20.01.2016 - 02.02.2016
As promised, here is a post completely dedicated to the 2nd Rotary trip of my exchange.
Let me start off by saying that I originally planned not to go on this trip, but I am SO SO SO glad that I did. I liked this trip so much better from the 1st trip, but maybe it's because the 2nd trip came at the time that I needed it and it was so much more relaxed and it was entirely beaches (and who doesn't like beaches?).
On January 20th, I departed with 41of the 75 exchange students for our trip to the northern region of Peru/southern region of Ecuador. We road-tripped in buses for about.... ehhhhhh..... 21 LONG LONG LONG hours to Trujillo, Peru to a nice beachy hotel that had pretty decent food and a short walk to the beach. On the way there we stopped in Caral which is the most antique civilization in all of the Americas. It was a nice break as we had been sitting in the bus the whole day. We were there for about 2 days and saw some archaeological sites like Chan Chan (which was pretty interesting) and Huaca del sol y de la luna, and we walked around the plaza de armas of Trujillo for a little bit. We had lots of free-time and it was such a tranquil part of the trip.
On the 23rd, we went to the city of Lambayeque and saw the valley of the pyramids. It was a short stop on our way to Mancora. The majority of the day we were traveling and not a whole lot happened to be completely honest. We got to the hotel in Mancora at like 1 in the morning and we were all so dead tired (or so I thought), but there were some really energetic exchange students that were still up until 4 AM just chilling on the beach with a bonfire, but my roommates and I went to sleep because we were exhausted and also wanted to have sufficient energy for the following day.
On the 24th, I swam with giant sea turtles. I still can't believe I did that. It was such a rare but very eclectic experience. It took some adjusting to because there were so many turtles that were little swimming all around me, but then it wasn't so bad and I embraced them. We returned to the hotel and had the rest of the day free and then my roommate and I took a nap and repacked our things as we were leaving the same day to go to Zorritos.
I don't really remember the drive to Zorritos, but I remember getting to the hotel and being so excited about having AIR CONDITIONING. The first hotels didn't have any air conditioning, and so I put my room on 17 degrees (Celsius) and froze happily. We stayed in our hotel for about 2 days (I believe). It was beach front and so there was no street-crossing or anything, you literally just left your hotel room door and were on the sand. It was a beautiful beach and there weren't a whole lot of people, but we weren't allowed to swim in the ocean because that same day, someone had drowned and died and the last thing we needed was to lose any exchange students or have any near-death experiences.
From there, on the 26th (if not the 25th) we departed for Ecuador. We were all waiting for this part of the trip because A) we were leaving the country and seeing more of South America and B) new food. Unless you've been an exchange student, you will not understand how we idolize food. Going through immigration was a breeze which was surprising because there were about 44 people who needed to leave and we actually got done EARLY. Everyone was prepared (which also wasn't expected) and there were 0 problems. On our way to our destination, we were all fascinated with the vast amount of banana trees, the beautiful mountains, the people, THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE DRIVING LAWS IN ECUADOR, the drive through Guayaquil and the change in temperature/humidity. It was such a beautiful drive into Ecuador and driving out when we left to Peru, too. We arrived at our resort at some point that night at around 9-10ish and I remember my jaw practically hit the floor because of how beautiful and expensive our resort was. It was a 5 star, all inclusive resort and when they told us all inclusive, the first thing everyone thought was that we would have an unlimited amount of food. I remember going to my room and being so in love with the soft beds and view from my window. We all went down to dinner and just couldn't believe the amount of food that was available to us and how GOOD it all was. It was so incredibly delicious that I am getting hungry just thinking about it. We all went to bed at some point much much later that night and we had the next day free.
The next day was such a relaxing but fun day and I got very very very burned (like 1st degree burns, burned), but I was toasted and happy so it didn't matter much. I spent the whole day going back and forth between swimming in the ocean and swimming in the pool and by the end of the day I was a literal raisin. But, I ate well during the day so I had sufficient energy. I spent a lot of time with the other exchange students and we all started integrating amongst ourselves and kind of leaving the "cliques" behind (at least for that day) and it was a special time for all of us.
The next day, we ate breakfast and lunch at the hotel and I remember everyone getting so excited about the pancakes and French Toast and waffles at breakfast and the ice-cream at lunch and I think that everyone was on cloud 9 the whole time we were at the resort. We then departed, after lunch, to go to Guayaquil.
We stayed in a hostal in Guayaquil and while it wasn't anyone's favorite place during the trip, we were only in Guayaquil for 1 night so it didn't really matter. During our 2nd day in Guayaquil we went and saw iguanas (that just roam around in this little park, almost like stray cats or dogs), we climbed 444 steps and then some more to get to the top of a lighthouse where we saw all of Guayaquil, and all in the pouring rain. We were all soaking wet by the time it was all over, but it was definitely a memorable experience, more than anything else. We went back to the hotel, dried up, then packed ourselves into the buses to go back to Peru. We got through immigration very easily (again) and we all got our new visas for the rest of our exchanges and we returned back to the same hotels we stayed in on our way up to Ecuador.
We had more free-time on the beaches back in Peru and the rest of the trip was spent relaxing above all else. There weren't any planned activities, really. At one point we went to an Crocodile "farm" but I can't remember what day that was, although it was kind of interesting.
I got back to Lima on the 2nd and now I'll spend the rest of February hanging out with my friends and enjoying summer before the school year starts again and I go to university.
We have a trip to the Amazon from March 3-6 and I'm mega mega mega excited.
Below are some of the best pictures from the trip!
Always looking forward to new experiences,