Our original plan was to continue heading north from Cusco to Lima. We planned to drive to Pamela’s wedding and then head out to the Amazon before flying back to Santiago and from there to Easter Island.
But reports of flooding in northern Peru, ruined seaside towns and 70 dead gave us pause. We need to sell Gellan before we go so this is clearly not the time to adventure. Selling a foreign car in Peru is somewhat complicated compared to Chile and there are reports of car owners (Andy) not being able to leave the country without proof of having sold the car or left it with a Peruvian for safekeeping. Last but not least, most travellers are looking to buy cars in Santiago…
And so once Nelson Tours had wrapped up we decided to optimise our trip for surfing, head back to Arica for a week, fly to Lima for Pamela’s wedding and then take the last two weeks of our trip to drive south to Santiago.
Prior to leaving Cusco we decided to give Gellan some much needed TLC. Andy spent a day fixing the ladder and entry to the tent. Ajob originally advertised as a “5minute job”, it required multiple trips to the “car repair street” in Cusco and the assistance of all other overlanders at the campsite.
The day after we spent another 4 hours adding LED lights to Gellan so that we can drive at night. As we drive out of Cusco it starts raining and small drops of water drip in the car from where the lights have been fixed on the roof. We decide to press on seeing as we are technically spending the next month in the dessert, the thought of another 4 hours spent at the garage way too daunting for both of us.
We drive South West, through Arequipa and Tacna back to Arica. We spend the first night at 4,0000 hiding behind a gas station, next to a construction site.
The rain has not stopped all night but thankfully the car is not flooded. We drive through frozen lakes and snowed mountain tops. Our second night is spent at another gas station in the outskirts of the desert. We are regularly stopped by police who ask us where we are going and warn us about the state of the roads reminding us that we are finally of the beaten track, out of the tourist loop and blazing what appears to be (at least to the locals) an unusual path.
A three hour border crossing back into Chile and finally we are back in familiar territory. A quick supermarket shop, pizza delivered for dinner and we settle in for a week at Yoyo’s surf house.