Huacachina is a small town that has been built around a small oasis nestled in an area of huge sand dunes. It exists purely for tourism. We had seen photos and read reports of a blue green lagoon at the centre of this oasis with the majestic old buildings of the resort town of Peru's elite, but when we arrived the lagoon was a definite brown and the buildings crumbling away.
This has all made way to a more backpacker vibe. We were staying in a hostel a block back from the lagoon, with a pool in the centre and unfortunately a nightclub in the same complex. We were offered on arrival an all you can eat and drink BBQ for what sounded like a reasonable price which most of us agreed to, but the food was terrible and we literally drank all the rum and coke and Pisco sours we could without feeling remotely tipsy.
Afterwards we decided we should get a real drink, and knowing we would get a free shot with our Peru Hop wristbands we went to a place called Huacaf***ingchina. It looked like a cool spot and the owner was very friendly, so we ordered our free shots and waited. And waited, and waited. About 15 minutes later they turned up, we knocked them back (wishing we hadn't bothered) and ordered some cocktails from the 2 for 1 list, then waited, and waited. You get the picture. After failing to finish the cocktails due to the horrible taste, we decided to call it quits.
The next day was free up until our afternoon sand buggy ride at 4. We wandered around the oasis, enjoyed a few meals at some of the reasonable local restaurants and sat by the pool until it was time to leave.
We were split into a few different sand buggies and set off. Our buggy drove through the dunes for a while. We expected it to go up and down the dunes but our driver seemed to think just driving over really bumpy sections was more fun even though he had the least secure and least comfortable seat belt system possible.
After this initial torture it was time for sandboarding! This was the fun part. We started off on baby slopes. On some of these we actually did strap the board to our feet, but from then on the slopes got bigger and we all opted to go on our stomachs, which we though was a good call given the Velcro straps hardly worked and gave no control.
We all had a blast going from one slope to the next, each time gaining a little more confidence and using our feet less as brakes. Our driver would pick us up at the bottom and drive us to the next point each time.
Soon it was time for the sunset, so we drove to a good vantage point and watched it go down over the dunes. Once it had disappeared we were back in the buggy for another thrilling yet torturous spin in the buggy back to town. We had a brief stop with a view over town and the lagoon then we arrived back to the hostel nursing some bruised collar bones from the seat belts.
Later that night we said our farewells to some other Peru Hoppers as they were moving on the next day. While they had a few drinks we had an early night (or tried to despite the raging nightclub) as we weren't getting on the bus the next day. We were heading to Nazca to take a flight over the Nazca lines and wanted to minimise the chances of being sick on the notoriously rough flight.