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LUNAHUANA

The New Year was quickly approaching, and we still had no plans to bring in the New Year. To be honest, I’m not even sure how the idea of traveling to Lunahuaná came up, but due to its proximity to Lima, abundance of different activities, and availability of hotel rooms, we immediately made plans to spend the last few days of 2007 in Lunahuaná. Fernando, Paty, Pili, and I left Lima by bus at 9:00 am on the 29th of December to arrive in Cañete at 11:00am. From there we took a taxi the last 40 km to Lunahuaná. After the typical craziness of riding in a Peruvian taxi, we found ourselves on the outskirts of Lunahuaná where the city rests between the cerros with a river running through it. It was a beautiful site.

We arrived at the Rumi Wasi Hotel which was located 1-2 km from the main street that runs to the Plaza de Armas. The hotel had just recently built a 2nd floor, so everything was new and shiny with that new hotel smell. After checking into our room, we decided to make the most of those precious daytime sunny hours by relaxing by the pool. Sometimes the best parts of any vacation are doing absolutely nothing, laying out by the pool, and listening to some tunes! We decided that our real vacation would begin the next day with lunch and Canotaje!

The next day was New Year’s Eve and everything and everyone was open for business. Lunahuaná is a tourist town known for a few things: Water Rafting, Mountain Bike Riding, Wineries, Pisco, and fresh honey, all of which we had the opportunity to enjoy except for riding bikes on the mountain which we will do next time.

We contracted the rafting, city tour, and return taxi ride to Cañete and it costs us about 40 soles a person. Our rafting trip started at 11:00 am and the sun was bright and strong. After receiving a brief training class regarding how to sit in the boat, row, and to listen to the guide, we loaded into the boat and got going. Yours truly was placed at the front and in the first 2 minutes, I was soaked in some cool, refreshing, Rio Cañete water! There were 6 people plus one guide to each boat and the rafting lasted about an hour. For anyone who has never done this, it is a rush especially when you think the boat is about to tip over, but in general you feel pretty safe! Warning! Don’t take your camera or anything you don’t want to get wet on the boat! After finishing our rafting trip, we changed into some dry clothes and headed out to eat some lunch.

The food in Lunahuaná is overwelmingly shrimp biased. When reading the menus at the restaurants we visited, I couldn’t help but think about Forrest Gump. Shrimp, shrimp, shrimp! I can easily recommend cebiche de camarones or camarones al ajo. Both were delicious! Make sure you budget plenty of time to eat in Lunahuaná because the service is even more laid-back than Lima.

After eating lunch and a short nap, we made a visit to the Plaza de Armas in downtown Lunahuahá. The town center is a typical center with a park, shops, church, and government buildings. The park has quite a few Pisco stands with the various wineries offering samples and drinks of their product. I had a few tragos and can recommend the Passion Fruit Pisco Sour! The time seemed to pass quickly, possibly due to the pisco, so we went back to our hotel to prepares ourselves for the New Year’s Eve celebration after having started earlier in the day! The hotel put on a really nice show with a live band playing different types of music. At sun down the fireworks started and you could see and hear the displays all over the valley with pops and bangs highlighting the night every 30 or so minutes with a roar at midnight. We enjoyed a nice turkey dinner with vegetables. Dancing into the night, enjoying beer, and wine, we brought in 2008 in style. We went to bed a little early, 3:00am, so that we could get up the next day for our tour that started at 1pm.

The hotel was nice enough to allow us to checkout at 5pm after our tour which allowed us to wake up and enjoy the morning with little packing pressure. We had an early lunch at the hotel, shrimp, and our tour group picked us up at our hotel. After some brief history about the area, we headed off to the Incahuasi ruins (meaning Casa del Inca) which is located about 20 minutes from the downtown area. We took a short tour through the ruins, and left with some good pictures and history. The tour continued to a honey making farm with explanations, demos, and opportunity to buy fresh made honey. Next, we stopped at the plaza de armas for a discussion about the church and other city information. From there, we headed to the Viñas los reyes winery where they make pisco and wines. After trying ALL the wines and piscos we ended up purchasing 3 bottles of wine for 20 soles to enjoy later as a remainder of our trip! The tour was was nice, relaxing, fun, and we had the opportunity to purchase items from local farmers and producers. Since we negotiated our taxi ride back to Cañete with our tour, they dropped us off back at our hotel and picked us up 2 hours later. After the short bus hop from Cañete, we arrived back home, relaxed and ready to kick off the new year!