For crellston Ayacucho (with Paracas)

Old Sep 20th, 2013, 07:31 PM
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For crellston Ayacucho (with Paracas)

I apologize in advance for typos and possible errors in prices.

This past week I took a short detour from Lima, to Paracas/Ballestas and then to Ayacucho.

Why Ayacucho? Stunningvcolonial architecture, artesania (especially the tallers in Santa Ana), local culture barely touched by international tourism. Also a fine climate and moderate altitude (2761 meters). Add the option of taking a day bus from the coast across the Andes on a paved road. Nearby an important Wari site and the village of Quinua. The Pampa de Ayacucho is historically significant altho for those with less interest in Peruvian history, perhaps optional.

Paracas: I did this from the Lima direction, following an overnight in Paracas. Cruz del Sur has a few services in to Paracas, vs stopping in the Highway. I took the 7 am from Lima, arrives in time for the tour to the reserve. Next morning the boat tour of Ballestas (both get a thumbs up). I used Zarcillo, they are at the Cruz del Sur station. They are probably slightly more $$ than some other options but the guide Yanina (sp?) was bilingual and knowledgeable (and also knows her birds!) The two tours together were 75 soles, plus 5 soles for each park entry. The Paracas Reserve tour leaves at 11 am, includes a stop in the fishing village of Lagunillas for lunch, about 1 pm. I did not follow the group (I suspect a kickback). Checked out the fish and went to the far left restaurant (20 soles menu). Our boat tour left late, and altho they have a fast boat I missed the 11am connection to Ayacucho.
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Old Sep 20th, 2013, 10:57 PM
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Getting to Ayacucho (from Paracas) involves going to San Clemente, where the two highways split. A taxi from Paracas cost more than the bus! (35 soles taxi, 25 soles bus). The better of the companies that does the route is Molina. This is a continuation service, but doing it from San Clemente means (hopefully) only 6 hours. If you want the full Peruvian bus experience, complete with cholitas wretching when you go over the highest part of the pass, go for the top level. I suspected trouble ahead when the attendant passed out barf bags. Lucky for me the mother and 3 year old sharing the seat next to me were fine. The little girl was mostly content. Altho she was not fond of me at first, "no me gusta esta tia."

We had a bit of excitement, to start with cries of "Dios mio" as the driver took several curves too fast. Then at Huaytará they had to carry a poor child off crying. I think the tossing around the curves opened up stitches from recent surgery. Finally about midway the road was blocked for about an hour as they winched a truck up from below the road (took out the guard rail around a curve). There were two petrol trucks only a few places back from the scene.  My advice is to definitely take the bus in the uphill direction from the coast. Also, spring for the VIP seats downstairs. One nice thing is that they stop 30 minutes for lunch at a decent spot at Pacra.

Because I missed the 11 am, I waited an hour hoping for shares on the auto/minivan services. We never got the 4-5 people needed . Cost on the shares is 35-55 soles.

For those too chicken to bus, you can now fly with Star Perú.

Lodging
Few hotels have a web presence. One that does is Via Via. Review on Tripadvisor.  Nice service, clean, hot water but I had a horrible noisy room.

Check out Hotel Marcos near the traditional panaderia, smells great there! phone 316867. I think they are in LP. Also noticed many hospedajes in Barrio Carmen Alto .
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Old Sep 20th, 2013, 11:16 PM
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Touring: We arrived around 7pm at the bus terminal, around 5 blocks from the Plaza. Walkable but I had no idea so got ripped off on the taxi (should be 4 not 10). Was immediately impressed with the buzz and beauty of the Center. People waking around til late. A popular activity is buying an ice cream (up to 2 soles). I spent the night at quiet but depressing Hospedaje Ayacucho on Lima Ave, 1/2 block from Plaza, 35 soles, wifi spotty in room. About 8 pm is when places start closing.

Next am went to iPeru for a list of church hours. Also advised that the artesania shops at "Penal" have best hours 3 to 7 pm. That day self toured various open churches, casonas, and did some shopping. Many places break from 1-3 pm for lunch. Via Via was disappointing despite nice service. As was La Casona for dinner. Why do I trust guidebooks on restaurants?
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Old Sep 21st, 2013, 12:22 AM
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Switched hotels in am hoping for a nice splurge (100 soles single) at Via Via. There was a large group of Americans also checking in, correctly targeted as a church group (visiting an orphanage they support). Also a couple from Arizona who were real tourists (they flew). The couple was headed out for a day of heavy shopping.

I tried to find a group tour but since it was temporada baja went with a private tour with Wari tours. Carlos was a nice guy, seemed to know many people and had his "favorite" stores but didn't mind when I wanted to look elsewhere. I paid 120 soles for 7 hours (custom private) as far as Pampas de Ayacucho. An English tour would be more.

