De aquí para allá- Where are the beaches?

Punta Hermosa, Miraflores y Castillo de Chancay. 21 de Marzo, 2011.
Asia a Punta Hermosa: 30 min
Punta Hermosa a Miraflores: 45 min
Miraflores a Chancay: 2 hs

A la mañana siguiente, salimos temprano en busca de Punta Hermosa, con la idea de pasar unos días tranquilos en el mar. Al llegar, descubrimos que punta hermosa no tiene casi playas con arena, y además tampoco había hoteles lindos que dieran al mar. Qué desilusión! Nos quedamos la mañana en la única playa que había, y decidimos irnos a Lima a almorzar. Llegamos a Miraflores pasado el mediodía y nos fuimos a un shopping sobre el mar (estilo Puerto Madero) con lindos restaurante, donde aprovechamos a comer un buen buffet de mariscos y postres. Como no queríamos quedarnos en la ciudad, averiguamos un poco y nos recomendaron un hotel en un castillo a unas 2 hs de Lima. Hacia allá partimos. El Castillo de Chancay no es muy recomendable, el lugar es muy grande pero está muy mal mantenido y un poco sucio. Ya era tarde asique no teníamos muchas opciones más que quedarnos ahí. Los chicos se divirtieron de todas maneras ya que había una cancha de fútbol y como además estábamos solos, pudieron correr, bailar y gritar a antojo. Hicimos un mini picnic y a dormir temprano.

Punta Hermosa, Miraflores and Castillo de Chancay.
March 21st, 2011.

We continued driving north, now very close to Lima, in search of a nice beach to stay at for a couple of days. We stopped at Punta Hermosa but ended up staying only for breakfast. No nice hotels near the not so nice beach. We played for a while in the ocean and then headed to Lima for lunch. We had decided not to stay in Lima because E and L didn’t remember an inviting city on their trip over a decade ago. We had lunch in the Malecón in Miraflores, a new place with lots of restaurants (including Chili’s and Tony Roma’s) overlooking the ocean. On the way out of the city the GPS sent us right through downtown while M and T were napping. It turned out to be a nice tour and the city looked quite good, better than we recalled. There is also a new transit system like Bogota’s Transmilenio that has improved the traffic and reduced pollution.
At times we have relied on information provided by iPerú, government-sponsored information centers in the main cities, and they have been great. We even got personalized information via email when we were planning the trip. L spent some time asking about places north of Lima while M E and T played some games. This was the first time they were a bit off. They told us to stop in Chancay to visit and stay at the Castle of Chancay. We arrived a bit late at the castle and stayed there even though it was poorly-maintained and dirty. The next morning we left before the castle tours began so we left without even knowing why the castle was there (we don’t regret it). T was relieved to see a nice soccer field. We played for a while and later watched a match by locals.

Barranca y Caral. 22 y 23 de Marzo, 2011.
Chancay a Barranca: 1.45 hs

Después de una noche en el castillo del terror, nos fuimos hacia el norte hasta otro pueblo: Huacho. Un puerto donde sólo paramos a desayunar. Seguimos más al norte hasta el siguiente pueblo: Barranca. El centro de Barranca está lleno de pequeños negocios/almacenes que todos venden exactamente lo mismo. Uno al lado del otro. Llegamos a un hotel que tenía juegos para los chicos y una pileta con tobogán, asique los chicos estaban fascinados. Desde Barranca visitamos la ciudad más antigua de América: Caral. Caral es un pueblo que se descubrió recientemente y data del 3000 a.C. Está ubicada en el medio del desierto, hacía muchísimo calor. Después de dos días de sol y pileta nos dirigimos nuevamente a la altura del Callejón de las Huaylas (3200 m.s.n.m.).

Barranca and Caral. March 22nd and 23rd, 2011.
After spending the night at the castle we continued heading north in search of a nice beach. We stopped at Huacho for breakfast but decided to keep moving and ended up in Barranca. Barranca is a seaside town but beaches were not very nice and we stayed at a hotel in the town. It had a pool with a big slide that M and T enjoyed. Walking around the town in search of a laundry place T noticed a strong smell in the streets. It came from the tons of fertilizers (mostly urea and nitrates) and pesticides that shops stocked. In many crop fields that we pass on the road we see lots of men spraying plant by plant. Not sure how the amount of fertilizer compares to those applied in other countries but it seemed like a lot is used here. Definitely not organic.

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