Huacachina, 5 hours south of Lima, is a tiny desert oasis nestled between massive sand dunes. A small lagoon surrounded by palm trees is the centrepiece of the oasis. When I first saw photos of it, I couldn’t believe it really existed…but it’s real and it’s beautiful!
The main attraction here is sandboarding on the huge dunes surrounding the town. There are several tour operators in town which offer dune buggy + sandboarding tours in the late afternoon. The buggies are hand built beasts with roaring engines that can take on the dunes at high speed. On the dunes, riding in one feels a bit like a roller coaster, especially when you go over the edge of a really steep dune and plunge down while the driver puts his hands up in the air and looks back at you! And be sure to hold onto your hat or don’t bring one at all, I lost mine to the dunes…
For the sandboarding, you can either pay extra to hire proper snowboards with boots and bindings, or go with the standard wooden plank. I’m not a snowboarder so I went with the plank. We did some stand-up sandboarding on a small dune for practice but once we got to the really big ones we rode down on our bellies. Even though I was trying to keep a moderate speed I reckon I still hit about 40-50kph while soaring down the slope!
As for the town, it is super chill. Most hostels/hotels have pools and hammocks to lounge in and dogs to play with. One hostel in particular (Carola del Sur) practically had a zoo of animals to play with. My favourites were the baby sheep and the huge dog which it thought was its mother and followed around all day. So adorable!
For food and drink, my favourite place to eat was Desert Nights. The omelette with everything is amazing. I also had dinner there one night and we all agreed that the food was great, but a bit pricey. There are several bars as well, but I would avoid getting any cocktails at Huacafuckingchina. We had mojitos there but they were absolutely horrible. Even after adding more sugar and lime, they were still undrinkable. After the mojito incident, we avoided that place like the plague.
Practical Info Buses from Lima to Ica take about 5 hours on a direct bus and cost around S/30. Once in Ica, you need to take a taxi to get to Huacachina. The fare is around S/7. There’s one ATM in Huacachina, but it charges S/14.5 per transaction which wasn’t a problem for me since I have an awesome bank card but it was an issue for just about everyone else. Buggy + sandboarding tours run from S/40. Dorms from S/25.
Have you been to Huacachina? What did you think of the place?