following weekend the independence day of Cuenca took place there, which made this beautiful town even more friendly with concerts rocking the streets - viva la Cuenca! VIVA!
Debated a long time, whether I should drive to the Ecuadorian coast, but then decided that I'd rather leave something to come back to in Ecuador and hit the waves of Peru, where the swell is picking up in November - time to finally get the surfboard off the roof again!
a link the photos from Ecuador - VIVA
the most exciting bridge I crossed on this trip

Posted by freddop 10:22 Archived in Ecuador Comments (0)

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