Huacachina is a much-visited stop on the Gringo-trail of Peru. Rightly so, because even though it’s a small town in the middle of literally nowhere, it’s a great place for adventure junkies. Today I can tell you that the not-so-adventurous souls can also have a lot of fun in this vast and beautiful sand desert.
What makes Huacachina, a small desert oasis, so bizarre is that I visited it on the same day as the Islas Ballestas in Paracas. These two landscapes are in such sharp contrast with each other that it’s actually ridiculous you can visit both in a day. Welcome to Peru!
The town itself is quite small, so apart from chilling at the desert lagoon ringed by palm trees and enjoying food and drinks at the many backpacker establishments, there’s not much to do here.
The place where you can find most of the fun is in the sand dunes surrounding the town. There are plenty of options here, you could opt for a hike to the sand dune overlooking the town. Or you could do as I did and join a dune buggy tour.
I had done a similar tour in Abu Dhabi years ago. I didn’t think this experience would be very different, but I found out it was even better than before! We didn’t take a jeep. We had a buggy, which exposed us to all the elements; the sun, the sand, the wind. This made the experience even more exhilarating.
I tried to capture the moments I saw the ground disappear from under us, but it was very heard to do.
This tour can also include sandboarding (ours did), but I decided not to take part. I can be a bit of a scaredy-cat and going head down off a high sand dune is something that scares the hell out of me. I don’t regret not going down the hill. Almost everyone in my group took part and no one was hurt, but when I read Co’s story about how she was hurt during her attempt at boarding; I have to say I sighed with relief. I might do something similar one day, but that didn’t feel like the time and place to do it.
What I enjoyed much more was the photostop overlooking the oasis city. A great moment to sit and savor Peru’s diversity and beauty.
It was a fun-filled adventurous afternoon, which concluded my very short visit to Huacachina.
How to get there?
I reached Huacachina by tour bus. The Lonely Planet mentions that you can only reach Huacachina by taxi from Ica. I think you could also book tours in Paracas or other cities. On a side note, I wouldn’t want to stay in the town. It’s so incredibly small and isolated that I felt a bit claustrophobi after only a few hours roaming around. The activities are too good to be missed though.
What a country! Luckily, even though there’s an almost perpetual mist hanging over the west coast from Lima to Paracas when you reach Huacachina that mist will disappear. I didn’t believe it when our travel guide told us, but I literally saw the clouds and fog clear up with my own eyes. From this moment on, I only saw sunshine while travelling through Peru. Huacachina literally brought some sunshine to my trip for me.