Leaving Paracas we took a one hour bus ride that only cost a few dollars to Ica that our hostel in Paracas helped arrange for us! Ica is not a well known town to travelers and it really shouldn't be since the town is very...very boring. The good thing about Ica though is that it is 15 minutes from the Oasis they call Huacachina! Since I saw that Ica had a really chill and inexpensive hostel compared to the ones in Huacahina we booked 3 nights there. We would have just needed 2 nights but Matt and I unfortunately got food poisoning in Paracas (luckily Paula didn’t which was surprising since we all ate the same fried fish for lunch before leaving) so we needed to stay another night to revive ourselves. We stayed at a hostel in Ica called Icaadventures 2 and the hostel was awesome! You have an AC in your 10-person dorm room, good wifi and when you go upstairs on the roof it is an incredible lounge area to meet and chat with other travelers. This was also a good place to lie for 8 hours as we were suffering our full day food poisoning attack.
So after one night hanging at the hostel the next morning we took a taxi that the hostel called for us to Huacahina for around 10 soles. ($3USD) We got dropped off to the little town and met a guy on the street selling sand buggy/sandboarding tours with all day access to a hotel pool. We got him down to 35 soles each and the actual sandbuggy ride began at 4 to be able to sandboard at sunset. We got there around noon so we spent the next few hours chilling by a pool and then going out to eat at one of the few restaurants in Huacahina. This place is an oasis in a desert. A huge beautiful lake with palm trees and you can see the views of the sandy mountains everywhere you look. There are hostels and hotels here too but no markets and pricier food options. You can’t unfortunately, swim in the oasis to conserve it but sitting there and taking in the beauty makes up for it. At 4pm our tour started with around 12 of us in one buggy and had an incredible ride around. You go on all levels of heights and width of sand dunes and screaming because of the fun the entire time. Make sure to bring proper shoes and something to cover your mouth with so you can scream and not get any sand in there. Also make sure to have sunscreen and sunglasses; you’re in a desert after all.
About 45 minutes after driving around in the dunes in the buggy we stopped and got out to take pictures and walked around the desert before embarking on the 6 hills that were ahead to sandboard on. The first three were pretty small and I fell 2-3 times. You can lie on your stomach, which is what I mostly did, or you can sit on your butt or ride it like a ghetto self-made snowboard. Most people that rode it like a snowboard fell over so just be aware. Once you have finished the first four hills the last two are incredibly steep. On the 5th one every single person besides one couple laid on there stomach. The couple was on their honeymoon shared one board and sat on it because the man was blind so he needed his wife to be there with him. So adorable.
The shoes will come in handy here when you need to dig your feet into the sand to slow yourself down. My dear friend Paula did not have shoes and crashed hard at the bottom of the 5th hill breaking her arm. So please please wear shoes! After Paula broke her arm she immediately got taken to the hospital as my group was stranded for a bit at the desert waiting for the buggy to come back and get us! We never went down the 6th hill (Which I was fine with) but saw the sunset on the drive back to the oasis.
If you are wondering the Ica Public Hospital was not the best or cleanest hospital out there. For Paulas broken arm she had to pay for everything they used on her before they would do anything with her arm. The hospital didn’t sell arm slings so we had to go to the pharmacy across the street to buy one. They injected her with numbing medicine and pulled her bones so they were touching and would heal properly by itself in a cast. (Total cost around 170 soles). Two hours after this happened we took a 12-hour bus ride to Arequipa. Through Paula’s insurance they appointed her to a private hospital in Arequipa where she found out the doctors in Ica did not put her arm in the right position so she had to get it pulled back in place again and a better cast. She's a tough one.
Sandboarding is something I would recommend to every single person that has an adventurous side to them. I mean you come to Peru for thrills and stories to remember and this place will create that just for you!
5) Rainbow Mountain, Cusco, Sacred Valley
6) Machu Pichu
1) Copacabana and Isla Del Sol
2) La Paz
1) San Pedro De Atacama
4) La Serena
5) Puerto Iquazu
6) Buenos Aires