Vineyards stretch throughout flat land for over a thousand acres with the foothills of the Andes Mountains silhouetted alongside the horizon. It’s not a sight you anticipate to see in Peru until you’re conscious that Pisco, the Peruvian nationwide spirit and the important thing ingredient of their well-known Pisco bitter, is created from grapes. I spent just a few nights in complete rest on the Resort Viñas Queirolo the place I dined on native Peruvian dishes like sea bass ceviche accompanied by glasses of their very own Tannats, Syrahs and Malbecs.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t the picture-perfect wine area that I used to be most stunned to search out in Peru. On the outskirts of Ica, the primary vineyard vacation spot, sits the Ica Desert. Twenty minutes by taxi and I used to be transported from the plush inexperienced vineyards to rolling sand dunes so far as the attention may see. As you permit city and the highway rapidly turns into surrounded by sand, you solely have to drive a couple of minutes additional earlier than you attain Huacachina.
Like a mirage out of a film, Huacachina’s oasis of emerald inexperienced waters surrounded by palm timber and vegetation is a surreal sight to see. On a stroll across the circumference of the water, I ended to take all of it in from the consolation of a picket bench. On the encircling dunes, you may see hikers making the brutal trek to the highest, effectively price it for the views trying again down on the oasis. ATVs make the journey look simple, albeit terrifying. From this angle, it seems like they’re dropping straight down the sting of a cliff. You may even make out the zigzagging blurs of the locals sandboarding with ease and pace down the facet of the dune.
The tiny village surrounding the oasis may be very a lot a money cow for tourism, however not annoyingly so. It’s nonetheless fairly peaceable through the day. Loads of choices for eateries, hostels, tour firms and memento outlets circle the water. I go for a dune buggy and sandboarding expertise described as “adrenaline-inducing” and never for the faint of coronary heart. Strapping into the buggy, helmet on, goggles secured and a bandana overlaying my face, the driving force begins off taking it fairly simple. However quickly sufficient we’re rushing round corners practically on two wheels earlier than he weapons it to the highest of an extremely steep sand dune. Turning round on the high isn’t on the agenda. As a substitute, he lets the buggy go as far up as it will probably, shifts it into impartial, and we plummet backward to the underside of the slope.
Totally energized, we cease on the high of a a lot smaller hill the place he provides us with sandboards. When you’ve ever snowboarded, surfed or skateboarded, it’s best to have a fairly simple time sustaining stability on the board and cruising straight down the dune. No have to steer or break—it’s extra like sledding on two ft. Even those that’ve by no means been on a board of any sort are prone to take pleasure in it.
When you’re again in civilization, you may proceed your Peruvian journey down the coast the place you may discover the traditional geoglyphs of Nazca or the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” off the coast of Paracas.