Our night bus from Cusco finally arrived back in the desert, in busy Ica where we hopped into a taxi to take us the short ride out of town to the oasis of Huacachina. It’s always fun to get a taxi that the guy has to start with a screwdriver, and we didn’t even get taken to the hostel we asked for, but we arrived in one piece and we were knackered so just decided to stay where we were taken. With a cheap private room, swimming pool, and bar, we couldn’t complain.
Huacachina was the perfect opposite to Cusco – low, dry, sandy desert- and more importantly had nothing to do there so we could relax all we needed after a busier couple of weeks. Actually, that’s a lie. You can go sandboarding in the nearby dunes, a cool but terrifying looking sport which is basically snowboarding but on sand (surprisingly enough). However, a detail I left out of my previous blog was that I had a rather nasty fall on a cobbled Cusco road (thankfully after having done the Inca trail) which left me with a left ankle twice the size of the right, and definitely no ability to go trekking up sand dunes, let alone throwing myself back down them on a board. So relax we did, and had a couple of days going back and forth between the pool, the bar, and various eateries. It was all touristy and samey but we had a good time anyway.
On our way out we went to a little winery in Ica. Peruvian wine is terrible and sweet but it was a fun hour or so anyway, and we got to so some Pisco tasting. It was only 10am, but the only other thing we had to do that day was get a bus anyway…
Our next stop was not too far away in the much more well known Nazca, home to literally nothing but the Nazca lines out in the desert and a ton of pizzerias/tourist restaurants. As soon as you’re off the bus people try and sell you a combo of flights over the lines and buses moving on that night. Because noone wants to spend more than the minimum required time in Nazca. We were taking it slow so decided to find ourselves a bed for the night anyway. I’d get myself on a plane the next day to see the lines (Rav wasn’t keen on the small planes so gave it a miss) and then we’d be out of there. I really don’t have much to say about Nazca itself though. It was ok. Hot.
The plane ride was an experience. I was picked up from town by a very chatty taxi driver and spent the journey being asked about the intricacies of the English language (“What is the difference between a jungle and a rainforest?”, “When are you in the Highlands and when are you in the mountains?”) and soon arrived at the tiny airport which only catered for Nazca lines flights, and had just a row of little planes. We watched an incredibly over the top american documentary about the lines as we waited (they are essentially a mystery but probably some part of a kind of pre inca rain ritual). Eventually it was time to get on board. It was a cool ride. There were 5 of us in the plane, plus pilot and copilot, and we went past each sign twice so that it was visible out of both windows. This meant lots of tight turns, and left everyone feeling pretty queasy, but it was worth it for the view. I’ll finish off this entry with some pictures of the lines, then start off next time after our (yet another) night bus to Arequipa.