Our next stop on the way up north has been the city of Ica in the coastal desert region. There is not much to do in Ica, mostly destroyed during the 2007 earthquake (that also mangled Pisco) except for the curiosity, oasis of Huacachina, a couple of kilometers to the west.
Huacachina used to be a natural oasis in the middle of the dunes that quickly transported one to the middle of a Sahara. An old legend says that it was formed after a disconsolate green-eyed girl cried here the death of her Inca general lover. In the 1940ies Huacachina became an exclusive spot where wealthy Peruvians would come for a balneary experience. However, due to intensive agriculture around Ica, the lake has drained, and now has been replaced by an artificial one, with not that much of its old green color left. The hotels and restaurants have aged as well, the earthquake did not help.
Meanwhile, the fun is had by all on the outskirts, in the dunes. You can rent a sandboard with scratches instead of fixings for 5 soles a day, and go into the dunes. Nevertheless, going up the sand dunes is even less exciting than going up snow hills, so the privileged way of exploring the desert is going for a buggy ride. At first, it sounded to me like another very touristy thing to do, but to my surprise it proved to be a lot of fun.
The 2-hour buggy ride is more like the Russian Mountains in Disneyland. The vehicle itself resembles a submarine or a moon rocket, all open and very noisy. And than it goes rocket-like up and down the dunes. It is not for the people with cardio-vascular problems though. It starts being amusing only when you manage to convince your brain that it is not happening to you and that it is not a real vehicle and that there is a 100% security there despite those seat belt buckles that barely hold, and that crazy look in the driver´s eye.
From time to time, the driver stops at the edge of the biggest sand dune, and the entertainment starts - the sandboarding.
Having no experience with snowboard, i went at it in a slightly different manner. After a couple of descents even those with snowboard experience took at it in my way as it is the most painless, rapid, and enjoyable way to get down:
The buggy ride has thus been lots of fun, and we enjoyed a beautiful sunset in the end: