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These Gorgeous Desert Oases Aren’t Just A Mirage

There’s something fascinating about water appearing in the middle of dry sand. All these stunning oases exist naturally, and all have their own story to tell. 

Huacachina, Peru


Leslie Durso

It’s one of the driest and most barren places in the world, but this tiny town thrives in the middle of the Peruvian desert. There are about 100 people living in this green oasis. The town is laid out around the natural lagoon, and exists in the middle of nothing. Tourists come here for sand boarding, dune buggy-riding, and the amazing natural scenery.

Las Vegas, NV


Stuart Dee/Photographer’s Choice/Getty Images

It’s easy to forget that Las Vegas started its life as a desert oasis. Natural springs feed the Las Vegas valley fresh water in the midst of the Mojave Desert. People have been living here for 10,000 years, but Las Vegas didn’t really get going until the railroad came in 1905. For over a century, this desert oasis has been drawing thirsty visitors from all over the world. Most of them are not coming to drink the spring water, however.

Dakhla Oasis, Egypt




There are more than 500 hot springs in Egypt’s Dakhla Oasis. It looks exactly like a Hollywood oasis, with pretty palm trees surrounding mud-brick homes. Ancient Romans once built here, and in medieval times the town was fortified against Bedouin raiders.

Pica, Chile



Pica is in the middle of the desert, but it has a thriving citrus farming community. The town is also famous for its pastry. Pica was founded in 1700, and it’s popular among tourists for the swimming. The warm waters are a great way to beat the desert heat.

Liwa Oasis, UAE


Next Trip Tourism

To get a street view of the Liwa Oasis, Google mounted a camera on a camel’s hump. That’s the best way to get to the oasis—by camel. It’s southwest of Abu Dhabi and surrounded by the Rub’ Al Khali desert on all sides.

Gafsa Beach Oasis, Tunisia



This may be the newest oasis in the world. This blue lagoon appeared suddenly in the iddle of the desert in 2014. It’s being called Gafsa Beach, and it has become a popular swimming spot for locals. However, scientists fear the waters may be carcinogenic or otherwise dangerous.

San Ignacio, Mexico


Crop Cycle

The Baja desert is a barren wasteland of sand all around San Ignacio. It’s a beautiful natural oasis surrounded by palm and citrus trees. They were planted by Jesuits who built a mission here in 1728.

Garmeh, Iran


City 1 Themes

Once, Garmeh was a stop on the historic Silk Road. Today it’s a small village buried in the trees that surround the oasis.

Ghat, Libya


Dario Sartini/Hemera/Getty Images

The natural spring water in Ghat is strictly regulated. After all, it is the desert. This town is on the ancient caravan route that cuts through the Sahara. More than 20,000 people live in this oasis town.

Abraham’s Oasis, Iraq


Geographic Travels

Between the cities of Hit and Haditha, you’ll find Abraham’s Oasis. It’s an ancient place with roots in Jewish, Islamic, Christian, and Samaritan history. Abraham, of Biblical fame, is said to have visited this oasis while he was going to the Holy Land. It was cleaned up by the U.S. Marine Corps in 2006 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Currently, it is being guarded by the Iraqi Army. If you visit, you must be guided by a chaplain.



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