Nov 17, 2012

Huacachina, Peru: land of sand

Once upon a time, Huacachina was a playground of the Peruvian elite, a veritable oasis where they would come to escape the drudgery of everyday life. Nowadays, it’s more of a tourist trap – the tiny lake in the middle of a sea of sand dunes is lined three-deep with bars advertising 5x1 happy hours and hostels housing tipsy young tourists. It’s definitely not what you’d call a cultural hub. But you only need to head over the first dune to realize what drew the Peruvians originally and the tourists today – a gorgeous, untouched expanse of silk-smooth sand dunes, where, if you time it right, you can see a sunset that will take your breath away.

Sun setting over the sand dunes in Huacachina, Peru

Arequipa, Peru: mummies & monasteries

“This is more like it,” was my first thought as we squealed around corners towards downtown Arequipa in an impossibly compact cab. Colonial architecture, cobblestone roads, people flooding the streets – it had the character and buzz that I expected but didn’t receive from Lima.

Arequipa's main square with volcano El Misti in the background