Dunes and delicious food

Trip Start May 08, 2013
Trip End Sep 30, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hostal Huacachina Sunset

Flag of Peru  , Ica Region,
Saturday, May 18, 2013

We originally planned to stay only 2 nights in Huacachina, but we liked it so much that we decided to stay an extra night. Huacachina is an oasis in the desert, located about 5km from the larger town of Ica. Many years ago the oasis was natural, created by water flowing down from the Andes; but in more recent times, the supply that fed the oasis has been sapped for crop irrigation further upstream and the oasis has to be filled artificially. The town is surrounded by tall sand dunes on all sides; the main 'tourist attractions' here are riding in a dune buggy (driven extremely fast up and over steep slopes) and sand boarding. There isn't really a lot to do here even for 3 days, but it is a very relaxing place and we took the opportunity to rest, sit in the sun and make plans for the next bit of our trip.

The first two afternoons we hiked to the top of the dunes on one side of the oasis, hoping for great views across the desert and of the famous Huacachina sunset. It was pretty difficult to get to the top, the incline became increasingly steep the higher we got. It was worth it though: the views were amazing and we were able to watch the sunset by ourselves at the top. The sand dune on the opposite side of the oasis seemed to be much more popular a climb, so on the last evening we set out to find out why. It was much less steep and far easier to climb! We were happy to have climbed 'our' dune twice though; it was that bit more special having the place to ourselves.

We stayed in the Hostal Huacachina Sunset, a place that we had read good reviews of on TripAdvisor but didn't live up to its billing. The room itself was fine, however the advertised wifi didn't work in the room. We were only able to have hot showers once in the 3 days and paper-thin walls meant we were kept awake late into the evening with loud music and barking dogs. Wouldn't recommend.

I would, however, recommend a couple of places for food and drink. On the day we arrived we had lunch at La Casa de Bamboo, run by an Englishwoman named Beth in her back garden. We shared a cheese crepe and a vegetable Thai red curry, finished off with a chocolate brownie and ice cream. All 3 were great, and the savoury items were obviously prepared completely fresh for us.

The food at Desert Nights hostel and bar, just next door to us, was also really nice - I think it became our second home in Huacachina! Over the 3 days we had nachos, hamburger and fries, deep-fried chicken wings (got to be true to our Scottish heritage), deep-fried chicken pieces (a bit like pakora), arroz chaufa con carne (with beef), lomo saltado (stir fried beef with tomato, onions, fries and rice) and an ice cream sundae with a whole milky way (actually a mars bar) chopped up in it. Breakfast too: they served a giant pancake wrapped up around fresh fruit with chocolate sauce on top. I had that every morning (well it was delicious...) while Jen went for the more sensible option of fresh fruit salad (and picking at my pancake!).

6-8pm was Happy Hour with 2-4-1 on cocktails, so we took the opportunity to try Pisco Sour (Pisco brandy with a sour mix). It was pretty strong, and tasted a bit too much like whisky for my liking. Other cocktails were good though (and equally strong!). Last night we decided to have inca kola again. It's very drinkable and a nice fruity alternative to coca cola. Apparently it outsells coca cola in Peru.

Today we are taking a lunchtime bus from Ica to Nazca, then spending a few hours in Nazca before taking a 10pm overnight bus to Arequipa. This will be our first experience of trying to sleep on a bus here, but we've splashed out on the 'cama' (bed) option and will have seats that recline about 170 degrees.
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Linda James on

I loved that place too, great chips! Loved the sand boarding too. Have fun

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