Ica and Huacachina: Sand buggying and a wine tour

[007256]Ica is a small town with not too much to do. Most people either go her to see the Oasis dessert, wine tour or see the Nazca lines. I absolutely loved the two options I took and would totally recommend both of these to others.

I arrived in Ica around 8am, where I was the only one who got off the bus. As per usually, taxi and tuk tuk drivers started pestering me to give me lift. Once I had collected my bag off the bus and composed myself, I took one of the tuk tuks to my hostel.

At the hostel, they were super welcoming and friendly, checking me in, showing me my room and explaining the different activities to do. There were a few things that other travellers had recommended me to do in Ica: one being the sand buggies in Huacchina and the other being the wine tour close by.

They let me take advantage of their breakfast buffet even though I had just arrived. It was a decent brekkie with cereal, fruit, bread, fried veggies, egg, tea and juices. Here I met a girl from the US, where we automatically clicked, and just chatted like we had known each other for ages.

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He had been teaching English in Chile and decided to travel a little before heading home. Also, I bumped into the German girl, who I met in Arequipa. Together we decided to do the sand buggies and sand boarding that afternoon.

For the rest of the morning, we chilled in comfy section of hostel, location on the third floor outside. We popped into the shop to some crackers and avocado as a snack.

Early afternoon, a group of us was picked up from the hostel to be taken to Huacchina, which was about a 20 minute drive. It was a tiny town with a lake, the sand dunes, several restaurants and hotels. As part of the deal we took, we were taken there early so we could walk around the lake,  and swim in the pool. However, instead, we relaxed by the pool just chatting to each other.

When it was time, we walked to the meeting point to start our buggie adventure. I had no idea what to expect. I knew it was going to be fun jumping over the sand dunes but I didn’t realise how extreme it would be. We literally hopped into the air at great heights, bouncing like frogs, twisting and turning, climbing up the steep mounts of sand and dropping down the other side leaving my stomach at the top. If we hadn’t had seatbelts on, we would have all been bashing our heads against the buggie and tumbling out. We were still jolting and hitting different parts of our bodies against the side of the vehicle.[005137]

After being thrown around the buggie for a while, we stopped to appreciate the incredible view of the sand dunes and start sandboarding. I say sandboarding but in reality, we laid on the board and slid down the sand dunes; there was no standing involved. At first, I was slightly scared. Obviously, I didn’t want to ride the board incorrectly and fall off. The first mount was short and not too steep but we tried it more and more on longer and steep sand mountain. It was just so much fun, speeding down the hill. Unfortunately, on one of the last goes at sandboarding, the German girl took off a little too early, meaning that she thought she would crash into me so she swerved, fell off the board and rolling down the hill. She had twisted her ankle as she rolled causing her to find it difficult to walk. Luckily, even though she was hurt, there wasn’t anything broken. I thought this meant this was the last of our time on the sand dunes but instead the driver carried on throwing us around the buggie driving speedily over the sand dunes. I did feel sorry for the girl ad couldn’t enjoy it anymore. However, overall it was an incredible afternoon, full of adrenaline and new experiences. I would totally recommend anyone in the area to do this activity.

Feeling overwhelmed with excitement, we finally back at the start point, where we were taken back to our hostel. During the evening, four of us girls went out to have dinner at a restaurant, where I had a special dish just made for me as I was vegetarian: pesto, cheese and vegetable pasta. It was huge and tasted amazing. Back at the hostel, the US girl and I plus two dutch guys, had a couple of drinks at the bar and played pool before heading to bed.

The following day, I tried to have a little lie in but others in my dorm didn’t feel the same and started making noise pretty early, being slightly inconsiderate. I just laid awake in bed before getting ready for the day and going upstairs for the complimentary breakfast.[004013]

Once I had a shower and packed my bag, I waited with the others for our pick up for the wine tour. Myself and the American girl with a few others went to the first winery at around 11am so nice and early to start tasting alcohol. The first place was a old looking, traditional, wooden like shed with barrels and some random objects in it. An older Peruvian guy explained the different red wines, talking about the years and taste. We tried several of these as well as pisco (a traditional Peruvian shot).

Next we were drive to the second winery not too far away, where they talked about the process and showed us where it is usually made. It was extremely hot here with the sun blazing. It was interesting to find out about this. The place was more modern with several restaurants around. After we sat down and tried some more wine and piscos. They all had different tastes.

After, we went to the last vineyard, riding through the fields, where grapes were grown. It was a huge, beautiful area, which looked extremely modern and expensive. We decided to take the tour in Spanish as we would have had to wait a long time for an English tour guide. First they talked about the history of the place and showed us the vineyards. We then watched a video explaining the different wine. After, we were taken around the winery, where we were shown the machinery used to make the different wines and told about the process. It was a huge complex and mind-blowing. They also showed us the packaging area and the old, traditional equipment they used to use. Again, we  tried different wines including white wine this time and, of course, some piscos. By the end, I was feeling a little tipsy. When we were finished, we drove back to the hostel.

The American girl and I grabbed some snacks and then got a tuk tuk to the bus terminal. After purchasing a ticket, we hopped on the bus, which was luxury and started our journey towards the capital, Lima. The bus was so plush with individual  screens for movies and we were given snacks for the ride as well as the seat being comfy. I kind of wished the journey was longer to take advantage of these. The time went so quick as I watched a few films.

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