Huacachina: We came to party (3)

Posted on May 10, 2011

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Imagine my surprise upon arrival at the cluster of bus terminals to discover that my bus to Ica, the stop-off point for Huacachina, was a mere 27 soles and ran every ten minutes. A far cry from the unpredictability of most South American journeys, the four-hour journey was also one of the more picturesque, with panoramic views of the Pacific coast.

Ica itself was nothing to write home about, and thus I followed the majority of gringos and made a beeline straight from the oasis of Huacachina. This had not initially been on my itinerary, but several good reports from travellers persuaded me to make the trip.

Upon arrival, I could see the appeal. In the darkness I could make out vast sand dunes towering over a large  lagoon (the lagoon itself is featured on the back of the Peruvian fifty soles note). My first experiences, however, were less than adequate. Having arrived on the Easter weekend I found every hostel in town fully booked, and eventually had to settle for paying well over the odds for what I presume was the last bed in Huacachina. Reservations made at the liveliest and most popular hostel in town for the next two nights, I set off on a solo bar crawl around town, eventually enjoying a night out with an American, a Scotsman and two Dutch girls.

Upon moving hostel the next day and settling at the bar, I soon made the acquitances of an Aussie and a Belgian. The three of us decided to embark on the most popular of attractions in Huacachina: sandboarding and buggying. Over two hours, we boarded down steep dunes and were driven around at terrrifying speeds. It was a most exhilirating experience and I highly recommend it to everybody. The only downside was that sand caused seemingly unfixable damage to my camera (it was eventually repaired by some genius in a Cuzco market).

It was then back to the bar at the hostel to wile away the evening, with everybody partaking in a beer or three. One 0f the best things about travelling in the multiculturalism of it all, and this was no different. Over several hours, I talked and laughed and drank with Swedes, Belgians, Aussies, Americans, Brits, Belgians, Canadians and many more.

The next day was spent mostly in Ica, just confirming our previous opinions of it as a non-descript town, though at least in offered decent internet connections and a bank (unlike the miniscule Huacachina). That night we gorged on shrimp, potato skins and surprisingly good steak, before a more relaxing evening, though still a late one. It was with regret that I departed the next day to return to Lima, in order to catch my flight to Cuzco.

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Posted in: Experience, Travel