Once again, I found myself having low expectations.
Huacachina looked so amazing in pictures that I was pretty seriously convinced that it’d kinda be a scam. I thought it would be so overcrowded and touristy and not at all like I’d hoped.
It was definitely touristy, and moderately crowded, but actually, Huacachina ended up being one of the two biggest highlights of my trip to Peru.
After arriving into this little ‘oasis town’ and checking in to the definition of backpacker paradise – Banana’s Adventure Hostel – it was time to go and make the most of our time in close proximity to enormous sand dunes!
First and foremost, we headed uphill to get a good look at the little town we would be staying in, and the views were just as beautiful as I had imagined.
However, the purpose of this trip wasn’t to go to the prettiest viewpoints, it was to get our hearts pumping by doing a little dune bashing!
We set off in one of the many dune bashing buggies and made our way into the desert.
This was, on the whole, an absolutely amazing experience. I have always loved a little adrenaline rush, whether that be from a rollercoaster, bungee jumping or managing a maternity related emergency at work, and as a result, I have developed a little bit of complacency over the years.
The first time I ever skydived I got absolutely no adrenaline rush.
Zero. Zip. Zilch.
People have asked me how that is even possible, but I think it just comes down to having had so many experiences which give me an adrenaline rush – my body seems to have developed a little bit of immunity.
The dune bashing itself didn’t give me an adrenaline rush, but I still ended up getting one.
The seatbelts in the car were rather fiddly, and after having a brief photo stop I was unable to get my belt to clip back in… and the driver wasn’t about to wait for me to get my shit together!
As a result, we went (literally) flying over the tops of sand dunes, and while everyone else was safely tucked into their seats by their belts, I had one hand on the roof and one hand on my camera whilst internally begging to not be thrown into the roof of the car!
By the time we arrived at our next photo stop I was feeling a whole lotta adrenaline pumping through my veins, and while it felt fricking fantastic, you better believe that I gave myself plenty of time to buckle up for all of the future drives.
After a while we came to a stop where we could try our hands at sand boarding. Initially I wasn’t keen (call it a reaction to the very recent terrifying experience) but eventually decided to give it a try… and I loved it!
I only went down on my belly (the safest way) as I am afflicted with a marked lack of coordination, which was definitely a good choice. I saw numerous other very athletic people attempt to go down standing up, and there was definitely more than a handful of injuries going around.
Once we had all gotten our fill of sand boarding, we took a little trek up to some less busy dunes to watch the sunset, and oh what an absolutely glorious sunset it was.
As soon as the sun had sunk below the dunes, we began the most annoying part of the day, trying to get back into the city behind about a bajillion other dune buggies! However, on the way we got an even better view of the oasis town below, so it was an annoyance that I didn’t mind very much.
We had grand plans to go out partying that night, but I gotta be honest, I may have only been 24 at the time that I visited Peru, but I am already very much feeling my age! The days where I could energetically explore all day and party all night are long behind me, and instead, I ate a delicious barbecue dinner, drank a few beers and had a fantastic nights sleep.
If this was me at 24, I am going to be a Grandma by the age of 30!
The next morning we set course for Cusco, but not before making a few little stops along the way. The most noteworthy of these stops was a visit to a tower from which we could view a few of the Nazca lines.
The Nazca lines are a series of big-ass geoglyphs that are located in the Nazca desert. Nobody really knows how they got there, but there has been much speculation over the years, with pretty much every possible scenario (including aliens) being considered.
All in all, it was a pretty fantastic few days. I had expected so little, and Peru had delivered so much, and I hadn’t even made it to Cusco yet!…
Getting to Peru: Peru is well connected to North and South America through Lima airport
Peru Hop: A hop-on hop-off type of transport with an element of group tour built in, I bought the ‘Get to Cusco Quick’ pass for $159 which you can find more information about by clicking here
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lens
Remember: Bring a bunch of bandaids if you intend to sand board, I guarantee that either you or someone you meet will need them