Driving through Central America is pretty cool, you can drive from one side of a country to the other in a single day or decide to stay a month or more really getting to know a place.
South America, is a bit different. Most of the countries on this continent are MASSIVE. You really need to adjust your scales when thinking of driving distances in South America vs Central America.
Sometime back in Panama we were speaking with our friend Vanessa about coming down to visit. We weren’t exactly sure WHEN but we knew we would eventually make it Peru, home of Machu Picchu. The quintessential tourist destination in South America. A quasi-gameplan was set for Vanessa to fly into Lima, Peru where we would pick her up and then drive to Machu Picchu. I quickly glanced at the map online, Lima to Machu Picchu was only like 1.5 inches on the map. No big deal. A tentative date was set, plane tickets were purchased and we didn’t really think about it further.
As our friends arrival date approached I finally starting looking into the logistics of this upcoming excursion. From our homebase here in Huanchaco it was a 9-hour drive to Lima. From Lima it was a nice and easy… TWENTY HOUR drive from Lima to Cusco.
That’s 2 solid days of driving on either side of the trip, effectively knocking her 7 day vacation down to a 3-day vacation.
We started scrambling for alternatives, we looked into flights from Huanchaco to Lima and Lima to Cusco. The last minute flights were going to be expensive, more than we could afford on our dwindling budget. I crafted a solution I like to call…
1. Wake up buttcrack early in Huanchaco
2. Drive 9 hours to Lima
3. Pick up Vanessa from Lima airport at 10PM
4. Drive 7 hours from Lima to Nazca throughout the night.
6. Arrive in Nazca, if the sun is not up yet, sleep for a few minutes.
7. Once there is enough light, hit the hairpinned highway up into the mountains towards Cusco, drive drive drive drive 13 hours.
8. Arrive in Cusco. Collapse into lifeless ball on ground.
Close to 30 hours of driving in a span of 48 hours. It sounded do-able, certainly not fun but I knew the 4Runner could handle it, if I could. Lauren called me crazy, she said we should just take our time. But now that “The Gauntlet” was crafted in my mind there would be no turning back. It was “Me VS The Road”