Huacachina is a unique village in Peru built around a small natural lagoon. An oasis in the Atacama desert surrounded by tall sand dunes that dwarf the village. Though there are a little over 100 people who permanently reside there this oasis has become a main stop for thousands of tourists and backpackers each year. The main attraction is the thrilling dune buggy and sandboarding activity offered. Feel the thrill of rollercoaster like drops over 30 meter tall sand dunes. Enjoy the gorgeous sunsets and the local restaurants around the palm-lined lagoon.
The oasis is a small natural lagoon about two acres in size created by water seeping through the sand from an underground aquifer. The oasis has palm trees, eucalyptus, and carob trees. This was a designated stop on the Peru Hop bus and the cost for the dune buggy and sandboarding activity via Peru-hop was $19 USD.
I arranged to spend the night here at Wild Rover hostel, another party hostel though I wouldn’t do much partying. I liked the location and amenities along with the pricing at $13 USD. After check-in at the hostel I scouted around the place as I usually do.
Now I’m ready to see the lagoon and take some pictures. I’m in awe of this place, the trees and the views, spotting some water fowl in the lagoon. It’s so unreal being here.
I checked out the Wild Olive restaurant nearby with a nice open view of the lagoon. This restaurant came recommended by our guide.
My dune activity is in just one hour but a short walk to the meeting point from this restaurant. I decided on a personal pizza and beer. A guy walks by who I saw on the bus and I say hello to him and he sits down and orders the same thing I have. We have a brief talk about our travels and he is from the Netherlands. But I have to cut the conversation short and get to my dune buggy meeting point.
You can see lots of activity and sandboards getting ready for the sunset version of the dunes which I think is the best time .
We have to walk uphill on the sand dunes to get to the grand hub of dune buggies just waiting for all the tourists to board. But once we scattered around the desert it’s no longer crowded. Our dune buggy driver is wild. With alternating screams and laughter we twist and turn then drop dramatically while airborne over dunes.
Stopping briefly for picture the sun appears blazing over the dunes. But it’s not actually that hot here being fall.
So much picture taking and posing is going on in this desert. I get some pics and video of them. My GoPro camera is mounted on my wrist plus I’m using my cell phone for pics at the same time not wanting to miss any moments.
I’m not usually into posing for pictures myself but I’m pumped with adrenaline and have to climb on top of the buggy like many others are doing.
We stop at 3 different tall dunes and are each supplied with a board to use. Our guide tells us to just try boarding on our stomachs for faster speed and ease using our feet in the sand for steering. I find that if I raise my feet up more and pull up the front of the board I go faster, straighter and farther. We do get a ride back up to the next dune. But on one we have to hike up a little way and the effort was exhausting.
Pausing to watch the sunset we then head back for an even wilder ride back to the oasis with more laughter and screaming.
The sand dust creates beautiful sunset coloration much likeMars.
Back at the oasis everyone is taking pictures looking over the village.
We have to walk back down to the villiage after being dropped off at the top of the dunes.
By the lagoon I look up to see the intense color changes of the sky. The sand dust in the air is making these awesome sunsets. Lights from the dune buggies high up on the dunes are beaming.
High on adrenaline and hungry several of us head over to a restaurant for food and drink. I got a Machu Picchu drink which was surprisingly colorful with layers of liquids, some alcohol, some syrup. Very pretty, but you have to mix it up then the color becomes brown. After ordering food, I got a Lomo Saltado, two more people we met on the bus arrive and sit with us. There’s lots of talk and laughter and exchanging of contact information.
Back at the hostel the partying was raging with the thumping of music. I’m staying awake till midnight- naturally. I actually do like the music but it’s time to get some sleep for an 8am departure to Nazca. I place my earplugs in and fall asleep tired and happy.