Huacachina, The Peruvian Desert Oasis
We had a long day and night ahead of us from Arequipa to Ica so we opted for a night bus on a first class line (Oltursa Bus Company). After a lot of bus time from the Colca Canyon to Arequipa (8 hours total) and then an overnight bus from Arequipa to Ica (11 Hours) we arrived in Huacachina the desert oasis tired and in need of some down time. We´d heard from many travelers that this was a must stop and it worked perfect as we were en-route back to Lima to catch a flight to Santiago.
Huacachina is a 5 minute drive from Ica, which is about a 4 hour drive south of Lima. After arriving to Ica we found a taxi to Huacachina and were quickly surprised by the huge sand dunes that surrounded us. Within minutes from the bustling city we were engulfed by sand for miles in either direction. It´s hard to describe, you have to check out the photo album to see what we mean. We had no idea that Peru was so diverse and certainly had no idea that such an oasis existed, we felt like we had landed in the middle east!
After traveling consistently for the past week we decided this was the perfect place to chill out for 4 days and we found a great hostel with a pool. You would never know how hard it is to try to walk up a dune in the sand by just looking at it. We attempted the hike the first night to catch the sunset and it was definitely a challenge but well worth it for the breath taking views.
Snowboarding is a passion for both of us so it should come as no surprise that we would try sandboarding. After looking at the boards, Cameron opted for a real snowboard and Nicole decided to try the typical wood plank instead. After scaling up the sand dune the night before, we were both happy to be getting into a speedy dune buggy to take us up to the top. The trip was a thrilling ride which can only be described as like being on a roller coaster, except without the comfort and safety of the roller coaster tracks! Scary... yes! Each dune got progressively bigger and steeper and faster. Cameron got the hang of sandboarding quite easily but Nicole was content going the faster way down the hill: lying on your stomach, face first, and sliding down the hill like a toboggan screaming the entire way. We caught the evening sunset on an isolated hilltop and arrived back to the oasis with shaking legs, adrenaline still pumping and in need of a cold beer.
After our couple relaxing days in the sun, we were ready for the last bus ride back to Lima to await our flight to Santiago, Chile. The start of a new country and a new adventure with old friends!