Ica & Nazca
Last weekend I went on a trip to the towns of Ica and Nazca. Several of us IFSA students went, but we went in three different groups based on people’s schedules (some left Thursday night, some Friday morning, some Friday afternoon). I went with the Friday morning group. We left bright and early at 7am and got into Ica in the early afternoon. After finding our way to the hostel and some food, we went to Huacachina – an oasis in a desert of sand dunes!
We went on a dune buggy (it was like being in a rollercoaster without the track, kinda scary but so much fun!) and then stopped out in the dunes for some sandboarding! It’s like snowboarding, but in sand. You can slide down on your stomach, sitting down, or standing up. I was good at the first two…
As you can see, we also serendipitously met up with one of the other IFSA groups on their dune buggy! They had left the night before and spent the morning/early afternoon doing a wine tour in Ica — that area is known for wine and pisco, the national liquor of Perú, made from grapes. So we ended up on the dunes at the same time!
We spent the evening in Huacachina before returning to Ica. The next morning we walked around the lovely little town of Ica for a bit…
…and then got on the 2 hour bus to Nazca.
In Nazca, we got some chifa, explored a bit, and then met up with the third IFSA group to relax and chat on the rooftop terrace of our hostel.
The next morning we went to see the Nazca lines! Las líneas de Nasca. Nazca’s desert terrain is covered with dark gray rocks, above a layer of much lighter sand. Out in the pampas (flatlands) just outside of the town, there are several lines and geoglyphs. It is believed that the ancient inhabitants of Nazca created these designs by removing darker colored rocks to expose the lighter sand beneath, and many of these designs have managed to remain intact to this day! There are various theories as to the meaning or purpose of the lines, ranging from the idea that they were used as a calendar, for agricultural purposes, religious significance, artistic value, or even that they were created by extraterrestrials.
Rather than paying for a pricey and risky plane or helicopter ride over the lines, we got a guide to drive us around to the miradores (metal structures that can be climbed to view the lines from above) and to the museum of Maria Reiche, the woman who is best known for research and preservation of the lines.
Unfortunately, that day we happened to be driving right into a dust storm.
It certainly made it more exciting.
The whole weekend was adrenaline-filled, sand-filled, interesting, and just plain fun! It was also a great way to bond with some other IFSA students and really get to know each other. I’m so glad I went!