If you are near Ica, a visit to the desert oasis of Huacachina is an absolute must. But unless you want to party with all the backpackers, a day trip is all that is needed. It was really cool. We took a cab from the vineyard and were just driving through the congested, dry city of Ica, and then all of a sudden the road ended and we were in this quaint, beautiful oasis in the desert. The oasis sits in-between these vast sand dunes, with a lake in the middle surrounded by desert palms – I’ve never seen anything like it. After we walked around the lake and took some photos, we went to the hostal where we had booked a dunebuggy and sandboarding tour – our main reason for coming here. After being questioned about previous injuries or if we had been in car crashes before that could possibly cause flashbacks, we didn’t really know what we had gotten ourselves into. Then our guide informed us that we had most insane driver and that when he is with him, he always makes sure to drive even crazier to deliver an extra extreme experience. For someone that doesn’t typically enjoy thrill rides such as roller coasters, I wondered if I had made a mistake. However, it was an absolute blast. We reached the sand dunes and he immediately gunned it towards a steep decline. There would be no ”getting your feet wet” with this guy. He preferred the ”ripping off the bandaid” method. With the steep drop, it left our stomachs in the air, and we squeeled with delight – yes, I squeeled like a little girl, and I wanted even more. It was exhilerating! He raced through the dunes taking on steep inclines and declines and speeds you wouldn’t think would be possible. On a summit, he would make a 90 degree turn at full speed – you never knew what to expect with this guy. But he had complete control. Even his stopping methods were intense. Other dunebuggies would be gathered together letting the passengers out to take pictures, and he would come flying in going straight towards the people. They would dive out of the way thinking he was going to hit them, but every time he would just turn the wheel and slide in sideways, stopping on a dime within a few feet of disaster. It was sick, but so much fun.
We were then driven to the high dunes where we were able to try out sandboarding. In order to generate the most speed, it is recommended to go down on your stomach, so this is how we did it. This was also a blast. We went down 8 dunes in total, with the longest and steepest one lasting about 20 seconds. Hanna had the best technique as she managed to go the furthest of any of each time. It was just so neat being out in the desert and racing down the dunes on sandboards. If you don’t handle sand too well, I wouldn’t recommend this, as sand gets everywhere. With a couple of wipeouts, I’m still getting sand out of my ears. After the last dune, we loaded back up in the buggy for some more excitement. He flew through the desert reaching about 60 MPH at one point, hitting a slope, and getting airborne. In our normal fashion, we slid to a stop where we could look down on the oasis of Huacachina and take in one of the most stunning sunsets I have even seen. It has rained a little bit, so the sky had the most brilliant pinkish-orange color that cascaded across the sand. Safely back on hard ground, we said goodbye to Huacachina and retreated back to our vineyard.