Arequipa, Peru
17° 19' S 70° 19' W
Nov 23, 2006 18:34
Distance 932km

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Text written in: English

Arequipa

Hi everyone!

I have done so many things since my last update - I have done a boat trip to the Ballestas Islands, which are also known as the poor man's Galapagos islands,just off the coast of Peru near Paracas. I got to see thousands and thousands of penguins, pelicans and sea lions in their natural habitat.

Later the same day I arrived in Huacachina, which is an oasis town in the desert, and took an overnight tour out into the desert.We travelled in a dune buggy up and down some incredibly steep sand dunes,stopping every now and then for some head first sandboarding down the dunes. It was great fun, and being in the dune buggy was like being on a rollercoaster! In the evening there was a barbecue with unlimited pisco sours, lots of dancing and singing. We slept out under the stars in our sleeping bags on the sand.

The next day I went to Nazca to see the famous Nazca lines. I took a flight on a 6 seater Cessna plane to see the lines from the air. They are much smaller in real life than in pictures, and not very easy to pick out from the desert. I have tried to take some photos but I was being bounced around a lot in the plane, so I'm not sure how they will come out. I have never been travel sick in my life, but I came very close to it in that plane!

There is not much to do in Nazca - the whole town is just full of travel agencies selling scenic flights and nothing else. I did take a tour of the Chauchilla cemetery, which is out in the middle of the desert near Nazca. There are around 1000 burial tombs there containing mummies which are very well preserved because of the lack of humidity.

Today I am in Arequipa, Peru's white city and have spent the morning visiting the Santa Catalina convent. The nuns living in the convent have lived in complete seclusion from the public since the 1500s, and the convent was only opened to visitors for the first time in 1970. It is like a miniature city and there is lots of beautiful architecture. There are still 30 nuns living in the convent and there are wooden screens around the section that they live in to prevent any visitors seeing them.

I have also seen Juanita, the ice princess! She is an Incan girl that was sacrificed at the summit of a nearby volcano hundreds of years ago. Her mummy was discovered in 1995 - there have been lots of documentaries made about her because she is the best preserved mummy ever found in the world. She is kept in a museum here in Arequipa.

So that is what I have been doing over the last few days. I am getting a great tan with all this sun and feeling very healthy as I am leading such an active lifestyle!

 

Photos / videos of "Arequipa":

Me at the Santa Catalina convent Santa Catalina Santa Catalina