Sunday, July 6, 2008

Ica


Yesterday we journeyed four hours south to Ica, a city of over 250,000 which is the capital of the department of the same name. Ica is near the epicenter of last year's massive earthquake and signs of the damage are still evident in the city.


After my cousin Juancho finished an errand, we took off from downtown toward the Huacachina, an oasis 5 km from the city amidst the desert and sea of dunes which surround the city.


Early in the last century the Huacachina was a tourist destination, where people would spend several days bathing and boating, or just hanging out lakeside. People don't bathe in it much anymore, specially since its waterquality has been reduced due to the depletion of the aquifer from unwise farming practices such as growing water-intensive crops such as asparagus and table grapes in a rainless desert.

The oasis is still a great place to spend time, but today there is the added attraction of the desert itself, which one can view from off-road vehicle tours, which take one racing across the dunes to good sandboarding spots (the boards are provided by the tour).





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