05.01.2012 - 06.01.2012 26 °C
Ica, a dusty town five hours south of Lima surrounded by sand dunes and irrigated fields of grapes and asparagus, is home to some serious fun.
The region is world famous for pisco, a distilled white grape liqueur that is served either straight up or mixed with egg white, lime, sugar, ice, bitters and nutmeg is the scandalously tasty Pisco Sour.
Pisco, and other types of local wine, is produced by both artisanal and industrial vineyards. Bodegas El Catador is one the best in Ica.
Using old-fashioned foot stomping and 150 year-old vats, this winery produces not just the typical translucent pisco, but lemon-flavored varieties and creme-style piscos (mixed a local root used by indigenous groups called maca).
After a tasting or two and a sleepy siesta, we spent the afternoon at a desert oasis called Huacachina. For a mere $12 each, we rode in huge dune buggies at speeds approaching 70 mph and sandboarded down 500-foot tall mountains of fine sand.
Despite a few tumbles, and some stowaway sand in our shoes, we had a great time in Ica. Next stop is Nasca to see the world-famous UFO runways: the Nasca Lines!