After a nice short 4h bus ride along the coast from Lima we arrived in Ica and jumped in a taxi from there to Huacachina, a short 15 minute drive away. Immediately we were taken aback by this amazing little oasis town. Surrounded by huge sand dunes with a lake at its centre, it was breath-taking. Having researched a bit we already knew what we wanted to do here: Wine tasting, sandboarding and relaxing.
As soon as we arrived we got straight into it with a couple of hours sandboarding down the dunes. It was incredible. Our instructor showed us how to board and control lying down and sitting down on the boards. A few people rented proper snowboards and boarded down standing up. It was a hard workout as once you get the the bottom you then have to climb up the huge dunse with your board again. After doing a few runs each down the big slope it was time to watch the sunset from the highest point of the sand dune. To say it was beautiful would be an understatement. We eventually got down, had some dinner at the hostel with some others and that was about it. Not much going on so we decided to hit the stack.
After waking up early and having a nice breakfast we booked on to the wine tour. The only bad thing we could say about this is that it started at 11am. With the amount you get it was pretty lethal for the afternoon. Anyway we got on the tourist van with about 10 others from the hostel and went to the wine and pisco producing place in Ica. Upon arriving we were greeted by the owner and he showed us how they produce their wine from the moment they received the harvest to the final bottling stages. It was really interesting and we also got a history lesson how wine was first introduced by the Spanish. They brought vines over from Spain, France and Italy which have in turn adapted to the dry conditions. Nowadays the vines need watering twice a year and that is all.
After all of this we sat down in the shop for the tastings. The first three tastings were of the wine they produced. All three were quite sweet wines (even the red ones) due to the climate but all very delicious. The strongest wine was 16% abv for a red wine and the weakest was a rose wine at 10.5%. This was our least preferred wine funnily enough. With the wines down we moved onto Pisco tasting. Pisco is made in a similar fashion to brandy but is a clear liquid and always 42% abv. The owner told us how to drink straight alcohol over the course of the night without getting too drunk or getting a hangover the following day. We will keep that a secret 😉 Note that this only works with spirits made from fruits and plants. The technique made drinking very easy with no pain in the throat when it goes down. Legend.
We thought the tour was over at this point, how wrong we were. Our driver called us into another shop down the road for some more wine and pisco tastings. After having 5 booze shots in the first place we were given TEN here! YES TEN SHOTS!! Moving from wine to pisco to pisco creams we had a very good time here. The bus ride back after was some what livelier than the bus there!
We decided to chill by the pool and have a quick swim once we arrived back at the hostel. By this point we had sobered up enough to go and sort our Australian visas out. We went next door to a cafe with much quicker Wi-Fi to do this. So we naturally had a nice set menu, 3 courses and delicious. Soup, pasta and brownies & ice cream for pudding. The Visas did not take long at all and we got accepted immediately for our working holiday one. Australia see you on December 6th!!! As we had a late lunch we only needed a little bit of street food for dinner and once again with not much going on we had a fairly early night.
For our last day we spent the whole day chilling and sunbathing, swimming in the pool and eating some nice food before heading back to Ica to get the 18 hour night bus to Cusco.