Haucachina – Day 1
The bus ride to Haucachina was incredible. We were almost constantly surrounded by huge sand dunes! We knew we were entering Haucachina because we could see a little town in the valley below the sand dunes and the town is known as “The Dessert Oasis”. Walking a few minutes from our hostel brought us directly to this oasis….it was a little surreal. A mix between a corny movie and a mirage, but altogether an appealing place to be! We walked around the pond which was green and didn’t look that appealing for a swim, but would definitely be a life saver if you were lost in the desert! To add a little tourist flare there were paddle boats that could be rented to get on the water. Since it was about 50 yards across we decided to take a pass. Many palm trees bordered the pond which added to the desert mirage aesthetic.
We parked ourselves at the bar overlooking the Oasis, so we had a great view of the tourists riding Dunne Buggies and sliding down the dunes. It was fun to watch especially because that will be us tomorrow! The sunset from our hostel was pretty fabulous as well.
Our first morning in Huacachina was greeted with the noise of construction workers at our hostel at 7am. Not a problem as we have been waking up before that, but not a relaxing way to start the morning. I convinced Autumn that the best use of our time this morning was to have a quick breakfast and then walk our butts up to the top of the highest sand dune that we could see. Not only did she agree, she wanted to carry the backpack to prove how tough she is. Who knew she was such a hiker?!?! The walk up the edge of the dune was a combination of exhausting and exhilarating. Not only did it feel like we were walking in sand :), the wind was blowing, and the dune fell off rather quick on both sides so we were both a little nervous. We finally made it to the top and were treated to some very neat views.
After a while at the top, we decided to take the direct route down the side to get back to town. Scary to start with and then just a whole lot of awesomeness.
After a little siesta we were due to meet a group to take a ride on a dune buggy. When the buggies pull up we all pile in and put on our rollercoaster-esque seatbelts. Autumn and I sat in the very front. We were NOT disappointed with the 20 minute ride through the rolling dunes. Our driver liked to live on the wild side, so there were numerous squeals of delight, shock, and terror. Some of the hills we drove down were pretty insane. It was a BLAST!!!
We stopped at a picturesque location in the middle of the dessert to take some photos, then straight back to the buggy for another hair raising ride to the sand boarding locations.
We arrived at the drop off for our first round of sand boarding. It was fun to do, but not nearly as adrenaline pumping at the buggy ride! We were able to board down six hills. Playing it safe both Autumn and I went down on our stomachs, but there were a few people standup boarding (and of course go-proing themselves at the same time), show offs. Unfortunately, just before our last hill there was a pretty bad accident. One guy bailed off of his board and then the chick behind him completely smoked him. They both went flying and one of the buggies rushed them to the hospital. That definitely puts damper on the fun and you could tell our driver felt the same way because the ride back wasn’t nearly as wild.
One of the best parts was watching the sunset over the Atacama Dessert. The sight was beautiful and helped us to really appreciate such a unique experience!
Needless to say the showers later that evening were greatly needed; we had sand in all crevices. Our time in the dessert will come to a close soon, but up next: Nazca and Arequipa!