As I mentioned at the end of my previous blog post, I headed away from Lima this past weekend for a small excursion to the city of Ica and visited the village of Huacachina.
The city of Ica is about a 4-hour bus ride away from Lima and is located on the Ica River, near the desert coast in the southern part of Perú. Near Ica is an oasis built surrounded by the village of Huacachina (which is the popular tourist spot because this is where you can find the Ica dunes for sandboarding and sand buggy rides). Ica is known for their winemaking, specifically for their source of Pisco (a type of brandy produced here).
I left for the city of Ica by bus on Friday afternoon (Cruz del Sur bus service, I would highly recommend it – they give free snacks and a beverage during the ride). The bus trip to get to Ica was about 4 and a half hours or so and it was a direct trip. I went with two other girls from my IFSA study abroad program so we all split the price for staying at our hostel in the city of Ica (we stayed at El Huerto Hostel, which I would also definitely recommend – there was free wifi and breakfast was included). The owners of the hostel, Juan and Olga, were both extremely kind and helped us in arranging our tour on Saturday to go to El Cañón de los Perdidos.
On Saturday, we woke up early to leave our hostel at 6:45am. We headed even further south, for about a 3 and a half hour long car ride away from the city of Ica to get to El Cañón de los Perdidos. El Cañón de los Perdidos (“Lost Canyon”) is located in the southeast of the district of Santiago in Ica province. Even though it was a long trip to get to the canyon, it was definitely worth it! Walking through the canyon was such a surreal experience (at times I literally felt like I was in the movie Holes because we were basically in the middle of nowhere in the desert). Up above me I could see the black vultures flying around and seeing the lagoon in the middle of the canyon was spectacular. I don’t really have words to describe the experience of walking through the canyon so I’ll leave some photos below so that you can see just how amazing it really was.
We left the canyon around 12:30 and got back to the city of Ica at about 3pm. In the evening, after recovering from our long trip to and from the canyon, we decided to head over to Huacachina and catch a glimpse of the sunset (See photos below! It was INCREDIBLE!). We then went for a Pisco tasting in which we had the chance to sample 6 different kinds of Pisco. The two that I remember best are the Rosé and the straight Pisco shot. The Pisco shot was disgusting and burned my throat (even though it was a tiny amount, it was super strong). After the sampling and information on how the Pisco is made, we were able to buy the different liqueurs if we wanted to. My friend took advantage of the opportunity and bought a bottle of the Rosé for only 30 soles (that’s $9 USD, pretty cheap for a bottle of wine… you aren’t gonna get those kinds of prices for a bottle of wine back in the states that’s for sure).
On Sunday we spent the entire day at the village of Huacachina. This might have been my favorite day thus far in Perú because of the dune buggy ride and just in general, having the opportunity to be at the sand dunes. With the sand dunes surrounding the oasis, Huacachina is a place that just feels so calming and picturesque. The dune buggy ride was like being on a roller coaster. Our driver, Ricardo, went so fast (I guess my screaming didn’t bother him too much because he was NOT slowing that buggy down at all). I’m not gonna lie, I got scared to do sandboarding once I was at the top of the sand dune and looked down. I saw how steep the slope was and I just could not get myself to do the sandboarding; however, my friends both did it.
Now that I’ve described all of this in such immense detail, it’s time for some pictures (the best part, of course)!
El Cañón de los Perdidos
Sunset at Huacachina (it was even more incredible in person, trust me)
The oasis at Huacachina
Huacachina and dune buggy riding Ricardo (our driver) is the guy in the middle