Falling in love in Lima
I started off my year-long journey with one goal – to fall in love. Maybe to fall in love with a person or maybe to fall in love with a place, an activity, a lifestyle. I wasn’t sure what it would look like but I was open to the idea of love.
Every month my travel mates ask me if I’ve fallen in love and sadly I say, “not yet, but I’ve found lots of things I really like!”
But arriving in Lima, feeling the tropical air, smelling the salty ocean, seeing the pink and purple and red sunsets, I can officially say I’m in love!
The last few months I’ve slept in and my energy felt low but now, each morning I bound out of bed at 6am, throw on my shoes and head to the beach! I simply can’t wait to get near the water, to hear the waves rushing in, to gaze out at the horizon and dream big dreams.
When you’re too excited to sleep, when you wake up eager for each new day, when you can’t stop smiling – you’re in love!
And if I needed further proof, my apartment is a five-minute walk from Parque del Amor – the Park of Love!
I spend time every day strolling the boardwalk along the ocean, watching the sunset and taking pictures of palm trees. If I didn’t know better, I’d think we were in Maui.
I was still exploring my new neighborhood when our group posted an event happening on Saturday – a visit to the sand dunes and Huacachina oasis, a four-hour drive south of Lima.
Something felt familiar as I read the description and I remembered something I’d heard years ago.
The famous Nazca Lines are four hours south of Lima!
With a bit of research, I confirmed my thoughts and decided to combine both sights in one trip.
We booked a tour that included a private driver from Lima to Ica, a 70-minute flight, lunch, one-hour sand dune buggy tour and return to Lima. It was going to be a long day but so much fun.
As we headed outside Lima and along the southern coast, the landscape quickly changed from lush, green parks to endless miles of sand and rocks. Our driver told us that it never rains here so anything we saw that was green has been watered by hand!
We pulled up to a tiny airport and headed through the gate, where we saw even smaller airplanes. Our plane held 12 people, six rows with one seat on each side. We chatted with the other passengers and nervously laughed at the size of the plane we were about to board.
The co-pilot handed us a map, explaining the route we were going to fly and the images we would see. 13 images total including the famous astronaut, spider, hummingbird and more.
We climbed in and set off for the 70-minute flight. It was blue sky and sunshine, which gave us stunning views over the valley.
As we approached the Nazca Valley, the co-pilot reminded us that the plane would bank left first, so people on the left side of the plane could see the image, then the plane would bank right, so the right side could see.
Sounded good, everyone gets a view, right?!
I love flying and wasn’t nervous at all, until the plane banked hard left and my stomach flipped. We banked right and I knew I was in trouble. I was so nauseous I couldn’t even look out the window to see the image he was describing.
Oh no, that was only one image?! How many are there? 13? Ackk, I’m not going to make it!
I stared out the window, took some deep breaths and willed myself to be okay. The feeling subsided but I knew I was on the edge.
I looked down, took photos, and reminded myself how much I had wanted to see these images. I chose this adventure!
When we finally saw the last image and the captain announced we were heading back to the airport, I started to relax.
Back on the ground, we piled out of the plane and breathed a sigh of relief. Turns out I wasn’t the only one on the verge of being sick!
Our driver was waiting and whisked us away to lunch. We arrived at Huacachina Oasis and sat on a veranda overlooking the small lake. Our fellow passengers where there as well and we chatted about the flight, where we were from and upcoming travels.
Then we were climbing into dune buggies and heading out to explore 55 kms of sand dunes.
I’ve never been in a sand dune buggy and I imagined we’d be flying along but I didn’t realize how fast we’d really go…or that it would feel like you’re about to fall off the side of a mountain!
I was sitting in the front and had the full view of roaring to the top of a dune, only to fly over the top and roar all the way down. My screams only made the driver go faster!
I quickly learned a valuable lesson – keep your mouth shut or else you’ll be eating sand!
Sand was going everywhere – in my hair, in my clothes, and in my mouth. I couldn’t stop laughing – it was just so much fun!
We stopped for photos, admired the view and marveled that we were still in Peru. It was sand as far as you could see. It felt like we were in the Sahara Desert.
All too soon our adventure was over and we were back in the car heading to Lima. It had been a fun day and I was so happy we got to explore this amazing country.
It was only week one and I was already in love – what else could happen this month?!