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Published: January 10th 2015
How many of you have seen a desert oasis? We’re talking lagoon with palm trees in the middle of giant sand dunes. Well Huacahina was just that (and reportedly the only one in Latin America). Though it is disappointingly close to the city of Ica (less than 10min in a cab), if you look out to the other 200-degree view then it’s just sand as far as the eye can see. Surreal!
We’d had been given recommendations from a few friends to visit Huacachina for the sand dune buggy rides and sand boarding so after settling in that’s exactly what we did. We also filled in our extra time with a hike up the massive dunes to watch sunset and visited some pisco vineyards to learn about the national drink.
It was nice to have a couple of days to kick back without a long list of must-see spots. We chatted with locals and practiced a bit more Spanish (still very limited). But the slow pace of the oasis was a perfect juxtaposition to the adrenalin rush of dune buggying and sand boarding. The dunes were so big and of differing shapes that you never knew how each descent
A selection of the Nazca lines (very difficult to capture on camera)
Clockwise from top left: hummingbird, alcatraz, parrot, hands & tree, condor and spider.
would feel but it was always a good rush!
We left the oasis of Huacachina in the early morning in search of Nazca and it’s famous lines. The Nazca lines
date back hundreds of years to when the Nazca people inhabited the Peruvian deserts. The oldest lines are the familiar animal shapes, but there are also thousands of geometric shapes drawn throughout the region, made by the Nazca people over generations. We took a flight over the most famous set of 10 lines in a little Cesna 6 seater airplane before indulging the pilots in some zero gravity dips and drops which were a stomach churning way to finish the ride. It was the perfect way to experience such a strange and unique set of creations in the middle of the inhospitable Peruvian desert.
Once we finished our flight we ended back to the town of Nazca where we had organized a night bus to Cuzco. Nazca town does not have a lot to offer but luckily Aeroparacas
, our Nazca flight organisers, put us up in a wonderful little hotel for the day complete with a pool to entertain ourselves until we were ready to leave for Cuzco and the Inca Trail.
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