Having settled well in Ica, resupplied with fruit and water, and overall caught up on sleep, I headed out of the city proper to explore what the areas surrounding Ica have to offer.
I found out on the internet that Ica is famous for its wine, so getting a taste of some was one of my goals. Eventually, my journey brought me to a bodega where not only different wines are made, but also a local liquor called pisco.
Called Bodega Pampas, the place has on display its original equipment traditionally used in the wine and liquor making processes. The staff were really nice, and I ended up buying a bottle of Malbec, because that was the driest red wine they had.
Witch Market of Cachiche
I then came to a small market of various amulets, semi precious rocks and other souvenirs located in the borough of Cachiche, which was once synonymous with sorcery for many in Peru.
Cachiche, according to the elders of Ica, housed countless women who possessed supernatural powers. The locals mention that these powers served to extirpate the evils of the body and prepare concoctions for various ailments.
They tell that the most famous witch of Cachiche was Julia Hernández Pecho Viuda de Díaz, who died at 106 years of age, after a life full of making spells and concoctions. The witch reportedly predicted that Ica would sink when the seventh head of the Palm of the Seven Heads (Palmera de las Siete Cabezas) grows.
The grounds where the booths selling souvenirs were set up was dominated by an ancient huarango tree with a horizontal trunk called the “Wish Tree”:
Palmera de las Siete Cabezas
Not far from the witch market of Cachiche is a palm tree with its own legends. Called “La Palmera de las Siete Cabezas” (The Palm Tree of Seven Heads), it is special for having a curious shape: six palms that look like snakes are born from the ground, instead of rising upright.
And the seventh? Well, it is always cut off by people before it comes out, since people still believe in what Julia Hernandez said.
Based on what I was told by the locals, no scientist could come up with any explanation for why the palm grows that way, other than that it’s a freak of nature.
The highlight of my tour around Ica was a trip to Huacachina – a lush oasis in the sandy desert that this part of Peru is notorious for. It was a perfect end to an amazing day, which deserved the treat I picked up when it all started: