An earthquake and a collapsed road south turned our two days in Huacachina to five. There is little to do in Huacachina apart from drink heavily and sand-board, two days is enough, five might just kill you.
With my sister visiting us from England, we headed six hours south from Lima to this idyllic, almost mirage like body of water amongst the sprawling sand dunes that rise up from its constituent town in Ica. With two new friends from Lima in Sam and Sam, one an English girl, one an Australian boy, we checked in to Boulevard Hostel and familiarised ourselves with the large group of French Canadians already drinking by the pool, as they headed off into the night we slept, well and truly worn out from the three nights of partying in Lima.
Waking up the next morning with the sun creeping over the high dunes, illuminating the mist that settles early on the water, we were filled in on the night we could have had. It turns out the Canadians ‘inadvertently’ robbed some peruvian drug dealers and were stalked at our hostel until the small hours of the night, sheesh. Bullet dodged, almost literally.
Now it was our turn to do what you do in Huacachina, we booked on to sand-board that afternoon and then began drinking heavily before the clock hit 10am. Our group of five became seven with the poolside introduction of the flamboyant and enigmatic multinational Daniel, plus his Canadian travel companion, the painting pretty Kirsten.
At 4pm our dune buggy picked us up and off into the sand mountains we sped, way more than half drunk we revelled in the adventure; the drivers take carte blanche with your existence, rallying around the peaks and troughs at breakneck speeds, belly down on makeshift snowboards you nose dive down giant slopes, we played like children in a monster sandbox and finished the day drinking more by the side of our now broken down buggy. This afforded us a surprise highlight of our trip, far from the city lights in a basin of sand we gazed slack-jawed and bleary eyed at the milky way emerging on the canvas of black that was our ceiling (why they do not offer this as part of the tour I don’t know). We eventually headed back to Huacahina and continued the debauchery, there really is nothing else to do here.
With the road to Arequipa still collapsed and thus all buses in other directions full, we had to wait around another two days here, more of the same continued and we were all more than happy to leave in the end.
Two days are more than enough in Huacahina, but a trip here is a must. Beware though, there are no ATM’s so bring plenty of cash, the nightlife can get a little sketchy the later it gets, the food isn’t great and a little pricey to boot, but the sandboarding alone is worth the trip. Climb a dune for sunset or relax by one of the many hostel pools, enjoy Huacachina, just make sure you get out with your bank balance and dignity in tact.