Earlier this year, I spent some time in Ica, in the south of Peru. The highlight of the day trip around town was the visit to Huacachina, where I discovered a fun new sport: sandboarding!
Huacachina is a small village in southwestern Peru. It is located near the city of Ica, about 300 km south of Lima. To get there, you could either take an organized trip from Ica, as we did, or put on your walking shoes and march through the desert for about 5km. If you decide on the latter, keep in mind you’re in a very hot, dry region where it hardly ever rains!
The Oasis of Huacachina is an enchanting place. The emerald green laguna is fed by upwelling water from underground streams. A lush vegetation of palms, eucalyptus and huarangos surrounds the little lake, providing a resting place for migratory birds passing through.
Legend goes that once there was a beautiful maiden named Huacca China, who fell for a young warrior. Life was beautiful, until the young warrior went to battle and died. After receiving this horrible news, Huacca China went back to the place where she and her lover first met. The beautiful maiden suffered and cried every day remembering her beloved, her tears creating the laguna.
One day, the girl looked in a mirror and saw her beloved trying to reach her. Startled she jumped up and ran away. The folds of her ropes, streaming behind her as she ran, became the surrounding sand dunes. The young lady is rumored to still live in the oasis as a mermaid. It is said that every new moon she leaves the lagoon to mourn her beloved.
Over time, this little village has converted itself into a small resort, with a multitude of hotels and restaurants and an increasing number of tourist attractions. There is plenty to be done around the laguna, but most tourists are drawn to the exciting sports of sandboarding and buggy riding on the sand dunes.
Together with my brother and cousins I decided to try out this thrilling ride. We rented some boards and walked to the top. The next few hours consisted of falling down, sweating, riding at high speeds, and eating buckets of sand. In the end we were all sunburned, tired and really thirsty. But what an exciting and fun afternoon we had! Loved it!
If you ever find yourself near Ica, you should definitively pay a visit to Huacachina and surf down the dunes! What a thrill!