Huacachina, from Quechua wakachina, meaning 'hidden lagoon', is a village in southwestern Peru built around a small natural desert lake surrounded by sand dunes. It is commonly referred to as the "oasis of America.”  Legend holds that the lagoon was created when a beautiful native princess removed her clothes to bathe, but after looking in a mirror she saw a male hunter approaching her from behind. Startled at the intrusion, she fled the area leaving behind her mirror which turned into a lake. Other versions hold that 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. The woman herself is rumored to still live in the oasis as a mermaid. Many believe that the water and mud of the area is therapeutic. Both locals and tourists often bathe in the waters or cover themselves with the mud in an attempt to cure ailments such as arthritis, rheumatism, asthma and bronchitis.