Dune Bashing & Sand Surfing in Huacachina
After a long transit through Lima, my four hour bus ride finally came to an end in the town of Ica. Food was first on the agenda, and I filled my tummy on fried chicken from a fast food restaurant located just outside of the main bus terminal. I read online that I would need to take a taxi to get to the oasis of Huacachina, but I was running short on local currency. So, I asked a security guard near the station for advice on how to get some Peruvian Soles. He told me to head to the town square and look for men wearing labeled vests (Cambistas or money-changers).
I slung my backpack on my shoulders and made the journey by foot. It took about five minutes in each direction, After receiving my cash and ensuring that the bills were genuine, I flagged down a taxi and asked to be dropped off in Huacachina. The driver was friendly and although his English was limited, he made a considerable effort to communicate about how I liked his homeland. I met him halfway with my intermediate Spanish and we spoke about everything from the bus system and local food, to what activities I should partake of while in the area.
Soon, I was checked into the hostel ‘Banana’s Adventure’. I chose the package option for $28 US which included an air-conditioned four-bed luxury dorm, breakfast and a dune buggy tour for the next day. The room was fantastic. It was spacious, the comforters were thick (perfect since it gets very chilly in the desert) and the bathroom had a massive shower head with the best water pressure I have encountered in the entire continent so far.
After a good night’s sleep, I awoke the next day refreshed and took a walk around the oasis. All around me were towering sand dunes, and the views were seriously astounding.There were little boats being rowed across the green lagoon located in the middle of the town. My camera and I got really acquainted, as I shot picture after picture. All this green located in the middle of a desert! Finally, it was time for the event I had been waiting ALL day for: The buggy tour in the dunes! After we got our safety speech, our large group clambered into five coloIurful buggies, and off we went!
We drove through the town, and the road eventually gave way to sand, The ride was crazy! Our drivers sped up the dunes, flung us over the top and crashed us down while our excited screams got louder and louder. The sky was perfectly clear, which made for the most amazing photographs with my action camera. The dune bashing lasted at least twenty minutes and it was such an intense and mind blowing experience. We were swung in all directions, and sand was spraying everywhere. I highly recommend wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from both the flying sand particles as well as the brilliant sunshine which reflects off the white dunes.
The drivers finally came to a stop at the top of a particularly big sand dune and told us to get out because it was time to sand surf. Our driver pulled out a couple of boards from the back of our buggy and handed one to each of us. We cautiously edged closer to the launch point and looked down. It didn’t look so bad at first glance. Then I was handed a white substance to rub on the bottom of my board, so that I could slide down the dune much faster. This is when my adrenaline kicked up a notch!
With my board fully lubed, I braced myself and hurled myself downwards. All too soon it was over and I was safely at the bottom! I let out a loud whoop and caught myself wanting to do it all over again. Luckily we had three more dunes to surf on. The final one was a double whammy. After surfing down one, there was a short plateau before heading down a second dune. All in all, it was worth every dollar spent!
Finally, we piled back into our buggies and headed back towards town. Just on the edge of the town, the driver told us that if we wanted to, we could get our and wait for the sun to set in about fifteen minutes. I was one of about only ten people who decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Guess the others had better things to do?!
I sat down on the face of the dune and took a ton of pictures of the oasis down below. The dunes were bathed in a warm glow as the sun slowly started to sink below the peaks of sand. The resulting sunset is one that I will remember for the rest of my life. I have read countless blogs about the ‘Huacachina Experience’ and I was so happy to have had the chance to see and do it for myself. For the ridiculously low price tag, this adventure is easily one for the books!
Posted on November 13, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged Adventure, backpacking, buggy, career break, Hostel, huachachina, ica, Peru, Photography, Round The World, sand dunes, South America, Travel, Trip. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.