Sand boarding in Huacachina

Trip Start Nov 12, 2013
Trip End Nov 20, 2014

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Flag of Peru  , Ica,
Friday, July 25, 2014

When you arrive at a town and no one tells you that you are at your stop it can be a little frustrating. At least we were awake and were pretty sure this was Ica and this was confirmed by the driver when asked. Being dropped at the side of the road has also become quite natural for us, and here the locals are one step ahead and know we are going to Huacachina by taxi. Before you know it you are driving into an oasis surrounded by huge sand dunes. We had been recommended a place called Hospedaje Rocha by the people at Home Sweet home in Arequipa so we went straight there, only to find that their business card lied. They didn't have breakfast included or a kitchen to use so we tried to find something else. This weekend is Peru's independence weekend and everything is busy and expensive, so we had to take a room at Rocha as we could also get a room for Kerrie and Vicki who were arriving today as well. Accommodation sorted we headed out for a walk to see the town. It's a small place so it doesn't take long. At lunch we found a place called Desert Nights which is a HI hostel as well. They had a great burger special, but even better they had room for tomorrow night so we could be closer to the action of town which surrounds the oasis.
The girls arrived in the afternoon and once we had caught up on their Inca Trail stories we headed back to town to find a sand buggy and sand boarding tour.
The girls had already been on a buggy and boarding tour in Nasca so the two of us went off at 4 to join our what turned out to be locals tour. The funny thing is that today we paid 40 soles for a two hour tour and because of the independence weekend as of tomorrow the tours are for only an hour. Off we went at great speeds and up almost vertical sand dunes, much to the delight of the Peruvian girl who would have been 8 at most. We stopped at a dune that wasn't too long or steep to try out our sand boards and Chris was the only one to stand up. It was clearly evident that he hasn't been on a snow or wake board in a long time. Near the bottom he stacked it hard and landed on his back and head with a loud thud. He got up ok but was a little tender, but still he was determined to stand on the next two slopes. The next few slopes were a lot higher and steeper so all of us had to lay down on our fronts. On the last slope everyone walked to a steep high slope but of course Chris had to take it up another step and even he will admit he was a little scared heading down at crazy speeds. Boarding over we headed off to watch the sun set from the top of a huge dune. After pouring half the desert out of our boots we went to meet the girls at the Desert Nights restaurant for beer and chicken wings.
That night as we were about to go to sleep the bar at our hostel kicked off keeping us awake for a while. After little sleep in the Colca Canyon and on the night bus here this was not what we needed.

This morning we headed off in search of a fruit and yoghurt breakfast before checking out of Hospedaje Rocha and dropping our bags off at Desert Nights. We were even lucky to find Lauren a proper pot of tea with milk. We killed a couple of hours on their internet before having lunch, yet again we ate at Desert nights, but today we both had a massive pancake full of fruit.
It was now time to sit in the sun at the edge of the oasis and just relax for a while, and discuss how the Peruvians just don't care about their environment and throw everything everywhere.
At 3:30 we were able to check in and decided to climb the sand dune behind the hostel. It was a tough walk to the top but we pushed through the hot sand to the top and waited for sunset. It unfortunately grew cold and we had to head down early to change.
Dinner tonight we ventured out and found a great local place with a cheap set menu and huge portions. Well satisfied we headed in search of sublime ice creams and bed (Sublimes are a chocolate ice cream with nuts, and are almost as good as the Manifico ice creams in Bolivia).

We have decided to leave Huachchina today and head to Lima. The plan is to spend one night in Lima if we have to, but we don't have any accommodation booked and don't know if we will be able to get from Lima to the jungle because of the long independence weekend.
The four of us took two taxis to The Flores bus terminal in Ica and ended up at two different terminals. It turns out we were at the starting point terminal and the girls ended up three blocks down at the second terminal. Once we worked out where the other two were we jumped on a bus for Lima stocked with containers of fresh fruit, yoghurt and cereal.
Not long after leaving water started making its way towards the girls bags. A friendly guy behind them tried to help put their bags up for them but the girls thankfully said no they were ok. We had recently read about the busses on this route where locals tip water on the floor and then tell you it's dirty water. When they then do the kind thing by offering to help they pinch things out of your bag and then get off. No doubt disappointed the friendly local then got off the bus only a few hundred meters after starting, and before the ticket guy came around. Finally the Lonely Planet advice about busses came in handy.
Four and a half hours later we arrived in Lima, and our first impression was, it's a dump, quite literally with rubbish everywhere.
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