Chilling-out in Huacachina...
From the Andes to the Pacific…
I can’t believe it’s already the end of my second week here in Peru! On Wednesday I left the beautiful Cusco behind and embarked on a 16 hour bus journey that took myself and MP05 all the way from Cusco to Huacachina, an almost unreal seeming desert oasis.
16 hours on a bus in South America… if I am totally honest we were all dreading it. However, much to our surprise we arrived to the bus station to can what only be described as a first class airline on wheels. The seats were huge and comfortable, with enough room to stretch out and sleep or curl up to watch a film on one of the private TV screens in front of each seat. We really travelled in style! The journey allowed for us to see some incredible scenes also, with the sunsetting over the Andes as we made our way down from the altitude and headed west for the desert.
We arrived into Huacachina to the early morning mist and headed to our hostel. The hostel is great - with a huge pool and located just next to the famous lagoon in the centre of town. Once the clouds cleared we realised that the hostel is located right at the base of the biggest sand dune in town, it was like paradise! With sand dunes surrounding the town we couldn’t wait to get exploring in the afternoon.
With new groups arriving each morning it has been a great opportunity to see the amazing excursions that the students get to go on each day. All groups start off with a tour of the sand dunes, on huge dune buggies that wiz around the dunes (accompanied by my screams) before driving you to the top of the dunes for some time to sandboard. Huge shout out to Jordan in MP05, who was absolutely fearless on her sandboard and managed to keep her balance even on the steepest dunes!
The students also get the chance to head even further west, reaching the Pacific ocean for a tour of the famous Paracas National Park and Ballistas Islands. Whilst on the boat tour around the islands we were lucky enough to see a lot of wildlife, including some huge male Sea Lions and their families. I had never seen Sea Lions in the wild before so that was a moment that definitely stood out for me! Once we reached the ocean it was an amazing feeling to know that we had travelled from such high altitudes in Cusco to sea level, and especially for the students to know that they had seen the mountains at Machu Picchu as well as the beaches in Peru all in the space of a few days.
The students have also been lucky enough to visit the town of “Pisco” to learn more about the famous drink that is so popular across South America. The students are given a tour to learn how the drink is distilled before being given the opportunity to taste a few samples. A few of the students have returned looking very merry… it has been great to see the students have such a great final afternoon together. Huacachina is a popular town for nightlife on the weekends, so a big shout out to the students of MP05 who hit the local disco and still managed to be up and ready for their transfers to the airport early Sunday morning!
It’s been sad to say goodbye to all of the amazing groups but it’s exciting to know that so many more students are still due to arrive into town and have such a great time. Tonight, myself and some of the students from MP06/MP07 walked to the top of one of the sand dunes to watch the sunset over town. I’m a sucker for sunsets, but think that was probably the most incredible one that i’ve ever seen! I can’t wait to take more groups to watch it.
Frankie, Machu Picchu ICO