Friday 21 July 2017

Huacachina, Peru

I woke up this morning and I watched a video on Instagram about the Sandboarding World Cup from desert.expeditions, below the caption read: "Shredding in the Mecca of Sand Sports in Peru" and I thought that I should question that claim; and as I've done a few location based posts before, this shall be another!

When a lot of people think about Peru, they would think of Machu Picchu, Lima, Lake Titicaca, the source of the River Amazon or Paddington Bear; but also there's another sight that's worth going to see not just in Peru but I think in the whole of South America, this place is that notable it's even on Peru's 50 Nuevo Sol banknote; this is the village of Huacachina not too far from the city of Ica in Peru.

Courtesy of: Unukorno Title: Peru, Oasis de Huacachina License: CC BY 3.0
If you look at this village from a map, you'll find that there's only one road to the small village making it appear as if it's a dead end, but just looking at pictures of this place, it looks like something out of a video game; I've never seen a settlement surrounded by sand dunes before and just by seeing pictures and how lively this place looks on videos, I personally would like to go there!

Imagery ©2017 DigitalGlobe, Map data
©2017 Google

The settlement itself is built around a small natural lake in the middle of the desert and the permanent population is roughly only a hundred people and according to Bert Luxing of the only things in Huacachina were "a basketball court, residential houses, and a kiosk."*

Bert Luxing in the same article also claimed that "For around 50USD you got to hire snowboards for the day (the type that strap to boots, as opposed to ones where you just slip your feet in) and also a four hour guided dune buggy/sand-boarding tour. You could opt to do either one or the other, and there are many companies in the town offering similar services, but I highly recommend doing both."** If I'm honest, he's sold me the experience! I'd recommend you read the whole article, it's worth the read.

Courtesy of: Ingo Mehling Title: Huacachina and surrounding dunes License: CC BY-SA 3.0
It's not only Huacachina that's interested me whilst I've researched this, If you take a drive about 2 and a half hours south east, you'll end up in Cerro Blanco which is second highest sand dune in the world (after Duna Frederico Kirbus in Argentina); the Huacachina Lagoon is the 9th most popular thing to do in Ica state according to Tripadvisor† and multiple sightseeing tours which include 4x4, quad bike, and sandboarding tours are the 6th most popular attraction in Ica state.

Before you go packing your bags for the next flight to Peru, here are some bits of information which may be handy to visitors:

  • As of the 21st July 2017 $1 USD will get you approximately 3.24 Peruvian Nuevos Soles
  • Citizens of the United States of America and the United Kingdom are allowed into Peru without the need for a visa if they are visiting exclusively for tourism purposes.
  • Feel free to try some coca leaves and/or coca tea in Peru but just don't bring any on the flight home, as Cocaine is present in these leaves and Cocaine is a class A drug in the UK and possession can carry up to a 7 year prison sentence, an unlimited fine, or both.
  • Voltage for electrical appliances in Peru is 220 volts, using plug sockets A and C‡

So desert.expeditions; I've come to the decision that yes, Huacachina is the Mecca of Sand Sports in Peru and you could argue this could also be a worthy contender for the best Sandboarding location in the whole of South America!

*[ 21st July 2017]
**[ 21st July 2017]
†[ 21st July 2017]
‡[ 21st July 2017]