It looks like a mirage but it is not. A coveted tourist destination in the heart of the desert: where is it?
THE OASIS in the DESERT created by a MERMAID
After a long and tiring day of work, seeing a hot focaccia or a plate of pasta can truly be like seeing the mirage of an oasis in the desert. Oases are a truly rare phenomenon: where aridity is king, vegetation can grow, but they do not exist only in the imagination of the Bedouins.
In the world there are few, very few oases that can be visited and among these stand out the oasis of erg: so are called oases that form between the sand dunes. Today we will go to the discovery of one of the most beautiful oases in the world, Huacachina, behind which hovers a fascinating legend.
# A sought-after tourist destination in the heart of the desert: 100 inhabitants live there
The Huacachina oasis is nestled in the Peruvian desert of Atacama, in the province of Ica. Not only is it not a mirage, it is also a popular tourist destination for lovers of sandboarding, the brother of snowboarding but on the sand. Apart from tourists, the town of the same name has been created on the edge of the natural lake, with approximately 100 inhabitants.
Throughout the year, the town attracts tourists for sports and is a favorite stop for backpackers who cross Peru. Indeed, an oasis created naturally between sand dunes is an unmissable phenomenon and even wealthy Peruvian families, during the 40s-50s, used Huacachina as a holiday resort to benefit from the therapeutic properties of the water.
# But beware: the Oasis of America is drying up
Since the 90s, the oasis, which for its uniqueness is called the Oasis of America, has been subject to strong tourism promotion that has led it to be the popular destination it is today. The villagers now live of tourism thanks to the hotels and restaurants that have been built on the shores of the lagoon.
However, being a natural lake in the desert (therefore rather against nature), the lagoon is slowly drying up: if it were not for the use of external sources, the waters of the oasis would have dried completely and this is due to the consumption of water from the water table.
# A festival celebrates the mermaid princess who created the lagoon
The Oasis of America is undoubtedly a place to be preserved, both because it has been declared a cultural heritage of the country but also because it remains today among the few oases in the entire American continent. If you want to go to Huacachina, you have to go prepared as there is no water and the situation is quite critical, but it is undoubtedly worth it … especially during the Mermaid Festival.
The legend tells that the creation of the lagoon was not accidental, but that there was the hand of a princess. The latter was pausing in front of a small pool of water when a hunter arrived. The princess realized that the man didn’t have good intentions and so she decided to escape, turning the pool into a large lake, her clothes became sand and she herself took on the shape of a mermaid and dived into the waters of the oasis. Even today, the locals claim that the mermaid princess continues to live in Lake Huacachina, protecting the town.