The Huacachina Oasis – known as the “Oasis of America” – is about five hours from Lima, the capital of Peru. The oasis is “South America’s only natural oasis” and is home to the continent’s largest sand dunes, explains the official Huacachina website.
How the oasis was formed
Encircled by palm trees, Huacachina Oasis is a “lush island in a sea of sand, its pool of water ripples in shades of blue and green, completely engulfed by the brutal environment that surrounds it,” according to Atlas Obscura.
Here is the geological explanation for the formation of the oasis in a desert sea: Huacachina Oasis is the result of a stream of water deep underground that boils to allow palms, eucalyptus and carob trees to grow around it. she explains the Huacachina website.
There are also local legends about the formation of the oasis. Although accounts vary, Huacachina.com explains that a young woman – who mourned the loss of her beloved – cried so much that her tears created the lagoon. Then one day a warrior walked through the area and saw the woman.
“Feeling observed, the young woman threw herself into the water to hide for hours until the warrior left,” explains Huacachina.com. “When she tried to leave, she realized she had turned into a mermaid. The girl’s name was Huacachina.
The Huacachina oasis is famous for its huge sand dunes. In fact, seeing the dunes has been described as an “out of this world” experience because the area looks like the surface of another planet, according to Huacachina.com.
The area has become famous for its buggy and sandboard tours that take advantage of the sand dunes. During the first half of the tour, visitors ride up and down the dunes at high speed in a buggy driven by a professional driver.
The second half of the tour gives tourists a chance to try sandboarding – which is exactly like snowboarding only on sand dunes instead of snow. Those who don’t want to sandboard can also go sand sledging down the dunes on a sled.
A trip to Huacachina wouldn’t be complete without also visiting the 2,000-year-old Nazca Lines, about two hours away. The lines, some of which are up to 1,200 feet long, are giant designs etched into the ground, says National Geographic.
Seen from an airplane, visitors realize that the lines are in fact more than 300 geometric designs, ranging from triangles to spirals. There are also around 70 depictions of plants and animals, including a spider, hummingbird, monkey, llama, flower, tree, and dog.
Know before you go
The US State Department recently increased its health alert: Travel Advisory for Peru to Level 4 Do not travel due to “very high level of COVID-19 in the country.” When it’s safe to travel to Peru again, you’ll need to fly to Lima, then take a five-hour bus to Huacachina. When planning your trip, think about