After 4 days staying in this magical desert oasis, I'm pretty confidence to tell what I know about this town . This is a complete guide to this place, including what to do, where to eat, where to stay, how to get there and even where to workout (GYM).
Overview about Huacachina
Huacachina is a village built around a small oasis and surrounded by sand dunes in the Ica desert , about 4 hours away from Lima. Huacachina is built around a small natural lake in the desert. Called the "Oasis of America, "but what I heard about the lagoon is that since 2015 they have started pumping water into it, so it's no longer natural.
Huacachina is popular for Peruvians who come for the weekends to enjoy a bit of get-away from the chaotic city life and it’s also a popular stop-off for travelers who want to visit Paracas, Nazca or Arequipa on their way.
What to do in Huacachina
Because of the location and the landscape, Huacachina is one of the famous places for adventures and activities involving sand!
Here is what I did and what I know.
Sand boarding, which cost from 25-150 soles (depends on with tour or not).
Huacachina is one of the best places in the world to try this adventure sport based on the steep dunes that provide natural slopes over a hundred meters high.
I had ZERO experience with sandboarding, snowboarding or skiing, whatsoever. But I had tons of fun with my very first sandboarding experience and my instructor ---Gerson was very professional and patient.
So, I warmly recommend him to everyone, Peruvian Sand Adventure (2 hours but I think it’s longer than that and Gerson really takes his time to give you the best experience, thanks to Gerson!). It costs 120 soles and compared to other agencies’ offers you might think about it is a bit more expensive than others but trust me, they have the best equipment in the town, including high quality go pro photos, videos and even drone videos, the best sunset spot without sharing with other buggy tours and the most important thing is the best lesson! I truly fell in love with this sport and I am thinking of doing it more often in the future.
If you are experienced, then there is a CHEAPER way to do it by yourself, renting a snowboard is around 25-35 soles depending on the board and where you rent. There are tons of agencies you can ask and don’t forget to check out the boards before you rent, and I still highly recommended to get your board with Peruvian Sand Adventure. They have all you need , even skiing equipment (if you are good at skiing then don’t miss out, I heard it’s amazingly fun, Super fast) with fair price. After you get your board then you can just hike up to wherever you feel like it and then start! Have fun!
Take a Sand dune buggy ride, Normally it costs 25soles, 1 hr
It's a package that includes a Sand buggy ride (if you like bumpy rides, don’t forget to reserve the rare seats, otherwise front seats will be the smoothest), sunset watching and sand bodyboarding (where you lay on the board), and it's super cheap and totally worth it! You will have A LOT of fun if your buggy driver is experienced and will definitely do it again if I visit Huacachina again.
Hike a sand dune for sunset or sunrise, Cost FREE
There are a lot of sand dunes around the town you can hike up to and they have some clear tracks you can follow along, so don’t worry about getting lost. I visited Huacachina in end of May. The sunrise was around 6:00 AM and the weather was a bit chilly in the mornings and the nights. It was really windy and sandy when I hiked up for sunrise, so I couldn’t open my eyes most of the time. Be sure to prepare a jacket and sunglasses. They might help.
Relax and explore the town or go to Ica city, Cost FREE ~ 6 Soles
You might have just arrived in town after a long trip and want to take it slow and relax. Well, there are many ways you can choose to relax and unwind.
You can visit a spa, have a drink nearby the lagoon, stroll around the lagoon, or go for a dip in the pool.
Or, take a 5~6 Soles tuktuk to Ica city to check out the town which is full of tuktuks (MotoTaxi).
Others I didn’t go to but they are very popular in this area
- Visit Tacama Winery to know how they harvests grapes in the midst of the desert and taste their wines and Pisco
- Take a day tour to Paracas National Reserve to see the marine ecosystems, archaeological sites and stunning ocean scenery
- Fly Over Nazca Lines to see the large mystery ancient drawings in the desert landscape by private plane (Cost 100USD/person)
- Take a hiking tour to The Lost Canyon which is 70km away from Ica. They don’t have direct public transportation to there, so tour is defiantly worth it. As far as I know it’s a whole day hike (start around 6:30 AM till 2:00 PM), costs 80 soles including a guide, transportation and lunch.
- AND MORE, they are tons of agencies, so take your time to walk around and ask to get the best deals and to get information on other places to visit.
Where to stay in Huacachina
I highly recommend to stay in the accommodations inside of the oasis instead of Ica city (Trust me, you wouldn't enjoy the city that much and it isn’t far away from the oasis which is a 5-6 soles tuktuk ride). There are plenty of hostels and hotels to suit any traveler’s taste. You can check them out on booking to find your favorite, or read my recommendation below.
Ecocamp Huacachina Cost from 50-160 soles
It’s not expensive campground with private double-bed huts (spacious), a swimming pool, a swim-up bar and a beautiful landscape around! As a backpacker that's the best time to treat yourself a little bit nicer without spending a lot of money. It’s a tiny bit expensive compared to typical hostels but trust me it’s worth it.
Where to eat in Huacachina
After staying in this town for 4 days, I think I can give you some tips about where to eat.
- I don’t remember the name --- A restaurant with good ceviche. As a ceviche lover, I always am looking for Ceviche in different places and countries. And for the best place to eat ceviche in Huacachina, I will highly recommend you this tiny restaurant next to the lagoon. I couldn’t find it on google maps but it's easy to find when you're there. It is just right next to the lagoon and here is a photo of the restaurants so you can just ask people.
- Huacafuckingchina Restobar--- A restaurant with good burgers, lovely service, a second floor with nice lagoon view. The burger Sand and lake is our favorite. Please send my hi to Anna and Javier if you do visit it.
- Restaurant Oasis de América —— A restaurant with good boiled camote (Sweet potatos). They boil them in different way and made them taste a bit sour and sweet - very interesting.
Gym in Huacachina
For us, working out is one our favorite things so we’ve been trying to find gyms in different places and countries and sometimes it's a challenge to find a gym, especially during the pandemic.
Luckily we found one — GIMNASIO OLYMPIA which is opened right now and not too far from Huacachina (around 15mins walk from the Ecocamp). It Cost 10 Soles for Day Pass.
ATM in Huacachina
There is only one public ATM in Huacachina. While you can pay with a card in most places, consider withdrawing some Peruvian cash as a backup before you arrive in the village or you can try it in Ica city. If you do go to Ica city then try BCP (Banco de Crédito del Perú) which has the least fee and allows you withdraw up 700 Soles.
How to get to Huacachina
Huacachina is about 10 minutes’ drive from the city of Ica, 12 hours away from Arquipa and it’s on the main tourist route between Lima and Cusco,
The cheapest and easiest way to travel to Huacachina is by bus. From Lima, the journey by road is a little over 4 hours, while from Cusco it’s a bit more than a 18-hour overnighter bus trip (It was longer than an 18 hours bus ride when we took it).
We travelled with Cruz Del Sur from Lima to Ica, which cost us 50 Soles each (Price might change - we saw it was only 20 Soles in 2019 on another blog) from Lima. We found it is one of the best bus companies in Peru and even in most of the Latin American countries I've been. Its buses are large, comfortable and spacious, and its safety record is excellent.
Cruz Del Sur stops at Ica on its main route along the Peruvian tourist trail. If you do arrive via Ica, you can take a taxi from the city bus terminal into Huacachina for around 15 Soles or a Tuktuk for around 7 Soles.
Thank you so much for reading and enjoy your trip to Huacachina!
If you have any questions or any thoughts , welcome to leave a comment down below ^-^.