AROUND THE WORLD.ORG

travelling the seven parts of the world
Apr 4th, 2008
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Huacachina is an Oasis in the middle of the Atacama desert, which stretches from Northern Chile to Southern Peru. It is located near the city of Ica, we stopped there on our way to Nazca.

The bus left the bus station in Lima at 7:00 and was supposed to arrive in Ica at 11:00, but was late 2 hours 40 minutes... yes, that's 2 hours 40 minutes late on a drive that was supposed to take only 4 hours.



Most of the road passes through awful shanty towns that are scattered from Lima outwards. Not to say that Lima is not a really big shanty town all by itself, but these ones were pretty awful, and dirty, and I was glad I was in a safe bus.

Talk about a safe bus, these guys have everything from luggage tags to metal detectors to filming everyone who's online to GPS detectors so that you can be found in case the bus does not arrive at police checkpoint in time. Even then you are recommended not to put your luggage in overhead lockers in case you fall asleep and someone in some stop gets out with your stuff. Welcome to South America.



Mid way the bus had to stop for about an hour because there was a cotton farmer strike. Apparently we were 2 km from the place, and we were told to be thankful about that, because the guys in the front often see some rock throwing and tear gassing action.



Finally though, we made it to Huacachina, a beautiful Oasis in the middle of the desert. We had a really cool hotel that made me feel like a Colombian drug lord.



So what's there to do in the desert? Well... buggy rides and sandboarding!





The buggy ride was great - it was very fast, and the guy took us up some steep slopes, but you cannot beat sandboarding. Liene tried to sandboard on her feet like you would snowboard, but this is difficult, as its not so fast, and you have trouble turning. So, instead of doing it upright, do it on your stomach!



The way this works is that you get on the board on your stomach, hold on tight, and go down the hill straight, reaching awesome speeds. You can brake and turn by putting your feet on the ground. Needless to say, sand was everywhere in your clothes and on you.



There's really not much more to say - we spent the next few hours sandboarding, buggy riding, taking in the awesome scenery of the sand dunes, the contrasts between the dark clouds and the bright yellow of the sand, and ended the day watching the sunset.



















We got back to our Oasis before it got dark.

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