Ica is the main area in Peru for distilling pisco, the national spirit.
Pisco is made in a similar way to some types of brandy, but the final product is clear instead of dark. The grape juice is first fermented until it becomes a young wine. This means pisco is actually made from wine, not from the leftovers of wine production. After the fermentation has taken place, it is distilled and then rested in an odourless, non-reactive container (no wood) for a minimum of three months until it can be bottled. Pisco production is very strictly regulated and each producer must follow these same rules.
Pisco is absolutely delicious, especially when you buy it from a great producer.
My first trip to Ica this year was with my brother back in April, and we took the opportunity to do something super fun.
I have been amazingly lucky to visit Ica twice this year.
It was an area I had been wanting to visit for a while now and this year was finally the time. I went in April when my brother came to stay and more recently for my birthday at the end of August.
This first post is actually all about the latter stay and the beautiful resort we stayed in to celebrate my 30th.
So, without further ado….
We started the day again with breakfast on the balcony looking out over the beautiful square.
After having our fill of cheese, bread, cereals and fruit, we set off for the market.
We awoke bright and early the next morning to enjoy breakfast on the balcony before making our way across the sunlit square to visit the great Basílica Catedral de Arequipa.
The sunshine was incredible and bounced off of the white volcanic stone, making the cathedral gleam.
After a final visit to the alpacas at the Colca Lodge we packed up our belongings, headed for the bus and began our journey back to Arequipa.
I must share with you the wonderful place that we had the pleasure of staying at during our time in the Colca Valley.
Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs.
There is an amazing sight to behold in the Colca Valley.
Aside from the incredible landscapes, there is something else to steal your gaze.
We awoke the next morning to a gloriously sunny day and enjoyed breakfast out on the hotel’s balcony
My parents had booked up a personalised, private trip with Amazonas Explorers to take us into the Colca Valley for 3 days. They were familiar with the company as they had used them before on a previous trip to Peru, but within the Sacred Valley.
Arequipa is a city in the south of Peru, and it should definitely be included in your itinerary when you come to visit the country. It is just as deserving as a trip to Cusco or to the northern beaches.
It used to be the capital of Peru for a time during the 1800s once Peru had declared independence from Spain, and the historic centre is a UNESCO world heritage site.
The beautiful white stone used to construct many of the buildings here is just absolutely stunning, but we only caught a brief glimpse on our arrival as the sun was setting. However, we were greeted by this view as we checked into our hotel for the night.
An amazing sight and such a perfect welcome!
When we travel to the North of Peru by car we always make a pitstop just outside of Trujillo at a little beach town called Huanchaco.
THE ROUTE // Taking route 18 from Lima (well, from the northern Carabayllo district) we drove North East along a very bumpy highway to Canta. The roads are currently being re done so we encountered a few traffic stops along the way to allow for the removal of rubble and cement mixers unloading. If you are lucky, there will also be ice cream sellers too as it starts to get warmer. In winter you take any route out of Lima for about an hour and you hit sunshine!
THE TOWN // Heading through Canta and just down the mountain is the small town of Obrajillo, sitting alongside the River Chillon. Obrajillo is surrounded by beautiful mountains, some waterfalls and is home to quite a few horses. These horses (and donkeys) are taken up to graze in the fields high up in the mountains, and these would be the routes we would take when trekking up to the ruins of Pumakoto and to our home for the night.
The town of Obrajillo, is primarily around the main square, but one road takes you down and over the river where there is a cluster of restaurants, a place to take horse rides and a few campsites, then the road turns and takes you up to the town of San Miguel.