Is it possible to see the best of Peru by bus? Yes, if given a month’s time and following these tips for traveling in Peru.
This is the second of a four-part series of tips for traveling in Peru. After you’ve been to Lima, which you can read in the first part of this series, it’s time to move on to Huaraz by bus. In fact, all of the top destinations in Peru can be reached by bus, as seen in the following itinerary:
- Fly into Lima
- Bus to Huaraz
- Bus back to Lima
- Bus to Paracas
- Bus to Huacachina
- Bus to Arequipa
- Bus to Puno
- Bus to Cusco
- Fly back to Lima
- Fly Home
What to do
- Laguna 69 trek
- Unfortunately, due to a strategically-timed migraine, I chickened out of this hike, but from what I hear, it’s absolutely stunning. The full-day hike is very long and quite challenging – not from the actual incline, but from the altitude itself (the lagoon sits at 4500m above sea level). However, the view from the top is breathtaking (get it? Altitude joke). Laguna 69 is a Gatorade-blue lake that sits at the base of a glacial mountain peak. The water that drips off the glacier in the warmer months feeds the lake and keeps it blue with glacial minerals. I hear it’s completely worth it, but be sure to prepare yourself for a long and strenuous day.
- That’s about it – most people come to Huaraz specifically for the Laguna 69 trek.
Where to stay
- Alpes Huaraz – This hostel was awesome because it’s designed in a pretty funky way. They have a really nice boutique-feeling breakfast and community space, a second-story kitchen for you hostel chefs, and some pretty comfortable and warm dorms, with private bathrooms. Plus, when I got a migraine and had to cancel my Laguna 69 booking, they were happy to refund me even though it was last minute.
What to eat
- I bought local groceries and cooked at my hostel because I was sick here, so I’d say have some pasta.
What to do
- Islas Ballestas
- They call it the Poor Man’s Galapagos, but from what I hear, it’s really quite different. On the half-day tour, you’ll be able to see a variety of seals and sea lions lounging around the beaches, as well and coming up for air all around your boat. They heavily advertise the penguins on this trip, but (at least when I was there) there were only a few. There are, however, quite a few spectacular marine birds and some really fascinating rock formations. The tour is quite impressive, but be wary about comparing it to the Galapagos – if you go into it with that mindset, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
- Paracas National Reserve
- This half-day tour will take you around the protected desert coast of Paracas, and it will show you some incredible views. From black and red sand beaches, to sweeping cliffs, and fluffy sand dunes, it’s really quite incredible to see how the desert comes right up and touches the beach.
Where to stay
- Icthus Paracas – I stayed here because of the price, and because I was craving a quiet night’s sleep. It was complete with all the basic amenities – dorm rooms, private bathrooms, a lounge-type communal space. It was definitely somewhat bare-bones, but it did the trick for sure, and I slept like a baby.
- Kokopelli Paracas – I opted not to stay here just because I wasn’t in the mood for a party hostel at the time. I’m a big fan of the Kokopelli franchise in general, and I hear that their Paracas location is really quite fun, so if you’re in the mood to sip some Pisco Sours and chat with some travelers, this is probably your best bet.
What to eat
- A bit difficult to say, because Paracas has quite a lot of Western-style options that I’m not much of a fan of. However, we somehow managed to get a recommendation from a local who worked at the hostel to try this mom & pop restaurant way on the other side of town. It was hands-down the best Caldo de Gallina (chicken soup) I’ve ever had, and I genuinely hope you manage to find it.
Tune in next week for part three of this series!
Who is Gilad?
Gilad is a traveler in his 20’s who takes advantage of every opportunity to travel. He has Hypochondriasis, OCD and moderate anxiety, but doesn’t let it stop him from experiencing the world, and in fact, has managed to turn his mental shortcomings into positives. His website Anxious & Abroad aims to show other nervous travelers and first-timers that travel isn’t just for the carefree nomadic types, but can be fun and rewarding for any kind of person — neurotic, meticulous, anxious or organized. Follow his adventures on Instagram and Facebook!
Cover Photo Christian Cruzado.