The Wonderful Oasis of Hucachina
A small town in southwestern Peru is Huacchina, an extraordinary settlement that is built around a small natural lake in the desert.
An oasis is an isolated place with vegetation that surrounds a spring, lake, or any source of water. Huacachina is an oasis found on Peru’s desert, and according to legends, a beautiful native princess was seen taking a bath by a young hunter on that place. To her surprise she fled immediately leaving the pool of water which later on became the lagoon, and the folds of her mantle streaming behind her became the surrounding sand dunes. It was said that the princess still live today in the oasis as a mermaid.
For over thousands of years, the oasis saved hundreds of lives of weary travelers traveling with their mules, and now, it has been a great tourist destination. The town’s complete with restaurants and cafes, and also places to spend the night. It is located 5 kilometers outside of Ica, and the only way to get to this desert dream, Plaza de Armas, is by taxi.
According to the locals, the lagoon's sulfur-rich water contains curative properties. Sulfur is known as "nature's beauty mineral" because the body needs it to manufacture collagen which keeps the skin elastic, wrinkle-free, and younger-looking. By the end of the 19th century, Huacachina was practically uninhabited, until Angela Perotti, an Italian traveler discovered the medical properties of the water and sands of the lagoon. It has a perfectly good and natural way to cure skin diseases, and rheumatism.
The natural lake was also called “Oasis of America” and served as a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica. Private land owners who lives near had installed wells to access the ground waters, but this drastically reduced the level of water in the oasis. Now, the city began a process of pumping water in to the oasis to compensate for this water loss, and to preserve it as a beautiful destination for tourists.
This area makes a great place to escape from the desert heat after a day of sand boarding or cruising around in a dune buggy. These are what make the experience more memorable. Both are exhilarating and unusual sports, but are popular with visitors and locals alike. Sand boarding would be the closest thing to snowboarding. Although it's hardly as fun as the snow version of the sport, riding on giant sand dune has its excitement. Dune buggies on the other hand were designed for navigating the desert. You’ll definitely enjoy this with your friends or family if you’re not into sand boarding. These are two of the best things to enjoy the desert, and to enjoy visiting the oasis.
Photos of the Huacachina oasis
Images via Google images and Flickr