Are you one of the unfortunate souls who’s glued to your couch every Monday night watching weekly episodes of “The Bachelor” while simultaneously checking Twitter, seeking validation for your outrage from people’s live comments? Yea, my neither…
Years ago, I somehow found the fortitude to claw my way out of the Bachelor hole and reclaim Mondays as my own until two years ago when I was lured back by the quick fix of producer-concocted drama of bro-downs, catfights, and false romances blossoming before my very eyes. Is it quality TV? Hell no, but it’s almost worth the 2 hours a week of my time for satisfaction I glean from the savagely accurate memes and articles dragging the infuriating (albeit entertaining) reality TV stars.
This season’s lead has been aptly described in Ali Barthwell’s regular Vulture articles as “the human equivalent of a beige driving moccasin” and a “beige pashmina come to life,” a man so boring and unempathetic on TV that the producers are attempting to distract us from his dry toast personality by inserting more exotic locations than usual. Last week’s Fantasy Suite dates transported us to Ica, Peru, giving me déjà vu of my own time there.
A 5-hour bus ride from Lima, the Ica region in southern Peru is the only area formed by what is called “coast plains” and geologically vastly different from the lush landscapes of the Andes and the steamy rainforests. Having made the home base for this leg of the trip in Huacachina where the population is a scant 115 people, I didn’t realize how many adrenaline-racing, pisco-soaked adventures I’d end up having.
If you’re an adrenaline junkie planning a trip to Peru, here is How To Spend An Epic and Adventurous Weekend in Ica, Peru:
01/ DUNE BUGGY RIDE
Throw on a pair of shades, wrap a bandana around your face and experience your own version of Mad Max on a dune buggy ride in the desert surrounding the oasis town of Huacachina. The neon skeletal frame of the sturdy vehicles will have you rollercoaster-ing all over the desert, leaving clouds of sand in your wake as you plunge down the steep dunes.
02/ SAND DUNE BOARDING
You can board down a volcano of compressed ash, surf on giant, crashing waves, so why not mounds of sand? Since you’re already trekking out to the desert in Huacachina, you might as well pack a board for another adrenaline-pumping activity. From the top of a dune, drink in the view of the seemingly endless stretches of golden sand before being a badass and strapping on a board and carving your way to the bottom.
03/ PISCO WINERY TOUR
Stroll under leafy canopies and discover the process of growing the specialty grape used to produce pisco at the Tony Labis pisco winery. Explore the variety of vintages, stored in large amphora jugs in what looked like a hipster thrift shop. Taste test the scandalously-named piscos like “Panty Dropper” and “Baby Maker,” ranging from sweet sherry liquors to ones that you could thin paint with. If you’re not ready to leave the winery, sit down for a local dish of anticuchos at the attached restaurant.
04/ NIGHT OUT OF THE (OASIS) TOWN
Once night has fallen and massive amounts of pisco has primed you to party, return to the pisco winery to recreate your own version of Havana Nights at their lively tavern. Grab a jug of delicious pisco from their stores and shake your booty to the Latin beats. If you prefer to party within passing-out distance of your accommodations in Huacachina, rally a group of fellow backpackers and head to a nearby bar. There aren't many watering holes in this small oasis town, which means you’ll be partying with every tourist visiting, but there IS one called – I kid you not – “HUACAFUCKINGCHINA” which you need to visit if only for the name.
05/ MOON VIEWING
You won’t find this nighttime activity offered in any of the tour books but it was one of my favourite while I was in Ica. Along with a group of new friends, we snagged a couple bottles of cheap wine and clumsily scaled the sand dunes surrounding the oasis, barefoot and giggling. Watch the sun set over the desert in brilliant Lisa Frank-esque shades of purple and pink before settling into inky blackness, making the moon shine more brightly. Empty of the groups of tourists that populate the area in the day, we got to enjoy how empty and surreal it felt while still being close enough to civilization….and a flushing toilet.
05/ FLY THE NAZCA LINES
After you’ve exhausted Ica City and Huacachina, continue on to the town of Nazca only a couple of hours away. The most popular attraction in the region and a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Nazca Lines are pre-Columbian geoglyphs etched into the desert sands, presumably by the Nazca culture between 500 BC and 500 AD. There are 300 different depictions of animals and plants covering an area of nearly 1,000 square kilometres, composed of over 10,000 lines. These etchings are so expansive that they are best viewed from a great height, so either reach baller-status by boarding an aircraft or climb the surrounding foothills for a glimpse.
06/ EXPLORING CAHUACHI PYRAMIDS
While you’re in Nazca and your mind is whirling from witnessing the mysterious and impressive geoglyphs, explore the ceremonial centre of the Nazca civilization – the Cahuachi Pyramids. The pyramids may have been built by the Paracas but there are theories that they still are somehow connected to the legendary Nazca Lines.