The first leg of this epic road trip from Arica to Quito took us through Peru. The car was a super comfortable Mitsubishi Pajero with all the comforts you need on a long road trip. We left Arica at the end of June on our two-week road trip which turned into nearly a month! I was travelling with Pancho, a friend of mine from Arica. He was the boyfriend of my landlady and he took me on his next business trip.

Pancho’s itinerary

  • Visit plantations near Arequipa and stay with one of his friends for the night in Camana
  • Drive to Nazca to visit another plantation
  • Stay in Chincha a few days to visit Fruchincha, a massive plantation
  • Go to Lima with Arturo, the director of Fruchincha and meet a friend of Pancho
  • Stay in Lima a couple of nights
  • Drive to Quito with Arturo and Pancho
  • Spend two nights in Quito
  • Drive back non-stop to Arica, stopping off here and there to sleep
  • Fly from Arica to Santiago de Chile for a week

Arriving in Arequipa

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We first went to Arequipa, driving overnight. Pancho had a Mitsubishi Pajero, imported from Japan from the first owner. I actually found some Japanese documents in the glove compartment with fuel receipts and other stuff. Pancho had driven thousands of miles in his life so I thought I would be OK to put my life in his hands – so I just slept during the night!

Arequipa is a fascinating city full of history. The entire city has been destroyed at least a dozen times in earthquakes, yet the residents always rebuilt it. It has an amazing main square, some huge cathedrals and history museums. A lot of tourists stop here on their way to Cuzco and Machu Pichu, so prepare with huge crowds!

We arrived in the morning and spent a day in Arequipa visiting an avocado plantation. These guys export the avocado mostly to the US and Europe and only sell the third grade product in Peru or Chile. This was the first large scale plantation I had ever seen – it was more than 4,000 hectares and all with avocado! The trees were just everywhere as far as the eye could see.

The Night in Camana

After the plantation visit we went on to Camana where we stayed with Pancho’s friend. The house was very simple but they put us up in separate rooms and I slept like a baby. In the morning they made us breakfast then we set off to Nazca.

The Nazca Lines

I was looking forward to seeing the Nazca lines but they were quite disappointing. They had a few viewpoints and you can climb the hills to have a look but it’s pretty much a waste of time. The entire area is a dry desert and everything is the same colour so it is difficult to make out the lines. Even if you fly around it’s going to be a similar experience so I wouldn’t waste the money on it.

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