Before leaving Cusco, we took a taxi into town to visit the Inca Museum. It was on a small steep street next to the cathedral in a large colonial house. It took you through the different cultures which existed over the years in Peru.
The drive out of town was up de hills again, out of the valley. We were a bit more used to the traffic so it was no problem. The road goes through the mountains towards the coast. Before descending down into Abancay, we found a nice small Inca ruin just off the road at a height of 3637 m. We were in time to visit it just before sunset. It was raining when we crawled over the mountain side. The unique feature of these ruins was the carved monolith stone. It features the view of the world as seen by the Inca. Further down the slope there is the usual ceremonial platform and the Sun hitching stone. This time with some holes carved in it.
Abancay is a disaster to get through. The small streets in the town were packed with cars and trucks moving up and down the hill. Moreover lots of the streets were closed due to road works. Thereafter the road follows the valley of a river till we have to climb up over the watershed. The climb was slow but we managed it mostly in second gear (instead of first). The road ends up on a high plateau with some passes above 4200 m. Again we found, via iOverlander a nice camping spot on a small road off the through road. Because of the drizzle everything smelled really nice. And because of the rain and low cloud covering the road, visibility was not great for driving on winding road.
On the peak of the plateau. Before descending we stopped at a Vicuña refuge. Here volunteers look after the abandoned animals. Over the years the herd have increased in size.
Before entering Nasca, we made a stopover at an underground aqueduct. Stone spirals give access to the water (tunnels) deep underground. This system was developed already way before the Inca. Nearby are also some Inca ruins. In this environment the foundations are made of stone but the build-up from mud bricks. It does not rain much so they stayed for a while.
After a Chinese lunch in Nasca, we went to the airport and booked ourselves on a flight for the next morning. We were allowed to camp at the airport (so quiet in the evening), so we did not have to miss the early plane. There were 6 of us in the small aircraft. In 40 min it circles over the well known Nasca lines. Taking sharp good pictures of them is still difficult.
After the flight we drove to the cemetary. Here the mumies, which we scatewred throughout the desert and opened by grave robers are brought together.
Instead of spending a second night in Nasca, and after visiting the Inca museum in town (an impressive collection of Inca potteries etc), we drove on to the oasis of Huacachina some 195 km along the road. On the way we passed some more geoclifs on the side of the road.
35 Years ago Rudy also visited this oasis (see foto’s). What was then a lovely pond with palm trees is now a tourist mecca with sand buggies for rent to drive up the steep sand dunes and (sand board) surf down again. Just of the oasis we found a popular Overlander camp spot and met some fellow travellers.
The next day we only drove some 116 km to the National Reserve of Paracas. We drove all over the peninsula and had a meal of Ceviche (raw fish salad) in the only restaurant on the peninsula. The reserve is a popular spot. Many Peruvian families go here for their holiday and find a nice place on the beach. We stopped early and made our camp on the beach front.