If we are in the desert, we’d better enjoy it!
Leaving a big city like Lima is no fun, and since our next destination was Cusco, more than 1100 km and 3500 mts in altitude away, we decided to take another bus.
The journey can be done all in one go, but that would be over one day sitting in a bus, too hard for adults and unbearable for Thomas and Simon. The best way would be to split it, and looking for nice stopovers on the way we decided to settle on the south route, stopping in Ica in order to visit the Huancachina oasis, and then in Nazca for the lines.
The journey to Ica was an acceptable 4 hours, first following the boring desert on the coast up to Paracas and Pisto, and then inlands towards Ica. Paracas is a famous natural reserve, but we decided no stop there as it seemed to offer a miniature version of what we had already seen in Galapagos.
Just before Ica we saw the remains of the previous’ days protests, with big stones on the side of the road and the rests from burning tires on the asphalt.
Ica is nothing special, just a medium size city in the middle of the desert. It is however full of backpackers because of the popular Huancachina oasis, just 4 km outside the city and full of hostels and outdoor activities. We decided to find an accommodation in Ica, as it would be cheaper and quieter, and then cycle over to the oasis.
Once there we were amazed by the amount of foreigners, considering Ica was a very regular provincial city with not much going. In the oasis you can rent buggys to drive over the dunes, you can sandboard the dunes with regular snowboards covered in candle wax, or as we did, you can just climb the nearest biggest dune and enjoy the sunset.
By pure coincidence we met there the Italian family we had met in Galapagos, so we went together to see the sunset. The sand is really fine so it was quite difficult to walk, and our shoes got filled of sand.
Simon and Thomas loved it. Simon could not stop grabbing sand to throw, and Thomas liked to roll down the dunes. The dune we and many others chose was steeper than we thought and it took a while until we reached the top.
We were lucky and we arrived just 15 minutes before the sunset, with plenty of time to find a good spot.
Then, when the sun was about to set, three motorbikers passed roaring behind us, at full power, trying to overcome the steep mountain side. It was so loud that it was impossible not to look, with the result that we missed the very last seconds of the sunset. Oh well…
The way down was pure pleasure for the kids, also the ones from the Italian family, just jumping and rolling down the sand.
When we reached the water down at the oasis, the four kids started playing together while the adults shared experiences of our respective trips, so we stayed there until late.
The way back we had to do it in the dark, but luckily we had lights and the road was good. Next day we will go to Nazca, which is only three hours away from Ica, still in a desert landscape.