A desire to fly across the DUNES=ICA

Ica Travel Blog

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I've never encountered a sand dune before, so when I found out about the dunes in Ica, I immediately made reservations to see the oasis I had read about in my beloved Lonely Planet, which by the way, I accidentally left on my bed! :( Luckily, one of my friends is arriving on the 15th and will be able to carry it with her:) I took Cruz Azul, which is the only bus line that my friend's aunt and uncle would allow me to take! Great comfy seats, snacks along the way, and wonderful companions as I began the trip at 4am to Ica! We traveled along the coast, and I had the chance to view Pisco, Paracas, and the ever beautiful coastline. We stopped along the way at various resorts that I had read about online... $75.00, $35.00, $40.00. Did I want to pay that much for a room??? I didn't have a reservation, and I decided to wait until the bus station thinking that I'd have time to narrow down the possibilities as well as ask a few questions from the locals about the venues.

Upon arrival, I was picked up by a local taxi driver who offered to show me Huacachina. I kindly refused and showed him my list of establishments. He looked them over, laughed, and showed me the Huacachina pamphlet again as he asked me what I wanted to do in Ica. I told him that I wanted to sandboard and ride the dune buggies, to which he laughed again, and told me that I needed to stay in Huacachina where the sand dunes were located. I looked at him, and decided to take his advice, and off we went!

I found myself in a deep discussion with my taxi driver from the moment I entered the car as I asked questions about the town, about his family, about the educational system, and the economic situation, about the protests and the government.

My eyes were opened as I discovered more information about the lovely people thriving or surviving in Peru. Such hard workers, such community-oriented people. It is beautiful to see. They take care of one another, even when it means sacrificing their own happiness. They fight for one another, even when it means the loss of a job or a friendship. They encourage and support one another. So, I was taken to his family's hostel, I couldn't help but take one of the rooms. $6.00 for my own room... I was in heaven EVEN if the hot water didn't work the entire time:) I realized that I was helping a family, and that, in itself, made me smile.

I explored the town by taking a 30 minute jog around the center determining where I would eat and what I would do while staying in the oasis town of Huacachina.

There is a lovely pond in the center of the town, filled with paddleboats and benches along the side. It's a lovely town center... it truly is an oasis where people are expected to relax and breathe in the beauty of the place.. to sit and think.. to enjoy their surroundings.

I met some people along the way who told me about their sandboarding experiences, and I quickly signed up with my hostel. I traveled with 3 guys from Israel and a gal from Japan across the dunes in a red dune buggy:) My first sandboarding experience... we waxed our boards, climbed up to the highest peak, and as I got ready to slide down the embankment, I stopped myself as I saw the steep incline... I let my feet go, and flew down the sand, enjoying the wind on my face and the swooshing sound as I traveled down the dune.

We traveled again up and down the dunes flying through the air with the sand flying through our hair, mixing with our clothes and gathering in every crevice:) We sailed over the dunes on our boards trying to outdo one another in quickness and in adventurous moves... only to be met with disaster as one of the guys sailed down the dune, not remembering to keep his arms in... falling and crashing .. receiving sand burns along his chest, his arms, and his face, bleeding profusely! It was a battle wound:)

I traveled back to the Oasis where I tried to shower only to find that unfortunately, there was no more water! I traveled out with companions from Brazil, Swiza, Australia, and Ecuador, finding myself laughing until the wee hours of the morning with my new amigos... God's blessings abound... as I saw His beauty in the desert, His beauty in the people, and His grace in providing a safe place to stay and wonderful companions for the day:)

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photo by: Vlindeke