The Huacachina Oasis in Perú has emerald green waters. Some studies have discovered that it arose due to the outcrop of underground currents and around it an abundant vegetation composed of palm trees, eucalyptus trees and the typical guarangos has appeared, which serve for the rest of the migratory birds that pass through this region. All this contributes to making Huacachina Oasis in Perú one of the most colorful and beautiful places on the Peruvian coast.
It is the main pride of the city of Ica, its high dunes have always challenged visitors and residents, who have established as a typical activity of the place sliding on them on pieces of wood, surfboards and even water skis. The visitor can camp, practice board on sand or sandboard, rent tubular carts for dunes, go trekking along the lagoon and there are people who take a dip in its waters.
Ica is located 300 km from Lima and the Huacachina lagoon 5 km or 10 minutes by car. The access route from Lima to Ica goes by buses that leave the station every ten minutes, and it takes just four hours to arrive on the Panamericana Sur highway. By car the route can be done in less time, taking advantage of the good condition of the road. A 4 × 4 truck will allow you to better face the sand challenges of the area.
The area where the lagoon is located is totally desert. The only existing vegetation is the one that surrounds the lagoon, for this reason it is called the Oasis of America because it is the only place with these exact characteristics.
Huacachina Oasis in Perú
Huacachina is located in the Ica desert, 350 km south of Lima. It is a charming town built around a natural oasis. It is made up of a collection of resorts and restaurants around an emerald lake, surrounded by huge sand dunes.
According to tradition, its waters had healing properties; Therefore, in 1940, Huacachina became a popular spa. Today, although its population is around 100 people, it is a tourist destination of great interest for national and international tourists. In the town you will also find some small souvenir shops and local products, many hotels and hostels with varied prices, as well as various places to eat.
When to travel
During the summer its charms shine more, but in fact any time of the year is good to visit the lagoon, rest in its large hotel complexes or explore the dunes. The busiest season is the grape harvest, between February and March, when the so-called Harvest Festival is organized.
What to do in the Huacachina Oasis in Perú?
The main attractions of the city are the sandboard and sand cart rides. Both of these activities are best done as part of a Buggie and Sandboarding Adventure Tour. There are numerous accredited agencies in Huacachina that offer these tours.
Buggy rides: sandbox tour
They are considered by many to be the most exciting activity in Sand Dunes in Huacachina. Fans of adventure sports and roller coasters will find that taking a Sand Dunes ride in Huacachina is an essential component of a trip to southern Peru. Most of the hotels and hostels in Huacachina offer these tours, usually between 30 and 45 soles. Most of the excursions in Sand Dunes in Huacachina last two hours, which include approximately one hour of boarding in the sand.
Between 4 and 4:30 p.m. m., is probably the best time of day to go on a buggy ride, as the sun is bright enough to illuminate the landscape but without causing sunburn. Sometimes drivers will take passengers to the observation points to catch a glimpse of the beautiful desert sunset.
Sandboarding in Huacachina
Similar to snowboarding, except that it is practiced on sand instead of snow. Normally Buggy rides tours include a stop to practice sandboarding in Huacachina, but you can also rent a board on the streets for a few soles.
Going down a dune sliding on the sand brings an incredible sensation. If you are not very experienced, it is a good idea to ride the sandboarding in Huacachina as if it were a sled, face down on your stomach. This allows a very simple and very fast descent through the dunes.
How to get to Huacachina?
To get to Huacachina, you must travel to the city of Ica, and since there are no flights to the city, you must travel by private car or travel by bus, then you must take a taxi to the oasis. If you are traveling from Lima, we recommend you do it in the direct services offered by the companies Cruz del Sur and Oltursa; You also have as an option the VIP service of Peru Bus, and the standard service of Soyus, the latter the least recommended for making countless stops en route, delaying the trip.
Taxis to Huacachina cost between 5 and 10 soles, depending on the place of departure and the visiting hours; Depending on the traffic, you reach the oasis in 10 or 15 minutes.
How long is the trip to Huacachina?
- From the center of the city of Ica, you arrive in 10 minutes by car / taxi.
- From Paracas you arrive at Huacachina in 01 hour of travel heading south, traveling by car / bus.
- From Nazca you arrive in 02 hours of travel heading north.
- From Lima, the Peruvian capital, you arrive in 04 and a half hours by bus.
- From Cusco you arrive in 15 hours by bus.
- Use a lot of sunscreen; the sun is very strong and can damage your skin.
- The wind carries a lot of sand that can get into the eyes and mouth. This is why it is important to wear sunglasses.
- Keep in mind that the buggy ride resembles a roller coaster. Drivers often do various stunts in the arena, so being prepared is critical.
- If you do not have experience in sandboarding, do not practice standing up, as you could hurt yourself. If you are serious about this sport, you should go to one of the agencies and purchase a suitable board; otherwise you will find standard homemade plywood boards.
- Do not bring your phone as it is easy to lose it in the sand.
- You can also rent paddle boats or pedal boats to explore the lagoon. It is possible to swim in it, although the water is not particularly clean, so caution is advised. Many hotels and hostels in the area also offer swimming pools.
- Near the entrance to Huacachina you will find several kiosks. Some sell souvenirs, jewelry, T-shirts and other tourist objects. Other stores offer tasty jams made from fruits in the area (such as mangoes, figs, or soursop) and some famous Ica liqueurs such as pisco and wine.
- The only ATM in the city is in the Huacachinero hostel. Many places in Huacachina accept Visa and Mastercard, but it is better to ask beforehand. Ica, located a few kilometers away, has a series of ATMs and money changers that will convert your dollars into soles and vice versa in exchange for a small commission.
Where to eat and drink?
There are many restaurants around the city and one of the best options is Desert Nights Youth, located on the Huacachina boulevard. This is a hostel but it also has a restaurant where they serve excellent food and drinks that you can enjoy with an incredible view of the lagoon.
La Casa de Avinoam, the restaurant located in the Hostal Carola del Sur, has delicious thin crust pizzas. Prices range from 20 soles for a personal pizza to 50 soles for a large family-size pizza.
For those looking for tasty foreign food, head to La Casa de Bamboo, located on a small lot between Carola del Sur and Hosteria Suiza. There they serve a tasty Thai curry, an exquisite falafel (popular with Arab and Israeli travelers), as well as other foreign and Peruvian dishes.