Have you ever wondered if the storybook desert oasis truly existed? You know, rolling sand dunes for miles and there in the middle of the dunes is a palm tree-lined watering hole. Well, I’ve found/been to it. Huacachina, Peru is the quintessential desert oasis nestled between huge rolling sand dunes a few hours south of Lima.
There’s not a lot to do in Huacachina as this waterhole is surrounded by palm trees with one road around it with boutique hotels and small family type restaurants. I can walk around the concrete board-walked couple football field size pond in 10 minutes. The options here. Eat, Drink, Relax, rent a paddle boat on the watering hole, hike a sand dune, sand board like I did in Namibia, or dune buggy ride the sand dunes. With limited activities , it’s still worth the picturesque stop for anyone traveling Peru.
I go straight for the adventure. Considering my African Quad-biking Accident, I opt for letting someone else drive this time. The dune buggy I end up in reminds me of something seen in a Mad Max movie. It’s a home souped up engine in a frame with 9 passenger seats to tote tourist at hi-speed around the dunes.
Our driver, I’ll call him Max, revs the growling engine, in a show of power. He spins the wheels in the sand as we launch toward a steep uphill dune climb. The engine bogs down climbing the dune. We top the peak to a flat expanse between dunes. Max shifts up the wind blowing through my hair as a sand pebble or two ricochet off my sun glasses. In spite of being in the flats I’m grateful for the 3 point safety harness as we bounce up and down my butt jumping an inch off the seat as the harness grabs my shoulders and securely slams me back down. We approach another dune and slowing as we climb and then tip over the peak like a roller coaster going over the first hill its climbed to suddenly accelerate down the dune into a another valley of sand.
I get to experience this teeth chattering bouncy ride for a good hour or two before peaking one of the larger dunes where we disembark and get to sand-board down the dune. I’m reminded of doing this in Swakopmund, Namibia and sooooo grateful, this time I’ve gotten a ride to the top. Hiking a sand dune is a serious workout.
We end the ride with watching the sunset from atop a dune as I make new friends with my fellow adventurous passengers.