Midnight at the Oasis?

Trip Start Nov 09, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hotel El Huacachinero Huacachina
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Peru  ,
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Left Lima on a Cruz del Sur bus for Ica with 'just' the back pack (70 litres) and the smaller suitcase (55 litres) together with laptop case and large shoulder bag (and 2 coats) - have we nearly mastered this traveling lite? Left our 2 large suitcases back in Lima as we now head off into the wilds of Darkest Peru to see oh so many sights. What wonders lie ahead?

After just over 4 hours on the bus we arrived safely at Ica. Got a taxi to the nearby oasis where we are staying. It was dark, and our room when we entered it was like an oven. Outside it was relatively cool. We had dinner by the pool, leaving our room to cool down. The wine, as ever appears to be expensive so we again opted for cocktails with our meal. I think I am getting a taste for Pina Coladas!

Though we had seen pictures of the place before nothing could quite have prepared us for our day ahead. I awoke (as ever) between 4 & 5 and managed to get dressed and leave the room to sit on the seats outside our room and just take in the view. Draped across the walkways was honeysuckle and the smell as I left the room was so sweet. I remembered that was what first struck me when we left reception for our room last night.

Below me the pool and the restaurant. Nearby the gate from the grounds onto the adjoining sand dunes appeared to be locked. I recall it being open last night when we walked from the restaurant to our room. Annie awoke just before 5:30 and joined me on the covered walkway outside our room. Shortly afterwards a member of staff unlocked the gate and so we decided to climb the sand dune with the possibility of seeing yet another sun rise from the top (it being so early). Now when I say sand dune, unless you have seen them elsewhere you are not prepared for them. It had to be several hundred feet high, very steep and practically cascading into the grounds of our hotel.

Two steps up then sliding one step back in the ever moving sand we eventually made it and were not disappointed. Looking to the east we were, once again, rewarded with the sight of a sunrise. To the west the moon was still a good size, high in the sky. Across Ica there was a blanket of early morning mist, and below us our hotel and the oasis where we were staying. Plenty of trees and in the centre a sizeable lake (complete with rowing boats and pedaloes). The lake (and the oasis) was a natural phenomena which according to our guide book was said to have restorative properties. It was a greeny colour and the buildings and trees around it were reflected in the waters.

Though it was only around 6am there were plenty of others taking in the view, walking dogs, jogging. And looking away from Ica all we could see were endless sand dunes rising steeply up and down as far as you could see. The ealy morning sun casting spectacular colours and shadows across them.

After spending some time taking it all it we headed back down to our hotel jumping and sliding our way down the steep sand dune. I took advantage of the pool and we had breakfast after which we wandered around the oasis. It was already getting very hot in the sun, though in the shade it was pleasant with just a hint of a breeze. By the main square all the sand buggies were waiting for potential customers. We has seen pictures and decided it was something that we just had to experience. But before we ventured into the desert we need to change and put sun cream on or we were going to be fried.

Now ready we were off for an experience of a lifetime. Just us and our driver in a sand buggy heading into the wilds of the desert dunes. The buggy drove up the sides of some all but impossible climbs then down the other side. It was like a funfair ride, though on a scale unimaginable. When we eventually stopped to take in the view the silence was amazing. One or two other buggies dotted like ants on distant dunes.

Did we want to try sand boarding our driver asked? Well we are on our travels to experience all we can so yes we said, lets go for it. Back in the buggy and on he drove us around some more and eventually stopped atop one of the largest and steepest dunes we had seen. A brief explanation on how we should ride the boards then a nudge over the edge for an awesome cascade down the hill side. After initially dragging my feet in the sand I lifted them up and the speed rapidly increased, down and down going faster and faster then up the other side until gravity had its way and the board stopped. Annie hesitated then she too followed me. Our driver drove to collect us then off once again for more hair raising drive and the opportunity to sand board again.

This time I decided it was to be no braking, keep the feet up and experience the thrill of the ride. Annie took a video of my ride and it was something to remember for ever. A final stop to take in the views before a long and adventurous ride back to our start point. An awesome experience, but then that was what we came away for.

Back to our hotel, a swim in the pool, lunch by the poolside before we head off on the next leg of our Great Adventure. Just time to think about you all back home, working whatever. Enjoy life, we are.

A couple of videos below for you to get just a flavour of our day. Awesome. Look forward to your comments below.

Robin  18/11/11

[annie: just thought i would add that it was a fabulous place nothing like i had ever experiencd before and the video of me was at 6.30am, do not think i had even brushed my hair we were so excited to climb the dune i just got up and ran outside..kids eh..... oh and the buggy ride was an endless fair ground adrenaline rush and the sandboarding was scary at first it did take me a while to go down...well you should have seen how high it was from up there...!! thanks to those who have posted it is so nice to get a comment so please do if you can we miss you all...!!!..and it is a connection with normality outside this drean state we are in..!! probably lack of sleep and not staying in one place more than 5 mins...lol]
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Svetlana Belknap on

Great pictures and videos guys! I was laughing watching Robin sliding down the sand dunes ) . So Cool!!
So nice to see you both having fun and experiencing wonders of the world.
Hugs to you both, keep posting.

Sarah & Mick on

Looks like you are really enjoying yourselves - thanks for the messages we'll be showing Mum and Dad this weekend. Lots of love xxx

martin ricketts on

So good to be able to keep up with what you guys are doing all sounds so cool keep having fun and yes keep posting Martin

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