48 hrs from Montanita I found myself in the desert oasis of Huacachina. It was a long time coming but I had been longing to get here ever since I laid eyes on its beauty in a picture I had randomly stumbled on years ago. When I say desert oasis, I truly mean it…
Huacachina is a small town of about two hundred people nestled between mountainous golden sand dunes, situated around a tranquil lagoon. There is only one road in and even it seemingly disappears into the sand once you cross the threshold and step foot on the waterside boardwalk.
My ultimate goal here was to try my hand at sandboarding but I found myself overcome by the sheer beauty and magnitude of my surroundings. Suddenly screaming down the sand at breakneck speeds wasn’t all that big of a concern.
From the moment our dune buggy broke the crest of that first hill of sand and the vast desert landscape came into focus, I was in absolute awe. It’s hard to comprehend that billions upon billions upon billions of tiny grains of sand can come together in such as display of constantly changing harmony, but there it was in front of me in all its glory.
From my feet to the horizon in every direction was nothing but sand. If it wasn’t for the roar of the dozen or so buggies whipping travelers up and down the slopes, it would have been all too easy to lose yourself in the silence for hours on end. Speaking of the dune buggies, they were an adventure all to themselves.
Built for nothing else but tackling these sand giants and consisting of little more than a roll cage, seats, and an engine, they would send you straight up a 60-degree slope in the blink of an eye and have you plummeting to your doom down the other side just as fast. The ride was just as much, if not more fun than the actual sandboarding.
It’s not to say sandboarding didn’t have its moments. Whether carving your way down via gentle gradual turns, snaking it to the bottom, or laying on your belly and charging from top to bottom in a straight line, it was all good fun. There was a steady progression in difficulty too.
The tiny hills eventually gave way to mountains and by the end there were definitely some challenges to making it all the way down without ending up on your backside. While it wasn’t surfing, or snowboarding, it still put a smile on my face.
In the end though, no amount of sandboarding could compare with the rush of gazing out upon the open desert in all of its grandeur. Just prior to dusk I took a walk to a perch high above the town and the view cemented in my mind as truly something memorable. It makes me wonder how many other unique places there are out there waiting to be discovered.
If most people don’t know about Huacachina, what other gems are waiting in the shadows?