Huacachina was the stop I was most excited for. An oasis town, how intriguing. We came over the hill from Ica and all of a sudden it emerged from within the dunes. Literally a lagoon, surrounded by approximately two streets of accommodation and restaurants, a mass of reeds and palms and then just sand dunes looming in every direction. It was incredible!
We stayed at the Wild Olive, which was accompanied by a trattoria to which we received 20% discount and a free breakfast. We had pizza (yet again, oops!) and the most satisfying chicken and avocado salad and then for breakfast I was the lucky recipient of a magnificent fruit salad – yum! We also treated ourselves to a plate of nachos on the rooftop terrace at Desert Nights – the views were awesome.
The main activity in Huacachina is to do a sand buggy and boarding tour. At 4pm, hundreds of people climb partway up the dunes and strap themselves in to a series of buggies. Engines revving, harnesses tight; I felt like I was on a remake of the Fast and the Furious. There were about ten people in our buggy. All of a sudden we were off, flying over dunes, soaring over bumps and taking such sharp corners I had genuine fears I’d soon be eating sand. Talk about an adrenaline rush!
We stopped at numerous points for photos of the seemingly never ending dunes before pausing at the top of a steep dune where we were informed we would be boarding down. We were handed boards (like skateboards without the wheels) and shown how to lie down, face forward and launch ourselves down the dune. My fears of eating sand were now even more legitimate!
Thankfully I managed to keep my board balanced and in a straight line. We got to ride three more dunes. The last was my favourite as I ride on my butt and managed to get some real speed, still without falling off. I didn’t quite advance to the stages of Andy though who was standing on his board and riding like a pro.
Our last stop was one to watch the sunset. It was remarkable how quickly the temperature dropped as soon as the sun went behind the dune – the desert would be a scary place to be at night. We made our way back to the town, on the buggies of course – one more joy ride please!