Best time to travel to Peru

Huacachina Oasis in Peru

A lake in the desert—mirage or a sheer oasis?

Best time: May–November

Huacachina Oasis
Huacachina Oasis
Huacachina Oasis

How often we use this word in figurative meaning? But finally this time it literally means an oasis—what you see in the pictures is a real lake, perfectly tucked in the middle of Atacama desert. Well, if to be more precise, not in the very middle, but quite on the edge. It lies only a few kilometres away from the city of Ica. So you may easily get there for a surreal weekend.

La Huacachina is a tiny village built around the oasis. It counts about a hundred of full-time residents, who live mainly from tourism. In spite of quite a small area, the town numbers quite enough hotels and hostels to room all the guests, it also has some restaurants, small stores, and even a library. Locals also offer to try sand boarding and sand sledding. But the main attraction is definitely the lagoon.

Unique places like that cannot go without a mystic legend, and this one has quite a lot of stories, many of which are rather sinister. For example, there once was a loving couple often walking across the desert, they were about to get married, but suddenly the groom died, and the bride cried out her eyes in the place where they loved to walk together—the tears turned into a lake...Another creepy story says there was also an evil spirit shaped into a man, who tried to rape the poor thing, so she drowned in the lake. The scariest part is yet to come: whenever the spirit of that girl feels lonely, she may choose a random guy and pull him by his ankle right to the bottom.

Huacachina is one of the last remaining oases in the North and South America and is often referred to as "the oasis of America". Unfortunately, it is threatened to soon become just a mirage. Water levels have considerably dropped over the past years. This is partially due to hot weather and hence great evaporation, but also because of increasing needs of the locals who have been digging up their private wells. Currently, some water is artificially pumped to the lake from the city, but it won't be sufficient for a long time.

So hurry up to visit Huacachina oasis, while it's still possible to do that. You can make it any time of the year, but May to November, when it's not too hot, is the best in terms of weather.

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