South American Summer part 2 - on the Bus - Peru Hop

After 2 amazing meals, a chance to have Starbucks and sleep in. We embarked on the exploration part of our summer. We got up early and gathered our backpacks to meet our Peru Hop bus.

The premise of the Peru Hop tour company reminds me a lot of a cruise ship. The bus has a tour guide and a bathroom (number 1 only). The bus follows a pre determined route and has stops on the way. At each major stop they have relationships with hotels and the traveller can elect to stay the night or multiple and then pick up the bus to continue their journey. You can prebook tours and hotels on their website or you can pay in cash on the bus for excursions and get their help booking rooms at hotels.

We elected to wing it and have the Peru Hop guides book our hotels. There was only one time in the entire trip where we weren't able to get a room at the hotel we wanted. But they were helpful in finding us a room at a like hotel. We traveled with the bus from  June 15-June 22.

The first day was fairly short. We traveled to Paracas via Chincha to see the Hacienda San Jose and the secret slave tunnels. Due to the taxes imposed by the government, the owners avoided paying import taxes by creating an underground tunnel linking the house to the port. Slaves would arrive late at night to be smuggled into the hacienda via the underground tunnel, meaning that the government would have no registration of the slaves in its system.

The hotel we chose to stay in in Paracas was clean and quiet. There was a pool and we tried to go in, but it was too cold. 

The main attraction of Paracas was the Ballestas Islands (the "Galapagos" of Peru) and the National Reserve.  The town was a touristy small beach town with not a lot of options. We enjoyed more Pisco. 
Chilcanos - pisco, juice, bitters, and ginger ale

The Ballesta Islands

We traveled by boat first thing in the morning to see the islands. The main attractions are the birds (boobies, humbolt penguins, gulls,...), sea lions and the Paracas Candelabra geoglyph.

Paracas Candelabra geoglyph
There were so many birds. so. many. birds. On the trip back we were joined by dolphins. 

... After we toured the National Reserve. This is where the "desert meets the sea"


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