May 24, 2019
Before the sun rose, we woke up to meet at El Sol school to depart for our weekend trip to Ica. Hindered by slight delays due to missed alarms, we left Miraflores to take on a new adventure. Exhausted by dancing the night away the day before, everyone slept through the bus ride until we arrived in Ica in the early afternoon. We arrived at our hotel, Sol de Ica, and dropped off our suitcases to start our tours for the day. We were greeted by our guide for the day, Guillermo, and led into two small buses to begin our sights in Ica. Due to our late arrival, the schedule was shifted, and we started our day at El Catador, a place where wine and pisco are produced. An enthusiastic guide led us through the different stages of production and explained the process of creating the drinks so famous in Peru. After the tour, we were led to an area where we tried many different wines and piscos made at El Catador. Our guide talked us through the different beverages, explaining the different flavors and the best way to drink each of them. He asked us question reflecting on what we learned on our tour and gave extra wine or pisco to the student that answered correctly. Before we tried each drink, we were led through different ways of saying “Cheers!” that are common in Peru. After trying the various flavors, many of us bought bottles to take back to our families (or to keep for ourselves). A crowd favorite was the algarrobina, which I bought to bring home to my parents as a gift. Once we finished purchasing our bottles, we ate lunch to fuel ourselves for the rest of the day. Guillermo led us to multiple stops in Ica. The first was to the site of the Palmera de Siete Cabezas, or the Seven-Headed Palm Tree. It was believed that a witch cursed the tree and when it grew another head, Ica would be in danger. Upon viewing the tree, you can see it pulled and curved in different directions, with seven “heads” sprouting from its center. Next, we went to the Tierra de las Brujas. It was a park with sculptures of different witches with various powers, in addition to satyrs and gargoyles. While walking throughout the park to view the different witches, some students were most excited to see the various dogs wandering around. After the Tierra de las Brujas, we went to what was perhaps the most anticipated part of our weekend trip to Ica – Huacachina. Here we got off the bus and signed a safety waiver before walking to the dunes to commence our buggy ride. We were split into different cars and strapped in to start our adventure. I was accompanied by seven other students and our driver, Carlos, to speed through Huacachina’s dunes. To say I was terrified is an understatement. However, after only a few moments of our ride, any fear turned into screams and laughs of excitement. The turns, dips, and changes of speed quickly brought us from our starting point to the top of a dune. We stayed there for a break and took pictures to commemorate the once in a lifetime experience. Then, we sandboard down the dunes three different times. First was a warmup, only sitting on the board and riding down a short drop. Next, was a slightly larger drop where we laid on our stomachs and slid down like penguins. We finished with the longest drop, sliding down penguin style to the buggies waiting at the bottom to drive us back to our start. After finishing this adventure and returning to our hotel, we finished our day by walking toward the square near our hotel and to Monica’s favorite restaurant in Ica, Plaza 125. We enjoyed a delicious, filling meal to rejuvenate from the day’s adventures and refill for more excitement to come.