Today we packed up and headed to the petroglyphs. Our packs are in the trunk of Raul’s car and we picked up Olga. We are all heading to Huancachina – the Oasis just outside Ica – this afternoon. It is warm and very bright. We drive for just over an hour but make a stop to see the prickly pear – known as tuna in South America – and the cochineal beatle that lives on them. This the beatle that provides the color to textiles and foods (Starbucks just removed this beatle from one of their products due to overwhelming “ick” sentiment). We also make a stop for the viewing tower for the geoglyphs of Palpa.
We arrive at the first petroglyph and the walk is not too bad, though quite rocky. We decide to change our shoes as the next place is even rockier and steeper. The advantage of travelling light and having our stuff with us.
To get to the next place is interesting as we are sharing the road with cows and it reminds me of some Swiss and Austrian roads. There are no guards for land/rock slides which caused a little apprehension with Olga.
When we arrive I can see that this is a kids dream and a mother’s nightmare. It is so rocky but so interesting in finding the different petroglyphs. The only issue, believe it or not, is how bright it is. The sun reflects off the rocks and it is so blinding. Magpie has lots of fun running around and climbing. All three adults – myself, Raul and Olga – keep reminding Magpie to be careful. Magpie slipped once going up higher, but nothing serious.
We leave the petroglyphs and realize that we are not far from Huanchachina. Raul offers to drive us there but Olga does not have her belongings. It is obvious that our guide had a thing for Olga. We head back to Nasca for Olga to gather her belongings and Raul takes us to this cool restaurant where we all have lunch together. This restaurant lets you sign the walls including the roof. We all leave our mark, Magpie finding a spot for us by the floorboards.
Local buses head from Nasca to Ica every half hour and it takes 2 hours to get there, not much longer than by car.
It is Easter weekend and Olga had made arrangements for a hostel and pickup for all of us. We arrive in Ica at sunset – Huancachina is a 10 min drive outside Ica.
Our arrival at the bus station was met with sunset and a zoo of people. Our ride would not come to get us due to traffic so we grabbed a tuktuk. Bumper to bumper all the way into the Oasis. We finally got out and walked the rest of the way in.
With help from a passerby our ride came to meet us and show us to the hostel. Magpie and Olga were not happy with the rooms and facilities. I wasn’t happy with the cost to value ratio. Luckily a fellow Canadian – Aaron_ came to the rescue and found us a room – we had to share – more expensive but better facilities and happier roommates.
My recommendation is NOT to go to Huancachina – the Oasis – on a holiday. It is 2-3 times more expensive and a zoo of people and partying all night long. Not the tranquil place as advertised.