After the chilly temperatures and breathless heights of Huaraz, I was eager to get to sunnier climes. Following my trajectory north I decided to make camp in Huanchaco, a surfer’s paradise and notoriously lazy beach town, for an undetermined amount of time. For the next week I took my cues from the nearby lizards: find a warm patch of sun and don’t move.
After the high altitudes of Cusco and the Inca Trail, I told myself that I was done with heights for a while. But a few weeks later I found myself back in the mountains, this time in the Northern city of Huaraz. For two days I hiked, rock climbed, enjoyed the Aguas Calientes, and took in the beautiful, stark scenery.
Sometimes it’s ok to be selfish. Like when you discover that hole-in-the-wall restaurant that changed your world, and you don’t tell everyone you know about it. Because, you know, then it wouldn’t be special for you. But then there are places that are so special that it seems a crime not to share them, even if that does eventually lead to an unwelcome change of foot traffic.
Such was my dilemma with the Quantati island on Lake Titicaca.
One of my favorite things to happen during a trip is an unexpected stopover. While I used to plan out my trips so aggressively that I had a detailed itinerary for every minute away, I now have a loose idea of where I want to go, and try to just be in the moment. If I like a city more than I expected, I have the time to extend my stay there. If someplace is not living up to its hype, than I have no issues leaving sooner. However, there are those wonderful moments when you discover a place you did not even know existed, and your trip changes its entire course.
The Ballestas Islands, just off of the coast of Paracas is a magical place. Available by boat, these islands are inhabited by a plethora of birds, sea lions, and even penguins! Known as the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” they are a much more affordable option to see all sorts of animals in their natural habitat. A typical boat ride to these islands lasts about two hours to and from Paracas, and gives you plenty of photo opportunities.