Just 8 km away from the city of Ica, in southern Peru, lies the picturesque desert oasis of Huacachina. Built around a small natural lake and surrounded by enormous sand dunes that stretch several hundred feet high, Huacachina has the looks and feel of a remote Saharan outpost, but in reality is only an hour’s drive away from the Pacific coast. Huacachina has long been a tourist destination for wealthy local families from the nearby city of Ica, and lately a major destination for sandborders who travel from all around the world to ride the peaks.
The oasis is basically a collection of resorts and restaurants around a blue-green lagoon surrounded by huge sand dunes, with a permanent population of around 100, who depend entirely on tourism.
The oasis flourished in the 1940s and 1950s as a getaway for the Peruvian elite and regained a certain prominence through tourism promotion campaigns in the 1990s. Today it is a backpacker’s paradise and a top destination for sandboarding and dunebuggy rides. But tourism is taking its toll on the lagoon.
Groundwater consumption has caused the water level of Huacachina’s lagoon to sink sharply. For the past several years, the lagoon is fed by water from other sources to prevent it from drying up.
Called the "Oasis of America," Huacachina is one of the few remaining natural oases in North and South America.
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