We arrived in Ica at around 8am in the morning and had to get to Huacachina which is about 6 kms away. We walked outside to the taxi rank and the only taxis there were the bike taxis similar to tuktuks. After a few minutes of Tim trying to explain to the driver that our bags wouldn’t fit as well as us and the driver not taking no for an answer, we decided to throw caution to the wind and get in the back. It was a definite squeeze but quite a laugh.
Huacachina is a tiny oasis surrounded by towering sand dunes. Think Sahara and you pretty much get the visual picture. It was apparently built as a holiday destination for the Peruvian elite so most of the buildings are old colonialist, built around a little lake. It’s really quite beautiful and you can walk around it in about 5 mins. The vibe is very laid back and fun.
Most things to do here revolve around the sand dunes, though there are vineyards as well in the area, producing sweet wine and Pisco. So off we went to sample the wares!
The vineyards were nothing like the others we have been to. Instead of fancy processes and procedures and sterilization. Here the wine is pressed by foot first and then a giant wooden press which is lowered by manually winding a crank. The juice then runs down little open air concrete channels into the next section, where it is poured into concrete vats to ferment. I mean the amount of foreign particles in this wine must mean that each bottle would be so different from the next!
To make Pisco they then take the juice and put it in a still to produce the alcohol. We then got to try both the sweet wine and the Pisco quite thoroughly. We visited two vineyards and were nicely toasted by the time we got back.
By late afternoon we thought it would be a great idea to take the free sand boards from the hostel and climb one of the dunes and board down. By the time we made it up it was sunset and the dunes were magnificent. I wish we could say the same for our sand boarding! In our defense the boards were bits of wood with laminate surfaces and Velcro to attach to our feet that wouldn’t stay on. Whereas others had actual snowboard boots and proper bindings and boards. We still had fun trying and sand definitely doesn’t hurt as much as snow. Though it seems to get everywhere! S
Our walk around the first vineyard, not much temperature control or hygiene but it was cool to see the amphorae. They used to use the amphorae to make the wine here but they lost the technique as it got passed down from generation to generation.