My favorite sites were Quinua, Wari archaeology site, and a visit to the weaving workshop of a true Master in Santa Ana. This is not Sulca, the one usually suggested but another a few doors to the right at the corner. He mostly works for museums and private commissions. The works are in alpaca and often replicate Paracas, Wari and Inca patterns.
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Old Sep 21st, 2013, 12:31 AM
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Quinua is a pretty town famous for the pottery iglesias used on rooftops. It has a nice outdoor market (Carlos suggested Yuyo which is a green herb cooked with potatoes, delish). Caldo de Gallina is offered until about 2 pm.  You could surely get there by local transport, takes about an hour, a pretty but sometimes dusty ride, along the river valley. In spots you'll see brick ovens.
In Quinua I was looking for a small iglesia in natural colors, not easy to find! Carlos took me to the right spot, a house a bit uphill and the older gent could not make change for 5 soles, lucky I had 2.50 on hand ($1). The archaeological sight of Wari is worth a stop, the entry fee 2 soles and right off the highway. There is an active dig of a burial site, and the other sector excavated is a circular plaza with niches for mummies on one side, and homes of the priests on the other. The site itself is huge, mostly cactus covered stone walls.

crellston, if you also go to Pampas de Ayacucho, there are horses waiting for you. It is an impressive monument and a scenic area although maybe not a must see except for history buffs. Carlos pointed out the mountain range beyond which lies Apurimac (unfortunately still unsafe to visit).
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Old Sep 21st, 2013, 12:46 AM
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After a bit more shopping, ice cream and another meh dinner at Via Via my time was nearly over. Just as I was taking a final walk in hopes of catching an open church, a small parade from one of the Universities came thru the Plaza. Ayacucho is known for having a festival nearly every day (in fact there is one this weekend). If interested in dances etc it is best to write or research ahead, or you may trust your "festival luck."

My 9pm Cruz del Sur bus ride was not particularly eventful (nor comfortable). However there were no cries of Dios Mio, and the toilets were clean. In retrospect I would probably spring for the flight back to Lima instead. There is a Cruzero Suite which leaves later and has some wider seats.

I won't go in to shopping details unless requested.

If you have time and tolerance you might want to look in to going to Husncavelica, then the Tren Macho to Huancayo (certain days only). The road between Huancayo and Lima is paved. I think Wari or one of the other agencies can advise. I have heard that Huancavelica and surrounds are spectacular.

Good luck crellston, hope this helps. Photos won't likely be added til mid October.
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Old Sep 21st, 2013, 02:57 AM
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Thank you so much mlgb, this is fantastic!
Having some time spare between Arequipa and Lima we were considering all options, maybe flying to Columbia, BA or down south to. Patagonia but this makes much more sense and sounds fantastic.

I will re read, digest and come up with a plan to travel up from the south. The bus sounds interesting and I will try and avoid the vomiting Cholitas, although with my track record, I am not hopeful! I had recently revisited your TR on the train ride in that neck of the woods and so will try and incorporate that if possible.
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Old Sep 21st, 2013, 08:35 PM
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I am happy to give back. Today we had an interesting 4 hour detour to Cali airport instead of landing at Quito. Apparently the new airport gets afternoon winds that are too strong for landings. Finally arrived at hotel 13 hours after checkout in Lima. Glad I made it to the Marriott for a prepaid nonrefundable room!
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Old Sep 23rd, 2013, 03:29 AM
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What a pain! You would think that when deciding on where to place a new airport, the first thing they would check would be the wind!!
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Hi mlgb, we are shortly on our way to Lima from where we plan on flying in to Ayacucho spend a few days there before maybe checking out Huancavelica and on to Huancayo ( sadly there is only one train per month back to. Lima ,). I was just wondering how you found the temperature there. We will probably leave our bags in SAE Lima and just take what's needed - fleece, waterproof jackets required? Any thoughts? Currently baking in Arequipa at the moment despite the altitude.
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Old Oct 5th, 2013, 04:52 PM
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Hi crellston I was just thinking of you as I was up at Panecillo this afternoon and saw three ponies on offer for rides.

When I was there it just sprinkled a bit but there were often threatening clouds. Warm in the sun and cool at night. If I remember I just used the windbreaker layer for warmth during the day. However I would take a fleece if going to Huancavelica or up to the Pampas de Ayacucho for those horses.

You could check senamhi.gob.pe and see if there will be rain etc.
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Old Oct 6th, 2013, 07:09 AM
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Ho, ho, Begining to wish I hadn't posted about my riding expertise! Good job I didn't mention my elephant riding experience in Thailand a few years ago, I would never hear the last of it!

Thanks for the info, I will pack accordingly.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2014, 01:35 PM
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It's been nearly a year since I visited, and finally managed to upload some photographs!

https://picasaweb.google.com/kiwifan...oAndQuinuaPeru
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Old Aug 4th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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Great photos mlgb. nice to see what the town looks like and plaza without all the roadworks!!
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 06:08 PM
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OMG, mlgb, I'm so glad I didn't take that bus! I didn't see this thread when I planned my trip (I only went back 3 years), and even so, it's interesting to see how our time in the area had both similar and dissimilar moments. Thanks for posting and for bringing your words to my attention!
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 09:52 PM
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Nearly as memorable as the bus ride from Uyuni to Potosí

Bolivian bus ride from hell.

PS..I believe this particular road is now paved, so if you go to Bolivia it won't be quite as exciting!

Last edited by mlgb; Jul 24th, 2018 at 10:11 PM.
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