I have traveled away from the mountains and back to the grand desert that occupies the coastal stretch of Peru. It seems endless, as mile after mile, the landscape consists purely of sand.
Huacachina (wa-ca-chee-na) is a tiny village just on the outskirts of the city Ica, five hours south from the capital Lima. Huacachina relies striclty on tourism as it is surrounded by majestic sand dunes. A tranquil oasis is at the center of the village with graceful palm trees surrounding it as well as the plethora of hostels/hotels.
Huacachina is an easy place to lose yourself for a couple of days by simply doing nothing, swinging in hammocks or exploring the dunes. I trekked to the height of the closest visible dune one of the days to celebrate dusk. It was a spectacular sight; honestly, desert and dunes as far as the eye can see, unforgettable. It almost appeared fictitious. On the other side of the dunes, small communities were easy to spot.
The most sought after adventure is sand boarding, the reason why most backpackers are attracted to the place. It is no disappointment. The two hour adventure consists of riding a dune buggy deep into the dunes. The drive itself gets the adrenaline pumping as the driver starts with an exhilarating ride driving frantically (but completely in control) heading for the top of the dunes for a quick descent and many swift turns. We were all screaming excitedly.
The sand boarding portion consisted of four different dunes; they progressively got higher and steeper. It was quickly learned after the first minute dune it is best to lay down headfirst, rather than stand to make the most out of the descent. It is very similar to snow sledding; and brakes are optional as your feet do the work. I often forget how much I thrive from such adrenaline. My feet were fully in the air, sunglasses on, face front, speeding down the sand, exuberant. There was no need to walk up the massive dunes either as the dune buggy came to meet us, a huge bonus.
It was truly an invigorating adventure; such a blast. The adrenaline was pumping and everyone was so ecstatic; celebrated energy felt by all. It was an exceptional few days amongst the sand dunes of Huacachina, one of my last stops on this journey.