- Published on Saturday, 28 July 2012 19:14
After departing Cusco via a 14 hour overnight bus, I had arrived into the tiny village of Huacachina, Peru in the southwestern region of the country. I had read that Huacachina was like a desert oasis and when I hopped out of my cab to find a hostel what I read was proven true by the sight before me. The little village surrounds a lake and surrounding the village are massive sand dunes hundreds of feet high. I truly felt like I was in some sort of Lawrence of Arabia scene and if not for the Spanish speakers I could have been in the Sahara. After easily finding accommodation I set out walking bleary eyed and tired from my journey here. Within five minutes I met a band of traveling gypsies who invited me into their commune. As I knew and soon found out I would get nothing accomplished this day.
Hanging in the commune with the four Colombians, one Peruvian, one Argentinian, and one Mexican was quite the experience. I instantly had a connection with the Colombians and I was brought back to my time in that country and man do I miss it. The people there (as well as my new friends) are so outgoing and friendly. In the commune all was shared together and I was included as well. There was no money involved, no expectations. We drank wine, ate home cooked food, and shared stories of our travels amongst the group. Everyone did their part and contributed in some way with cooking, cleaning, providing drinks, food, etc. There was music, dancing, and laughter throughout the day and into the night. I had a really good time with the group but I had to pull myself out as my reason for coming to Huacachina was to try my hand at sandboarding not partying. Had I stayed in the commune, I might still be there. After a day with the gypsies, I was in no shape to try sandboarding just yet. After a good nights sleep I awoke refreshed and ready to tackle the dunes.
At the hostel their was a group of Euros milling about talking about how good they were at sandboarding. I kind of just kept my mouth closed about it and five of us set out hiking the dunes with the Peruvian sandboard guide. The hike up the massive sand dunes was really exhausting work especially with the intense sun of the day. I had made it back to sea level and into the desert for sure. For the first time in a long while I was hot, and it felt good. Once at the top of the dune I was treated with an overall view of the village and also of sand and desert that stretched as far as the eye could see.
At the top of the massive dune I was anxious to ride back down. I watched as the Euros struggled making their way down the sand. I even smiled a little. Once strapped in I was ready. I hadn't ridden a snowboard in over a year due to my busted kneecap in December, but I figured riding sand couldn't be all that hard. True to form I smoked all the Euros down the mountain and showed them what Colorado and the 5280 is all about. They were blown away that the quiet bearded guy from the USA just handed them their you know what. Good times all around. Riding on the sand was a lot of fun, but the 30 minute hike up and 10 seconds down just was not worth it for me. I miss the real deal back at Mary Jane and Copper.
After the fun filled day on the sand working the Euros and the Peruvian guides over at sandboarding I hiked to the highest point of the dunes outside of the city to watch the sunset. Really a magical moment and I was at total and utter peace alone amongst the breeze and the sands of the desert. Huacachina was a really nice side trip for me as I continue my ascent North to my eventual exit from South America. I really enjoyed my few days here. Next stop, Lima.