Paracas was just a few hours from our farmhouse stay in Mala. We drove past the yellow mountains and the quirky stretches of shops and homes occasionally lining the highway. We drove through several one-lane towns, some of which Ivo said had been leveled by earthquakes not too long ago. We drove past streaks of dumped garbage and inspiring bursts of ocean-facing apartments.
Finally, after an accidental check in at the wrong hotel (since we believed ours couldn’t possibly be any further out), we reached the DoubleTree in Paracas, Peru.
What a place! Smack in the middle of several incredible landmarks, this place offered about twice the regular comforts of home.
It was extraordinary to think about the towns we had passed through on our drive here: most of the buildings had been made of painted clay, and many had looked unfinished with metal and piled materials jutting out of the roofs. Mechanics had been working on the bellies of cars by crawling into hand-dug pits underneath, and restaurants had been single-floored mom-and-pop shops with flapping signs and open fronts. Dust from the mountain had settled on everything, and women could constantly be seen combatting it with homemade brooms.
In comparison, this place glittered with glass and bleached white sheets. Every surface was polished, except for the sculpted stone walls. I sort of doubt that many of the native folks we passed get the opportunity to stay in this or any of the other nearby hotels.
That said, none of this thought train really touched me while we were actually there. Mostly, we just enjoyed the food, from Pisco Sours at the bar to gorgeous local dishes for dinner and room service in the evening.
Although the hotel was ocean-side and had stunning pools, it was far too cold to be swimming. Instead, we took the time to enjoy the scenery. Like most of the beaches I’ve seen in Peru, the sort of paradise-esque glow of calm Florida beaches was replaced by a moody skyline and heaving waves.
Perhaps appropriately, it had tossed up a few monsters for us to inspect on our walk too– the jellies below were massive: Chrissi’s foot barely covered just the radius of each top. Miami probably has its own fair share of mysteries in the water, but I won’t lie: seeing these guys made me just a little happy we had visited before the summer hit.