Huacachina is an oasis, literally.
In the middle of hill upon hill of sand dunes sits a small lake (presumably fed by underwater sources) and a few blocks of buildings surrounding it for those visiting (the permanent population is around 200 people). It´s only 5km from Ica, a town of 200K or so, so not really in the middle of nowhere, but from the sand dunes above, it looks like an isolated desert oasis straight from the Saharan movies.
As one can imagine, it is a very chill place, full of both native and foreign tourists. We got in late Sunday after our day in Paracas, and wandered around the palm tree lined lake for a bit. The next morning, however, we climbed one of the nearest sand dunes, and quickly learned that wearing sandals was a mistake: as we came down the dunes, we almost burned our feet on the hot sand! Yikes!
Later in the afternoon, we took a dune buggy ride through the dunes. The dune buggy was unlike anything I´ve ridden before. It seats 9, including the driver, three rows of three people, and traverses the dunes in amazing speeds. Let´s just say that my weak stomach was not prepared for the roller coaster affects of speeding up and down these dunes, especially with a driver who likes to show off! But I survived, and the nausea eventually wore off! At the dunes, we tried out sand boarding (similar to snow boarding, I suppose), but except at the bunniest of hills, we just laid on the boards and went head first down the hills.
The sunset past the dunes was gorgeous, as expected, and we headed back to the desert oasis soon afterwards.