Ica, only 4 1/2 hours south of Lima, is not a particularly attractive town. Having very little info on the town or nearby Huacachina in our guidebook we opted to stay in Ica. We headed straight for the picturesque oasis of Huacachina and wandered around the fairly stagnant lake that sits in the middle of some big dunes only 10 mins away from Ica. We had a beer and watched the sunset which was very pleasant.
The next morning we were back in Huacachina for breakfast and a dune buggy and sandboarding trip into the dunes. It started off as great fun as the driver sped up and down some huge dunes stopping occasionally so we could sandboard down. The prefered method was laying face first with your belly on the board and just flying down the mountain using your feet in the sand should you want to slow down. A few of us tried boarding down but it was quite different to snowboarding as you need to balance your weight differently and unlike snow the sand is moving underneath the board. Not as fun or fast as the belly method.
When the driver asked if we would like to try a "mas grande" dune we all shouted "si" so he pulled up to this beast that was so steep you couldnt actually see over the side or the bottom from where you start!! I went first and having had more fun laying down on the board pushed off. The speed was tremendous and wanting to go as far as I could I didnt bother to use my feet to slow down at any point. Where the bottom of the slopes level off it gets a bit bumpy so when I hit it at speed the board bounced up into my face smashing my nose and chin and then kncoked my arms off the board into the sand (not fun when sliding at speed as it burns!) and soon I fell off the board. I was covered in blood and I couldnt tell where it was from. I also thought I had broken my nose.
To cut a long story short I had cut my chin open, my nose was not broken but was bruised, swollen and bleeding and my teeth and gone into the inside of my lip which was also dripping with blood. My hand was also missing skin from the sand burn. The driver came down (no one else had followed me down the slope!) and I cleaned myself up a bit with water and stuck a Mr Incredible plaster on my chin. The tour continued with a couple more dunes to board down, which I opted out of feeling a bit light headed, some more crazy buggy riding and a stop at another less pretty oasis. It lasted 2 hours in total with the last hour being caked in blood and I was glad to get back to Huacachina!
We headed straight back to Ica to pick up our bags from the hotel storage and had a 2 hour bus ride to Nazca. I was still bleeding from my chin so probably looked a mess on the bus with the Mr Incredible plaster soaked in blood!