After a cloudy start to the morning, a stressful drive, a visit to an ugly town and a boring museum we found an oasis (literally):
Sometimes all you need to save a morning of otherwise forgettable sightseeing is to see something you have only read about: a desert oasis. It was astonishing, almost like seeing something out of a cartoon: water ringed with green surrounded by yellow sand. There is little else notable about Huacachina, a small town in the middle of a desert that streches from Lima to Peru’s border with Chile. It is one of the only true desert oases in the Americas.
Apparently this unusual sight is depicted on the back of a 50 Sol bill. (I don’t usually study currency so I will trust wherever I heard this. My dad has asked me at least 100 times over the last few decades who is on a $500 bill and I can never remember despite being promised said bill. Yes, he actually has one and I don’t think he will ever give it away.)
Not surprisingly, Huacachina has developed into a small tourist attraction with the requisite shops hawking t-shirts and hats, a couple of small restaurants and some hostels. You can take a dune buggy ride up the sand dunes or rent a board to surf down. The kids were kind of bummed we did neither. Instead they ate ice cream while we walked around the water watching the birds and boats. Meanwhile, Sean and I were more excited than the kids. Funny how you can know someone for nearly twenty years and not know your mutual desire to see a desert oasis.