We arrived in Huacachina about midday, said goodbye to our drivers, dumped our bags in a storage room at a cafe, then headed out to our dune buggies!
We were riding them up to the nearby dunes to go sandboarding ... What a ride! The driver was crazy! We were scaling the hugest sand dunes then taking tight turns that had us at crazy angles (freaking that we were going to roll!), then zooming down the hill & climbing the next one.
Tony (heres a plug for a similar adenture! - www.loveday4x4adventures.com.au) I think you've finally been beaten! Even cruising the sand dunes on your property in that beaten up old 80 series landcruiser with the busted steering did not beat this or scare me more!! Might be a new idea for the park :-)
Anyway, we all had so much fun screaming our heads off as the driver floored it to scale the dunes then kept accelerating over the top.
I'm not quite sure how he knew no one was climbing the dune from the other side at the same time but tried not to think about that too much, (especially seeing I was in the front!) and insteadand just enjoy the exhiliration of mounting the top to look down what felt a near vertical hill then scream really loudly as the buggy half skidded and half dropped down the other side!
After about 10 minutes of driving through the dunes we stopped but wanted more!!!
I think we'd all almost forgotten that we were there for the sand boarding!
They issued us each with a board and advised us it's best to use it as a sled rather then like a snowboard ... The hills were steep and I had no interest in snapping an ankle when I stacked it down the steep hill, so was happy to go along with this!
The hills looked steep but once lying down on the board they didn't seem so bad ... We had 4 goes in different hills, no need to walk back up the top as the car met us (better then Moreton Island where you kill yourself walking back up!). I went ok on first 3 but with a change of board on the 4th managed to go real far! Yay!
Our 1.5 hours felt like it was up all too quickly :-(
Side note: We met up with another Tucan Tour later who did it just after us and a girl came down the hill & smashed into another girl at the bottom ... The girl at the bottom was limping and had damage to her ankle ... The girl coming down smashed up her face, broke her jaw and lost several teeth!!! And I was worried about the dune buggy!
We headed back to the restaurant for our pre ordered lunch, talked our tour leader into collecting money from us to get a private bus to Pisco instead of the public one, so that we could stop at a Pisco Winery enroute, then headed off to kill time for an hour and wait for it.
My bag is way too heavy already so the only rational choice was to spend the hour having a nice Argentinian wine at a restaurant overlooking the lake.
An hour later we were back but no bus ... Another 1.5 hours later it finally arrived and took us to the winery. (Peruvian time!)
There we learnt all about Pisco making ... We managed to bluff our interest for the 15 minute it took to tour the facilities, and finally get to the good bit - the tasting!
First we tried the standard Pisco, already mixed with lemon - just add egg whites & ice!
Second something that was a bit sweeter and port tasting, then third & fourth was something Pisco related that tasted like pure alcohol ... Slightly more flavoursome then metho (which I still swear I have not tasted!).
Last of all was Pisco made into a Baileys concoction - yum!
I decided on a bottle of the standard produce 750ml as the smaller sizes were all of 5 sole cheaper ... 750ml only 30 sole and approx $10 AUD.
We all ordered a glass of Pisco each which took them over 30 minutes to bring out 14 of them ... Peru time again ... service can be VERY slow!
We finished them quickly then back on the bus for an hour and a late arrival in Pisco.
We were headed to Ballestas Islands in the morning (a 25 minute drive away to the port) but were staying in Pisco as the town nearby the islands smells fishy from all the seafood processing plants ...I am extremely glad we did not stay there as was already gagging in Pisco from the seafood smell!
We had dinner at the hotel and an early night.
We headed out to the Ballestas Islands in the morning and did a 2 hour open top boat tour.
It's known as the poor mans Galapagos but was teaming with wildlife including penguins, birds and seals.
We also passed the candelabra markings in the rock on the side of one of the islands ... they're not sure if they're from Nazca time or more recent ...
When we got back to the hotel our guide advised that we missed a 5.2 magnitude earthquake! It must have happened while we were on the boat, so all were very disappointed as most of us have never been in an earthquake before!!!
Glad it wasnt as bad as the one that floored the town 4 years before and from which they are still rebuilding ...
No time to wait round for after shocks ... We left straight away on a 4 hour local bus ride to Lima. No toilets again nor toilet stops .... Aaahhhh so annoying!!!