We’ll be the first to admit it: the main reason we visited Peru, South America, was to experience the world famous Machu Picchu ruins and visit some family during their around-the-world trip. But Peru revealed some hidden gems like Huacachina, a tiny oasis surrounded by giant sand waves and full of surprises.
Lost in the middle of the desert, Huacachina is basically a collection of few hotels and restaurants around a tiny laguna framed by gorgeous palm trees. With less than 150 people living there permanently, the once-glamorous resort originally built for Peruvian elite is now a real playground for gringos.
Well, at least in peak season.
We travelled to Huacachina in January, and there was hardly anyone around… it looked more like a ghost town.
After walking around the sleepy town (just a few minutes to do it all!), we met a driver that could take us to experience the two main attractions of the area: sandboarding and dune-buggy riding.
We stayed at the fancy colonial-style Mossone hotel. The Mossone was a famous luxury resort hotel back in the 1920s.
There were not much to do here…apart from enjoying some cocktails on the terrace in front of the laguna and relaxing.
The following morning, we were ready to get a thrill on the sand dunes surrounding Huacachina. Our buggy driver quickly set the pace for the rest of the tour. He started some mental driving on the massive dunes, making sudden turns and insanely accelerating along the steepest slopes. Our hearts did some spinning as we were racing up and down the sand dunes at high speeds.
Soon we stopped at the top of a dune, and our driver grabbed two boards. We were now going to experience proper sandboarding.
We carefully listened to his basic instructions while waxing our boards.
Well positioned, either sitting on the board or lying down on our stomach, we slided down a few dunes. The sand quickly started to create a temporary face mask (sticking particularly well since we daubed our face with lots of suncream).
After several successful sandboarding “rides”, our driver offered us to bring us to another dune. 80 meters high, a lot higher and steeper than the first one!
As I went on my latest ride, I did an unfortunate movement that unbalanced my board.The board passed above my head as I rolled downhill, hitting the sand at full speed. I finally stopped dozens of meters later. Luckily with no injury. I just had lots of sand in my ears, mouth, hair, clothes…everywhere!
After two hours of going up and down the dunes, we headed back to our hotel at fast pace across the desert. That evening we took one of our longest showers ever, trying hard to get rid of the kilos of sand piled up during our adrenalin day trip in the middle of the Huacachina desert.