Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Peru, Part 2 - Nasca and Arequipa

Mummy in a burial tomb

Bones scattered on the desert floor
 Sunday April 1 was our 2nd day in Nasca and also the day of the infamous Nasca Line Flight! We started the morning off with a trip to the Chauchilla (Pre-Inca) Burial Site were we took a guided tour through the dessert and saw 1500 yr old tombs and mummies that had been discovered and unearthed.  It was very cool to see, but a bit creepy with random human bones strewn about the hiking path we were following.

 Once we left the cemetery we stopped in at a pottery studio where we learned about the traditional pottery making methods and checked out a some spectacular pottery pieces.

Ready for the Nasca Lines

                                                                                   That afternoon we headed to the airport for our flight over the Nasca Lines.  We divided into3 separate Cessnas and took off for a viewing of 15 of the enormous Nasca lines, including the Monkey, Astronaut and Hummingbird. The flight started out OK, but it was screaming hot in the plane and the banking left to right turned out to be too much for me.


 I spent the second half of the flight checking out the barf bags instead of the Nasca lines. Nothing like paying $100 to barf in a bag!  Seeing the Lines was still amazing though, so its all good. It still amazes me how they would have made the lines so perfectly without being able to see them from above. After the flight we headed back to our Hacienda to take a dip in the pool and relax before our overnight bus ride to Arequipa.

Santa Catalina Courtyard

Santa Catalina streets

Santa Catalina 

Arequipa is an awesome city located in the mountains in Peru at 2300m EL above sea level.  It is surrounded by 3 volcanoes, making it incredibly scenic.  It is one of my favourite cities so far on the Peru portion of the tour. We  arrived in Arequipa at 9am after and overnight bus trip and after a tasty breakfast at a little creperie, Crepismo, we headed out to explore the city.

Roof Top Cervazas

We started out at the Santa Catalina Monastery, which was absolutely beautiful with all the stone work, art, bright colours and architecture. There are even nuns still living there, just not in the section that we took a tour of. Next we headed to the Andean Sanctuary Museum, which houses the Mummy Juanita who was a young girl who was sacrificed to by the Inca’s high on a mountain top and who was discovered a few years back in the ice in a perfectly mummified state.  Unfortunately, Juanita was “on vacation” while we were there so we didn’t get to see her, but we did learn about her story and see another mummy that was almost as cool.

We ended our day with some cervazas on the hotel roof top  looking out at the surrounding volcanoes at sunset and with a crazy dinner of cuy!

Click here for Arequipa Pics

Click here for Nasca Pics

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