Lima, a city I was convinced I would never see again… yet, the surprises of the trip made me change my plans! The occasion to explore its surroundings – among others the ruins of Caral – the most ancient civilization of Americas – and the sublime Bosque de Piedras of Marcahuasi, with outstanding and fascinating landscapes.
Back to Lima
Monday 3rdDecember 2018
I had left Ayacucho on the evening before and decided to join Dany, my host during the volunteering in Tacna, who is now living in Lima. I initially wanted to go to Huaraz but the lack of time and the rainy climate, which is not the best for trekking, forced me to keep it for some more suited times (yes you understood well, I’ll have to go back to Peru!).
I then arrived in Lima early in the morning and directly went to Chorillos, the district where Dany leaves, which is located in the south of the capital. I then had a quiet day with some rest, working on the blog and doing yoga – as always after the night-bus trips, I don’t have a lot of energy!
The Sacred City of Caral
Tuesday 4th December 2018
We woke up at dawn with Dany to leave to the ruins of Caral, located in the north of Lima. We had to cross the city from the South to the North with the Metropolitano, take a bus to the village of Supe and then a combi to Caral. We then only started to walk towards the ruins around 12.30, such a long journey!
A short 3-km walk separated us from the ruins’ entrance, located in the desert. This city, dating from 3 000 before Jesus-Christ, was only explored from 1994 and listed to Unesco World Heritage in 2009. Spread out over 600 hectares, it is composed of six stone pyramids, amphitheatres, altars and other ceremonial sites. Archaeological excavations are still being done, thus the visit can only be done with a guide.
Several panels are displayed at the entrance of the site, giving interesting explanations to learn and understand more about this civilization that is known to have been peaceful, with a lifestyle mainly turned around trade and music. It looks like women were at the same level than men and that these people were already ahead of their time with their methods of agriculture and construction (anti-seismic for example).
As the excavations started recently, there is still a lot to learn and discover about this civilization, to the extent that it would be very interesting to come back in several years. Yet, the visit already highly commendable; it really is fascinating to discover such ancient ruins!
We came back around the end of the afternoon to Supe, lifted by some nice American travellers that had come with a private driver. Then started a long trip from Supe to Lima with the sunset, next the arrival in Lima with a terrible journey in the overcrowded Metropolitano… which made us arrive after 11 p.m., feeling exhausted after such a long day!
I would rather recommend to visit Caral with one night stay in Supe or Barranco (the closest cities) so to make the day more digestible, because it is quite intensive with so much transport in 24h!
Two days in Lima
Wednesday 5th December 2018
A day off and without taking any transport, which was necessary after the day before. Blog, photos and yoga, and that’s all!
Thursday 6th December 2018
Following to my recent learning of arts and crafts with Tito in Ayacucho, I had to buy myself some material so to keep on producing bracelets and necklaces. Tito had told me about the Mercado Santo Domingo to do this shopping, which happens to be located in the centre of Lima (and that I had still not really visited yet).
I then left to this market in the middle of the day, which gave me a chance to change my vision of Lima, as I had still not seen any beautiful aspect of it! I first bought the material at the market(macramé, stones, pearls etc.), which itself is a nice building over three stairs and a nice central patio.
Once equipped (my bag will be quite heavier from now on, as if it was not heave enough!), I continued my visit ofLima’s centre. The colonial and Republican architecture changed from the unappealing buildings that I had seen so far. This would change a bit my opinion of the Peruvian capital, even more as the sun was out for once (Lima is covered most of the year by some thick clouds).
After some grocery shopping at the local market in Chorillos, I went back to Dany’s flat to practice yoga and prepare my luggage so to leave early on the following morning.
Reunion in Chosica
Friday 7th December 2018
Awaken at dawn, I crossed Lima to go to Chosica, a small town located about one hour (depending on the traffic) east of the capital. I went there to meet again Tito, my host in Ayacuco, whose family leaves in Chosica and who was arriving on the same day there. I left at 5.15 and arrived after 9 a.m…. this sums up well how terrible is the traffic in Lima; this city is definitely too unbearable and chaotic for me!
Tito came to meet me on the main square and we went to his house, where his sister, her husband and their three daughters live. We then spent a relaxing day, learning some new bracelets knots and spending some time with Tito’s lovely nieces.
From Chosica to San Pedro de Casta
Saturday 8th December 2018
We had planned with Dany to go to Marcahuasi over the weekend, a 4 square-meter plateau located more than 4 000 m above sea level, on which can be seen some spectacular geological formations, hence its name in Spanish of“stone forest”. We then met in Chosica in the morning and left to the village of San Pedro de Casta, starting point to climb to Marcahuasi.
