After a two hour bus journey from Nazca we arrived in Huacachina an oasis in the middle of sand dunes, just outside of Ica. The only one of its kind in South America and the first time I’ve been in a sandy desert similar to the Sahara. I’ve actually been in deserts for most of my time in South America but most have plants and the ground is hard and dry as opposed to sweeping sand dunes.
We took a taxi from the bus terminal straight to the hostel, that Alice had booked, which was almost paradise in itself. I was excited to see a supermarket on the way that I recognised from Chile and when I got to Lima I took full advantage of this chain. There was a cute dog in the hostel, a swimming pool and plenty of space to soak up the sun.
We took some time to relax, shower and work out our next steps before heading out to the oasis to catch the sunset.
The oasis was around a 20 minute walk from the hostel and here are some of the photos from the walk. It was already magical and I was excited to see my first proper oasis.
Suddenly after walking across all the sand there was a lake surrounded by trees and life. A small town has sprung up around the lake, which is largely hotels and restaurants for tourists. But it was like paradise in the desert. I could imagine how this must have appeared to people who had been walking through the desert for days especially after being in a dessert so long myself. Okay I had busses, accommodation and a supply of food and water but still…
We walked out of the oasis up into the sand dunes. Walking up into the sand dunes is possibly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Sam was a natural and Alice went straight up but my legs were in so much pain and I felt that I was just sinking and going nowhere. I hate walking on sand at the best of times and after all the climbing I’ve done on my hikes I couldn’t believe how tough this actually was. Maybe I’ve not had enough beach experience?
There are lots of dune buggies which are driving tourists around at high speed. I really like these photos as it captures an element of solitude, which you really don’t get up on the dunes but sitting there drinking a cold beer and watching he sun set was one of the best evenings I’ve had.
Here is a view of the dunes without the sun taking all the limelight. Again I’ve never seen so much sand and to think that this is forever shifting in the wind and there really is nothing solid underneath. Well obviously there is but not for a long way down.
Alice was kind enough to snap some pictures of me posing. I think there is a good one in here somewhere. Nothing on Alice’s photography skills, more my posing.
I also took some shots of beer to add to my advertising portfolio.
Other activities available are sand-boarding and paragliding. We decided not to partake as beer was a much better prospect but also I’d broken the daily budget in Nazca.
Javier and Marina met up with is on the dunes, so we further crashed their honeymoon. As it became dark and quickly cold, it is a desert after all and you would have expected I would have learnt that by now having been in deserts for much of my eight month trip. We ran down the dunes, which is much easier than going up.
We all went for dinner and I opted for Lomo Satloado, which is basically beef in a soy sauce with some veg and chips with rice. It’s Peru so you have to get in the two types of carbs. But this is delicious and I love it. I’ve kinda stopped worrying about eating traditional food. I think at around 8:30pm we were all exhausted and ready for bed. Sam and I had one more beer at the hostel before turning in and people were still there relaxing.
The next day we woke up late at around 8:30, had a relaxing morning before heading back to the dunes. It was cloudy to begin with but the sun soon burnt it away and then the sand became really hot. I had to put my shoes back on as I thought my feet were burning. I stopped taking photos as I felt the sand was destroying my camera but it was nice to see the dunes on the day.
To be fair there is not much else to do here and we felt one night was enough. You can do wine tasting tours and I suddenly realised why everyone was just relaxing at the hostel.
We headed black to have one of the best burgers I’ve had in a long time. Although I’ve had a lot of good burgers here and also a lot of burgers in general. I like burgers.
After lunch we checked out and jumped on the bus to Paracas.