Adventures in The Peruvian Desert Part 1: Huacachina


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South America » Peru » Ica » Huacachina
June 11th 2018
Published: June 28th 2018
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Huacachina Huacachina Huacachina

The Desert City Oasis
Ica and Huacachina (07/06/2018-11/06/2018)
Brandy, Buggies, and Boarding




My one night stop turned into a four night stop. I was well and truly enchanted by this surreal Peruvian desert city oasis.

Looking like something out of a Hollywood movie, Huacachina is a tiny village just west of the city of Ica in southwestern Peru. The gorgeous green waters of the Huacachina lagoon (which are thought to have therapeutic properties) are surrounded by palm trees and beautiful endless golden sand dunes.

Originally I stayed in Ica the first night but quickly realised Huacachina is the place to be, although it is muy caro (very expensive) at 35 soles a night (£8.17).

It is said that the lagoon was created from a princess whose voice was so beautiful that it made people cry. They called her the “Huacca China” (or “the girl who cries”). One day as she was bathing herself and singing, she noticed through her mirror that a hunter was watching her. Startled! She tried to run away. As she ran, the cloth that covered her fell off and created the rippling sand dunes. She stumbled and broke the mirror, which transformed into the beautiful shimmering
The LagoonThe LagoonThe Lagoon

(photo taken by my lovely friend, Michael)
lake. She was turned into a mermaid and now comes out in the moonlight and sings her ancient song.

Pisco Tour
Amazingly, despite Ica being a desert, it is the main location in Peru for the production of red wine and a Peruvian brandy you may have heard of called "pisco." Pisco is Peru's beloved national drink and it plays the leading role in the delicious Pisco Sour cocktail.

Driven around by our lovely Peruvian designated driver, Gino, a group of us gringos visited not one but two wineries. The pisco and red wine samples were flowing.. and it was only 11am! But we weren't complaining. Two hours later we left feeling very sozzled and satisfied. My favourite sample was the maracuya (passion fruit) sour cocktail, which you have to try if you come to Peru!

Sand Buggies
Another popular activity here is enjoying a wild, adrendaline-filled ride in the sand buggies. I chose the 4pm slot so it would be cooler, and so i'd get to watch the spectacular sunset over the dunes.

Similar to my "dune bashing" experience in Dubai, we drove very fast up and over the sand dunes at break-neck speed, as
The Sand BuggyThe Sand BuggyThe Sand Buggy

(photo taken by my lovely friend, Michael)
we hung on very very tight. It was super fun; I couldn't stop giggling! "What kind of training do you need for this?" I asked our driver. "Oh.. there's no training" he said. Of course not.. this is Peru afterall. Anything goes.

Once in the dunes there is the option of another heart-pumping activity.. sand boarding! Never heard of it? Neither had I.

Sand Boarding
We grabbed a board and a candle (to wax our boards for extra speed) and took it in turns to speed down the smooth golden dunes, belly down, head first.

Gino and Carlos weened us in with 3 normal sized dunes, then we hit the 2 huge, steep, nerve-raking dunes. The latter dunes were so high the buggy wasn't able to go up, so we climbed up ourselves. Wow, it was absolutely exhilarating, I had no idea I would enjoy it this much!

Other Shenanigans
Me and Gino became good friends and the next day we went to the local Ica mercado and bought ingredients for a delicious Peruvian chicken dish me and his sister, Saraih, cooked at his family home.

Having 5 brothers(!!), Saraih asked me if we could
SunsetSunsetSunset

(photo taken by my lovely friend, Michael)
do each others nails and make up. An opportunity to look pretty instead of my usual no-makeup traveller look? Hell yes we can! I made the most of my new glamourous self and we hit the town.

So Long, Huacachina
I finally managed to pull myself away from Huacachina's charm and went onto Nazca for further exciting Peruvian desert adventures.... Bring on those Nazca lines!


Additional photos below
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Sand BoardingSand Boarding
Sand Boarding

...so much fun!
Dune BuggyDune Buggy
Dune Buggy

(with Gino on top!)
Girls Session!Girls Session!
Girls Session!

It was needed :)


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