To one side of the southern regional capital of Ica, and the fertile valley it sits in, is a huge expanse of sand that stretches out for miles in the direction of the coast. Completely barren and devoid of moisture, the winds shift the sands as they have for centuries forming huge dunes that bask and bake in the strong sun. Bleached white with light during the day, and taking on deep warm tones as the sun sets, the dunes hide among them small oases of tiny lakes and palm trees. But there’s no time to sit, stare and take in this scene of exquisite natural beauty, yet another of millions to be found across Peru. It’s time to sandboard!
Huacachina is an oasis town formed for and overrun by tourism. Hotels and bars surround the little central lake, all in the shadow of the surrounding dunes. From here buggies ferry visitors around, up and down the dunes at breakneck speed before arriving in various locations where the sands are steep enough to slide down on boards.
Stopping off for an afternoon can give you a taste, but if you have time you really should hang around for a couple of days. It really is great fun.