|We got into Ica on Wednesday afternoon, and took a taxi straight to nearby Huacachina, which is an oasis in the desert. I wasn't sure just how oasis-y it would be, and I wondered if the desert would really be a desert, or just a kind of dry area, but I was pleasantly surprised. The oasis was an ACTUAL oasis and the desert was just like how I imagine the Sahara would be, with sand dunes stretching as far as the eye can see (check out the photos). One thing I have loved about Peru is that it encompasses so many different climates, and landscapes utterly unlike anything I have ever seen.
Huacachina is strictly a resort town catering to tourists, although I use the term "resort" loosely... there's nothing too fancy here, even though most of the hostels have pools. There is a tiled promenade that runs around the lagoon with a few statues, but it is starting to fall into disrepair, so the town has the air of a place that might once have been quite posh, but is now becoming overgrown.
On Thursday morning, I decided to head out on a dune buggy tour. Unfortunately, Cheryl was feeling a bit under the weather, so I had to do this one on my own. I really only decided to do it because I was in the desert and thought it would be wrong to visit the desert without doing a dune buggy tour (after all, everybody else does it), but it ended up being one of the highlights of my vacation. First of all, riding in a dune buggy is WAY better than any roller coaster, and much scarier. The dunes are MASSIVE and the drivers are crazy... we went straight up and down steep dunes at insane speeds, and sometimes the driver would decide half-way up to turn around and go back down, thereby nearly flipping the buggy on its side. I loved it, but I also couldn't help but think of how pissed off my mom was going to be when she found out that I died in a dune buggy crash. Secondly, we would stop periodically at the top of a dune to sandboard down, where our driver would meet us at the bottom. Sandboarding a little bit like snowboarding, but you don't have as much control over the board, meaning you pretty much have to go straight down (at least, that's what the experienced snowboarders in my group told me). Most of the time, I went down practically on my bum, but I am proud to say that I did have a few good runs standing up. I also had more sand than I thought would be possible in every crack and crevice of my body, so a quick shower before catching the bus to Pisco was absolute heaven.