2h of mountain road later, we arrived at the end of the morning in the village and spent a quiet afternoon there, as we had planned to climb to Marcahuasi at night. The village itself has a lot of charm, with its stoned little streets, its small frescoes on the houses made of adobe, and its viewpoint over the vertiginous canyon below.
A starry ascent
Sunday 9th December 2018
Awaken at 2 a.m., we left 45 minutes later to Marcahuasi. The 5-km climb goes from 3 200 m to 4 000 m high. However the path is well done, which made the hike easy… at least for me! Dany was indeed not used to altitude (Tacna and Lima are a sea-level) and to hiking so she struggled quite a lot to climb.
I always had to stop to wait for her, give her some coca, help her… but we finally made it for the sunrise. The first rays of sun were illuminating the stone in the “amphitheatre”, where we started the visit. The rocks shapes were already striking and it was only the beginning…but I left Dany in this huge area!
Loosing each other again and again
After asking to all the campers and visitors that I crossed, I finally deduced that she had been to the Cachu Cachu Lagoon, one of the most famous of the site. I then walked towards the lagoon, while discovering the incredible landscapes surrounding me: rocks with unbelievable shapes, stunning views over of the valleys covered by the clouds below… it was simply breath-taking.
Once at the lagoon, I indeed met Dany again. We enjoyed the scenery, with the perfect reflection of the rocks in the water. The lagoon was quite empty given the time of the year but it was nonetheless amazing!
Nous partons ensuite en direction de la « Forteresse », une haute formation rocheuse située au bout du plateau. Les roches prennent toujours autant de formes animales et humaines des plus surprenantes, un vrai terrain de jeu pour ceux avec un semblant d’imagination. Nous y ferons une pause pour nous restaurer avant de poursuivre la marche. Cela n’en a pas l’air mais le site est extrêmement étendu et nous marchons énormément !
We then went to the “Fortress”, some high rock formations located at the end of the plateau. The rocks still had some surprising animal and human shapes, a real game field for those with a little bit of imagination. We had a break and ate there before going on our walk. It may not look like it, but this site is huge and we had to walk a lot!
As we started to walk back to the amphitheatre (which is located in the middle of the plateau, so we had to comeback to it to explore the other side and leave the place), I lost again Dany, as she was walking much more slowly than me. I waited for her, called her, went back to the last place I had seen her… but it was of no use, I just couldn’t find her!
I then decided to keep on walking, hoping that I would find her later on. I waited for her again in the amphitheatre but still couldn’t see her… the only and best thing I could do was heading to the village to let know about her loss in case something bad had happened to her! The site was so vast that going back and looking for her alone was out of a question, it would be useless.
With this in mind, I didn’t enjoy that much the second part of the walk, where can also be seen some pre-Colombian ruins of graves and buildings, which use are still quite mysterious. As I went back down to the village, I met a taxi driver that I told about Dany. He offered to drive me for free to the village so that I could inform more quickly the park’s guardians.
Once at the village, the office was close; it is then the same driver and another man of the village that went up again, telling me that they would let me know if they could see Dany on the path.About 45 minutes later, it looked like they had seen her going down… and she indeed finally arrived. We both felt reassured to be reunited after this incident!
We caught the last transport heading to Chosica, where we arrived at nightfall and separated. I spent one last night in Tito’s house (where I was again treated so well) while Dany went back to Lima, but we would meet soon again!
To be continued…
Bus Ayacucho – Lima: 25 soles – Night bus
Metropolitano in Lima: 2,50 soles per trip
Bus in Lima: from 0,50 soles depending on the trip’s length
Bus Lima – Supe: 15 soles per trip, leaving from Lima Norte terminal. About 4h-bus trip
Colectico Supe – Caral: 4 soles, about 20 min bus trip
Colectivo Lima – Chosica: 3,50 soles, about 1h30 to 2h depending on the traffic
Colectivo Chosica – San Pedro de Casta: 15 soles, about 2h
Municipal Hotel in San Pedro de Casta: 20 soles per night for a double room. Rustic and simple accommodation.
Entrée complexe archéologique de Caral :10 soles + 20 soles de guide obligatoire (à diviser par le nombre de personnes pouvant se grouper pour la visite). Nombreux panneaux explicatifs bien faits à l’entrée du site.
Ruins of Caral: 10 soles + 20 soles for the mandatory guide (can be divided by the number of visitors that can join for the tour). A lot of interesting explanations also displayed at the entrance of the site.
Marcahuasi: 10 soles for Peruvians, 20 soles for strangers (can be negotiated, they let me enter with the Peruvian price even though I don’t have the face of a Peruvian girl at all!)