How to get from Huaraz to Lima

  • Day one
    • Return from your lovely four day trek in the Cordillera Blanca. Hear through the grapevine that there was flooding in Lima and your 9AM bus might be cancelled tomorrow.
    • It was. Wait.
  • Day two
    • Wait.
  • Day three
    • Buy tickets for the next day. Get excited.
  • Day four
    • IMG_3232
      Hillside living in Huanuaco.

      Show up at 8am at the bus station only to learn the roads have been closed. Panic, find group of desperate travelers. Go to the police with several other foreigners, get told by the police that the roads will be closed for another four days. Not being able to take the boredom any longer, take matters into your own hands.

    • Take a four hour bus ride to La Union. Realize that this town is terrifying  and you must get out before sundown.
    • Get in to a 20 year old’s Toyota Yaris as he says he’ll drive you and four others to Huanuco. Ride for four hours sharing the front seat. The road will not be paved, the road has no side and ends in a cliff, and it’s night time. There are no street lights, so it’s very dark. The driver will cross into the other lane consistently despite the pitch black blind corners. You will cry. The driver will repetitively punch your leg to downshift. Be grateful you wore pants.
  • Day five
    • IMG_3237
      We are dead behind the eyes.

      Wake up in an odd business hotel in Huanuco. It’s a boring and unfriendly town but the man at the bus counter said that buses where leaving that night at ten. Spend all day in a town too small to make the map. Go to both malls, eat awful food, walk up and down the riverfront gardens which are covered in barbed wire and trash.

    • Check in at the bus station at seven to reaffirm that the bus is still leaving. Get confirmation, get dinner, pick up bags from hotel and cross town at night. Arrive at the bus station at 9:30. Be told that the bus is, in fact, not leaving for Lima. Panic, return to awkward hotel where the concierge will give you a told-you-so look.
    • Just before going to bed your trekking guide will let you know that the buses are up and running between Huaraz and Lima again.
  • Day six
    • IMG_3240
      Pigs and dogs alike love the local cuisine in Cerro de Pasco!

      Refuse to take the death road to La Union. Decide that it’s better to take a car to Tarma. Be dropped off at the communal bus station, only to be mugged by six extremely touchy men shouting at you to drive to you Tarma. Find a guy willing to drive you and Eric (and anyone else he can stick in his car) for 40 soles ($13) each. He hassles you for money at the gas station, only agree to pay half your fare.

    • Drive for 90 minutes or less than half the route you agreed on. Arrive at Cerro de Pasco. A purgatorial mining town which is also the highest city in the world with over 50,000 residents at 14,210 feet above sea level. The man will take you no further but finds some “buddies” to take you to Lima for only another 40 soles extra per person. Try to out wait them. Give up, get out of the car and walk to the dank bus station. There will be no other travelers in town. If you see a non-local it’s probably just a VICE journalist writing a piece like “A Giant Hole is Swallowing a Town in Peru”, or something.
    • IMG_3250
      In the battle between hole and town, I have my money on hole.

      Buy a ticket to Huancayo. The bus driver says that the bus is leaving in five minutes, staving you buy an olive sandwich from a woman. Tricks! It’s just a moldy roll with five olive placed so you can see them on the outside. The inside is empty. Ride for six hours. Be sure to take pictures of La Oroya, the town made the most polluted places in the world list in 2007. 

    • Ride a bus for six hours. Go to bus station only be told that the road to Lima is still blocked. Find and sleep in another weird business hotel.
  • Day seven
    • Wake up to find out that the hotel doesn’t really offer breakfast. Go to the market and drink a papaya juice as large as your head. Agree that this has been the highlight of the week.
    • Walk around town, it’s Sunday so everything will be closed. Even the park will be roped off.
    • Eat some fried fish and tongue soup. Question if it’s delicious or if you’ve just  given up.
    • Go to the mall. Again.
    • Come to the conclusion that you can loop back around to Lima. That just means that you can take a bus to Pisco instead. Get really excited, slightly manic.
    • Arrive at the bus station at 10:45 PM just to be told that sorry, no buses are leaving to Pisco tonight, that was just a one time thing. Buses are still leaving, but to Lima and it might take 15-20 hours.
    • Cry in public (again). Find the one legit bus company in the station and buy a ticket leaving tomorrow at one.
    • Spend the night in a really odd event space / hotel.
  • Day Eight
    • Wake up wondering if you can walk back to the states. Might be worth a try?
    • Eat breakfast, your host tells you that all the roads are closed and no one is leaving for Lima.
    • Ignore host.
    • Call bus company, they confirm that the roads are closed.
    • Ignore bus company.
    • Walk to bus terminal, you will get chased by dogs. You will trip down stairs that the ADA would hate.
    • Arrive at terminal, have the clerk let you know that yes, the bus is leaving.
    • Sit on the bus with 100% certainly that you will be kicked off at any moment.
    • Strangely get upgraded to a first class bus La-Z-Boy like seat?
    • THE BUS PULLS OUT. YOU ARE DOING IT.
    • Arrive in Lima ten hours later.

 

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2 Comments

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  1. What an effing nightmare! So scary sounding. Peru is officially on my list of places not to visit.

    Like

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