Desert oasis and sandboarding in Huacachina

We escaped the big city and reached Huacachina, Peru, a palm-fringed desert oasis surrounded by 100m high sand dunes. It was startling at first looking up and seeing the dunes, which loom like static tidal waves.

This was the somewhat mind-blowing view from our window:

We explored the tiny town by walking around the pond. It took 10 minutes. Elise added a bracelet to her collection. A woman from Argentina made one for her that picked up on the colors of her other bracelets.

The next day we caught a ride in a sand buggy to a spot for sand boarding. The driver roared the engine as we sped down what looked like 80° inclines. Elise held onto me tightly and we screamed as our stomachs dropped. After that, the sand boarding itself was like a gentle walk in the park. We started by zooming down on our bellies – weeeeeeeee! It was like sledding on powdery snow, except that it was wonderfully warm and cozy and über soft. Later, on a more shallow incline, we tried standing up on our boards. Seriously good fun!

The oasis at sunset.

Elise got a kick out of being able to sip fresh papaya juice at the pool bar at Ecocamp and play endlessly in the water, perfecting her handstands and boogying to the blaring dance music. I wished I had been able to enjoy the place as much as she did, but the decibel levels made that impossible for me. I kept thinking of the Hawaii episode of Mad Men. Don and Megan are in tropical paradise, but Don felt only tension.

To make themselves feel better about maintaining a pool in the middle of the desert, Ecocamp recycles, does daily clean-ups of the dunes, and even provides free room and board in poolside cabanas to volunteers working on sustainability projects. Unless you are Don Draper (or a misophone like me), it would not be a bad place to volunteer for a few weeks.  The town itself is tiny – only 200 inhabitants – and nearly all of them are geared towards making your stay fun.