Slowly I wanted to make my way to Cuzco, but since it’s more than 30h by bus from Huaraz, I wanted to do some stops inbetween. I looked at the map of Peru and picked two locations that seemed to be good according to the distances and the hours that I would spend in the bus. But in Peru a straight line isn’t always the fastest way …
My destination was Ayacucho, which is in the south-east of Lima, a third of the distance to Cuzco. Only nine hours from Lima (you get used to those time spans!), but first I had to go to Lima, which were another nine hours from Huaraz.
I went in the morning by a very cheap bus (25 soles) from Huaraz and arrived in the afternoon in Lima. Immediately I looked for a bus company serving Ayacucho and found Expreso Molina. For 10 soles more (60 soles in total) I chose this time the first class, hoping to be able to sleep better during the ride. The three hours till the departure I filled with a visit to one of the many cinemas in the Lima center. It was Tuesday and I only paid 5 soles for watching “The Contract”.
The bus to Ayacucho was comfortable and the road was asphalt, however with too many curves. Constantly I was thrown from one side to another, which made it difficult to sleep. But I was able to sleep some hours and in the early morning I arrived in Ayacucho.
I went to the hostal Tres Mascaras, which is in the street with the same name. Although it is situated at a very busy street, where it’s really hard to breath(!), it is quiet inside. There’s even a little garden where you can have a breakfast, which I had after I checked in.
Afterwards I went to the nearby Plaza de Armas and saw a sign of a day trip starting in five minutes. I asked for it and payed 30 soles to see the highlights around Ayacucho. In a taxi the tour started with me and three other people, the guide sitting in the trunk He talked in Spanish and I was very tired at first.
We drove more than half an hour until we arrived to “El Obelisco de la Pampa”. This obelisk stands for the battle of Ayacucho that also defines the day of independence for Peru and South America. The obelisk can be visited for a little price. A very small museum is also inside. We spent half an hour at this place while children came to us with their little cute goats to receive some money.
We went on to another site of the Wari/Huari, where our guide gave us a little tour through the ruins. After I have seen so many ruins, this was just another pile of stones to me and the sun was burning down on me. However you always hear something new and interesting on such tours and it wasn’t boring at least.
The rest of the time we spent in a little village with many handcraft shops. The art that was sold there was really cheap and the couple that was in our tour bought several bags of artwork. Since they are going home soon they can do it, but I still have a month to go and wouldn’t want to carry much more stuff with me around. But I also bought something that didn’t fill out my backpack so much
After we visited at least seven handcraft shops, we went back to Ayacucho. Back there I was planning my next step where to go to. I wanted to go to Abancay, which is between my current location and Cuzco. From there it’s close to Cachora, where treks to Choquequirao starts. This site is similar to Machu Picchu but way less touristy. Since I came from the west, it would have been unintelligent to go first all the way to Cuzco (east) and then go back to the west again to start the trek. So I tried to find some agencies in Abancay, but this seemed to be difficult. All I found were agencies from Cuzco. I even phoned with one that seemed to be in Abancay, but this phone call was becoming very difficult too and talking in Spanish (on the phone) wasn’t one of my specialities. In the end my credit of my phone card had disappeared and the line was disconnected.
I wrote this company an email to give me all information how I can do this trek starting from Abancay … quickly. And indeed, they were quick! They wrote a personal email to me with the whole schedule for this trek. It sounded really nice, but the price $600 was too high for me. I decided then to go to Cuzco and find something there. According to some websites, treks were already offered for less than $400, but later I found out that it gets even cheaper.
So instead of looking for a bus company that goes to Abancay, I looked for one going all the way to Cuzco. I found two “Expreso de las Chankas” and “Celtours”. I chose the latter one for the next morning (55 soles) and with this one I was going to be surprised … very surprised. But this in my next post.
One more thing … buses must be changed in Andahuayllas and the whole journey takes around 20 hours. I was surprised that it was still so long, since there are some buses from Lima that need less than 20 hours and I was much closer to Cuzco. The secret is the road! When there’s no asphalt, the speed of the bus decreases very quickly and this road that was laid out in front of me, that was a challenge … especially for the stomache.