Por La Carretera – Arequipa

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Volcano El Misti

Volcano El Misti

So we took the southern road to Arequipa, Perú. A long bus ride from Lima, 1,000 kilometers away.

We boarded the bus at 6:00pm. Our first long distance bus in a while: given the relatively short distances, our bus rides in Panamá and in Costa Rica were under ten hours. We packed everything we would need for the overnight journey: sweaters, water, food, music, books…It was a double-decker bus and we had the two front seats, and a great view of the road.

We drove away at sunset, observing Lima´s suburb, mostly slums built on sand hills. What a strange city, caught between the desert and the sea. We followed the Panamericana Sur, along the Pacific Ocean, passing through Pisco and Nazca, a vast coastal desert, arid lowlands and sand dunes. We then entered Canyon country, miles of a narrow black road among sun-drenched red and yellow dunes. We crossed rivers, along the twisty road, our bus each time closer to the edge, the emptiness of the canyon. We hold our breath as the bus passed trucks and speeded through the mountains.

I watched the landscape changing before my eyes, the sunset, the sunrise and our quest from freedom, escaping from a world we know way too well.

Arequipa, surrounded by three volcanoes, El Misti, Chachani and Picchu Picchu, reminds me of Antigua, Guatemala. Colonial yet traditional, quiet yet busy. Colorful buildings and a central plaza with its enormous cathedral.

We are so close to Bolivia…


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. It takes some guts to do a trip like that on the front seat I guess!

    By the way how are you planning your trip? Are you using a guide book? Or do you have ideas of where you want to go after your last trip?

  2. @Tulsa Gentleman – I promise I will make a post on food, but to be honest with you, so far, it´s not that wow. Mostly arroz con pollo (rice and chicken), beans etc. Nices cakes though.

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – I´m dying for a ceviche de camaron now!

    @shionge – Probably a few more months… we still have all of South America to explore! I´m waiting for the snow to melt in Ottawa 🙂

    @Khengsiong – Yes, defibitely. Dresses are very traditional, especially in the peruvian highlands as well as in Bolivia.

    @Liz – We don´t plan much to be honest. We have a Lonely Planet with us, gives us an idea of the routes etc. But we go with the flow… It´s quite easy really. And we missed quite a few places last time so we have an idea of where to go and what to expect.

    @Scarlet – You would love it, with your artistic eye! May be a bit cold for you though 😆

    @kyh – Me too! The volcano is quite a surprise when you arrive in the city, it really adds some perspective.

  3. Zhu!!! Sorry for being away from your blog for so long! I’m happy that everything is going well and love to see the gorgeous photos you are taking! Keep them coming 😀

  4. Sazlut Zhu,
    One again, the champion bus travelers have survived another trip !
    I think it must be pretty surreal at times going through all types of conditions and climates… a bit like Life itself.
    Love your pics ( Comme d(hab ;). The volcano is stunning.I like volcanoes( of course, minus the angry ones !); they remind me of the place that where I grew up.

    Take care
    Bises xx

  5. So colourful! Your architecture shots have wonderful lines, very pleasing to the eye. (Not that I want to ‘jinx’ you, but one advantage to uploading on the road is archiving your best shots so if your memory cards get corrupted or stolen you don’t lose everything.)

  6. @Gledwood – Latin America has plenty of brightly colored walls. Love it too.

    @Aiglee – No problem! Hope everything is fine in Toronto 😉

    @barbara – You are right, once again, makes me think of Hawaii! It is a bit crazy to change cities, weather etc. But the freedom is great…

    @expatraveler – Thank you!

    @Gail at Large – I know, Ì´m bit a bit paranoid about my memory cad too. I upload the best shots on Flickr, so that, worse case scenario, I have a backup. I once lost my camera with the film inside and I cried for two days!

  7. What beautiful photos! I’m headed to Peru for my honeymoon in April. I would love to have any recommendations on where you stayed in Lima and Arequipa — also any favorite restraurants or special places to see there. Thanks much! cathylee2006 [at] gmail.com

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