Admittedly, I learned about this oasis in the desert of Peru on Instagram. Cool photos of this tiny speck of green among a sea of sand sparked my intrigue, and after spending over a week in the concrete jungle of Lima, I was excited to get out of the city. Huacachina is the perfect weekend trip from Lima, don’t forget to pack your camera when you go.
From Lima, it’s an easy 3-hour bus ride down the coast to Ica, the primary city on the edge of Huacachina. The bus company is Cruz del Sur and you can buy tickets beforehand on their website or the day of in person at the bus station in Lima. Bus tickets cost about $15 each way, but this could depend on when you decide to go. The buses are comfortable and come with a snack and drinks, and there is a bathroom onboard.
Don’t forget your passport to book a bus ticket. I did, and this resulted in us having to Uber back to our apartment in Lima traffic, which left me quite grumpy in the morning. The bus ride, however, was pretty painless – no winding mountain roads. Even though I usually get quite carsick, I didn’t have any problems on this journey.
This hostel was awesome. Not only did it have a great restaurant with amazing food and a pool, but it also included an excursion out on the sand dunes in the reservation. We had no idea until showing up that this was the case, a pleasant surprise that we didn’t have to book separately.
The private rooms were like simple hotel rooms, perfect for relaxing for one night. It also included breakfast, with several different options to choose from. Considering there isn’t a lot to do in Huacachina, booking a nice accommodation is definitely worth it. It’s right next to the lagoon and is perfect if you want to sit in a hammock and relax or soak up the sun by the pool.
Dune Buggy & Sandboarding
On our first day, we booked our Dune Buggy ride which included sandboarding and left at 5pm. It was the perfect time to go – we flew over the dunes in daylight, and then got to watch a beautiful sunset from the top of the sand. It was an evening that was both thrilling and unforgettable. While I was terrified the entire time, thankfully we didn’t die and it was one of the most memorable activities I’ve done in Peru.
Sand Dune Walks
After flying around and over the sand on the sketchy dune buggy, bouncing and screaming the whole time, we enjoyed the sunset and walked around the dunes. We also went for a walk in the sunshine the next morning up a dune, to snap all the amazing photos of the oasis.
Walking up sand dunes will give your entire legs and butt quite the workout. I’d recommend taking off your shoes for some barefoot fun, but just be wary that there could be garbage or sharp objects. Unfortunately, we did see some trash blowing around the dunes. I tried to pick up what I could, but it’s a real shame that this happens because there’s no way for anything to break down, and it spoils the pristine look of the sand. If you want to do your part when visiting Huacachina, bring a bag with you to collect empty bottles and other rubbish to dispose of properly.
In all honesty, there’s not that much to do in Huacachina or Ica. You can walk around the oasis lagoon within 20 minutes, most of the restaurants are carbon-copy tourist joints, and the best activity to enjoy is a dune buggy ride on the sand. After one, you’ll have your adrenaline rush quota fulfilled, that’s for sure! One night spent here is enough, you’ll get to see and experience it all in this amount of time.
Is Huacachina on your bucket list? Leave a comment if you’ve been or are planning to go!