Following our departure from Puno, we arrived in Ica in the evening. From the bus station we loaded into tuk-tuks to take us to the Hucachina oasis. Upon arrival, we visited a food truck and obtained burgers before heading to bed. The next morning, I woke up to music, but that was not the only surprise. I went outside to join my peers for breakfast. My jaw dropped as I realized our hostel backed up to the oasis. I had had no idea that the lake was right there, and that it was surrounded by towering dunes. It was one of the most beautiful things I had seen thus far, and I could not wait to start climbing the dunes. After breakfast, that was the first thing on our to-do list. The sand was beautiful, but already burning hot at 9:00 in the morning. It was also much steeper than we had initially perceived. Only four of us made it to the top (I was not one of them), but even from half-way up, the view was gorgeous. We spent the first day relaxing on the beach and finding the best fried fish stalls. The next morning was even better as we gorged on fruit, swam in the pool, and hung out until the late afternoon when the real adventure would begin.
We met our tour guide, and he led us up the dunes to a sandy parking lot. He pointed us to our dune buggies, and we all climbed in. The only word that describes the air from the inside of a buggy is exhilarating. It was so much fun! I could not stop laughing, and I had the biggest smile on my face the whole time, but the buggy ride was just the beginning. We pulled up to one of the bigger dunes, and our guide pulled out the sandboards. I was a little intimidated by the sheer size of the dune as well as the fact that I was going to be strapping a waxed piece of wood shaped like a snowboard to my feet. I decided it was best to go down the dune on my stomach instead of standing up. Flying down the dune was so insane! It was one of the top ten experiences of my life. After sandboarding for an hour, the sun was getting low on the horizon, so we got back in the buggy to the perfect lookout point to watch the sunset over a sea of dunes. I will never forget that moment. Huacachina will always hold a special place in my heart, and I’ll keep all the memories I made in my time there dear to me for the rest of my days.
~Zoe, High School Student