The 7 hour long bus trip from Lima to Nasca made us familiar with long distance bus travel in Peru. Most tourists choose to travel with the “Cruzero” service of Cruz del Sur, a company that runs more than 130 state-of-art busses. For those who still worry about security on Peruvian busses, read on … It is basically like travelling on a plane. You check in your luggage, receipt is attached to your ticket. You then go through a metal detector and when boarding the bus the passengers are videotaped. The busses are equipped with GPS and headquarters permanently control where the busses are and how fast they are driving.
So much for safety, comfort is not less important. The attendant welcomes you and shows you to your seat and soon after departure serves you a meal. There are two classes, bottom floor has wider seats that almost recline completely, only nine passengers. The upper floor is only a little less comfortable, there are bathrooms of course and English Videos are played, not to loud. And most important, the temperature inside the bus is just perfect. Those who read our report on Venezuela might remember our suffering through arctic temperatures on overnight busses there.
Yes, the road between Lima and Nasca is acceptable! All these horror stories about drivers behaving like maniocs or kamikazes must be a thing from the past. We guess this safety and comfort has a price, 75 or 95 Soles, that is 23 or 30 USD for the trip, the passengers were mainly foreign tourists on the second floor, but interestingly mainly Peruvians on the more luxurious first floor, only business people it seems.
When crossing through the area of Pisco and the villages around, the immense damage caused by the earthquake with the incredible magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter Scale on August 15th, 2007 was clearly visible. Many people still live in tents and the rubble has been piled along the road. More than 500 people were killed during the earth quake and 85% of the houses in Pisco were destroyed!
In Nasca we checked in the Brabant Hostel, which was recommended by the Hostel de las Artes in Lima. It is very simple but very cheap (30 Soles / 7 Euros per night for a double room with shared bath since there are no room with private bath …), it is very quiet, perfectly clean and the owner, a Dutch woman married to a Peruvian, is really nice and helpful. The tours they organised for us were simply outstanding!
We immediately discovered that the restaurants on the tourist drag in central Nasca were not only boring but completely overpriced, so we picked a tiny restaurant and we had all three dinners there, the owners always welcomed us with a big smile and would get us a beer from the store next door, since these cheap eateries usually do not sell alcohol. Of course each time we ordered, we were not quiet sure what it was, but it was always delicious. The only difference to the tourist places is that those have an English menu, table cloths and a person outdoor trying to convince you to eat in “this” restaurant, which itself is already annoying …