Huacachina is a village in southwestern Peru, built around a small oasis surrounded by sand dunes. It is in the Ica Province, about five kilometers the city of Ica in the Ica District. The oasis features on the back of the 50 Nuevo Sol note. Huacachina has a permanent population of around 100 although it hosts many tens of thousands of tourists each year.
Huacachina is built around a small natural lake in the desert. Called the "oasis of America," it serves as a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica, and increasingly as an attraction for tourists drawn by the sports of sandboarding and taking dune buggy rides on sand dunes that stretch several hundred feet high.
Legend holds that the lagoon was created when a beautiful native princess was apprehended at her bath by a young hunter. She fled, leaving the pool of water she had been bathing in to become the lagoon. The folds of her mantle, streaming behind her as she ran, became the surrounding sand dunes. And the woman herself is rumored to still live in the oasis as a mermaid.
Private landowners near the oasis have installed wells, which has reduced the level of water in the oasis. To compensate for this water loss, and preserve the oasis as an aesthetically pleasing destination for tourists, the city began a process of artificially pumping water into the oasis.
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