Sandboarding in Huacachina

Posted on August 25, 2009 by

A magical oasis hidden amidst huge towering sand dunes, Huacachina is almost like a modern-day hideaway that few know about. Those who do swear to keep it a secret, and honestly I’m not sure what I’m doing here divulging this traveler’s secret to the world. After all, it’s a paradise that’s one in a million.

Oasis of Huacachina

There are just close to ten hostels and a few restaurants in Huacachina, perfect to get off the tourist trail. Driving from Ica, the nearby city, into Huacachina, you enter a whole new world that is completely immersed in sand. Giant sand dunes flank the road leading to the oasis, hiding the town in safety seclusion from the world. Perhaps that is how Huacachina manages to stay a secret among travelers. 

   View of the oasis atop the sand dunes

Buggy Ride  through the Dunes

Many travel agents offer buggy rides through the Huacachina sand dunes.  The ride usually lasts for 2 hours in the evening (4-6pm) and 1 hour if taken during the day. Catch sunset in the dunes during the evening rides – it’s an unforgettable experience!

Buggy ride

Alberto on his sandboardThe buggy rides not only bring you vertically up and down the giant sand dunes (those with vertigo be warned!), but also include the opportunity to sandboard. The guide/driver gives basic safety instructions on how to sandboard, and after a few minutes, you’re off surfing down steep slopes of sand! We sandboarded at least 5 times, and spent time rolling around the endless sand. We’d never been amidst this much sand except in Wadi Rum, Jordan and the sand dunes were nowhere near this!

Buggy rides are a must for all visitors to Huacachina – they’re the best way to see the oasis. They usually  cost approximately 35 soles (7euros).

Sliding up and down the dunes

    Atop the sand dunes

Hotel El Huachinero

An amazingly modern yet economical lodge, El Huachinero was recommended by friends we met in Bolivia. It was truly beyond our expectations. For 45 soles (9 euros) per person per night, we had a spacious and sparkling clean room overlooking the pool and the sand dunes. The hostel is also just steps away from the highest sand dunes.

Pool

tn_IMG_3343The hotel’s restaurant offers some of the best food we’ve had in the whole of Peru. With modern fusion cuisine on its menu, it retains the purity of Peruvian gastronomy and serves it up with a twist.

The restaurant serves daily set lunch for 20 soles (4euros) that includes an appetizer, a main dish and dessert. One of their specialties is the baked corvina (popular local fish) dipped in mashed asparagus.

Huacachina is a small town without a wide range of restaurants to choose from. The restaurant at El Huacachinero is definitely not the cheapest, but is surely the most value for money.

Restaurant at El Huacachinero

How to get there:

Huachina is just a 10 minute’s taxi ride from Ica. There are plenty of bus connections to Ica – catch a Cruz del Sur bus from Lima (3hrs).

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Huacachina is one of my favourite spots to hang out and chill after months of intensive travelling. El Huachinero is highly recommended for its low prices and excellent facilities and service. I can almost feel the sand through my feet writing this!

 

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

26 Responses to “Sandboarding in Huacachina”

  1. Deb and Dave August 25, 2009 1:11 pm #

    We loved Huachina, it was a highlight of our time in Peru. I think that we stayed at the same guest house even! Walking up that sand dune out back was tough work, but what a view! The dune buggy ride is out of this world eh? We were stopped by the police on the way out telling us that it is very dangerous but we kept on going anyway. Someone said that a tourist died a week earlier but that was never confirmed… Needless to say I was white knuckled through the whole ride thinking that we were going to tip. But we made it safe and sound and it was a blast!

  2. Yi Lin August 26, 2009 2:32 am #

    Huachina has a spot in our itinerary and we definitely plan to be there for the dunes! Do you get alot of bruises from sandboarding? We heard of a traveller who came out of Huachina rather battered!

  3. Anil August 26, 2009 7:58 pm #

    I never even knew such a thing existed. Something I've definitely got to try now. I'm not much of a snowboarder so I'll probably suck at sandboarding, but looks like fun.

  4. Deb and Dave August 31, 2009 8:47 pm #

    We are very good snowboarders and we sucked and sandboarding, so maybe you will rock at it Anil!:)

  5. Martin October 2, 2009 6:27 pm #

    chevere experience here no? … thanks u to enjoy here in the best place to do sandboarding … if you want to know more abouth this sport here is the official web site of sandboard in Peru : http://www.sandboardperu.com

  6. PatShelby October 8, 2009 2:42 am #

    I usually don’t post on Blogs but ya forced me to, great info.. excellent! … I’ll add a backlink and bookmark your site. :)

  7. PatShelby October 8, 2009 3:16 am #

    Hey very nice blog!!….I’m an instant fan, I have bookmarked you and I’ll be checking back on a regular….See ya :)

    • Nellie July 9, 2010 10:13 am #

      Thanks Pat for such kind words, see you around then!

  8. Cairns Hotels December 5, 2009 4:55 pm #

    I haven't been to huacahina but I heard a lot of good things about the place. What really interest me from looking for blogs about huacachina is because of the sandboarding that is very famous around the world.

  9. Jonathan White January 5, 2010 5:19 am #

    According to Dr Dunes Huacachina is one of the top ten sandboarding locations in the world, they even host international sandboarding events. I have yet to visit this location but the information provided in this blog has convinced me that i must visit. I wonder if its possible to do a Bedouin-esque camping experience under the stars, this has always been a dream of mine.

  10. Dustin Main July 9, 2010 11:19 am #

    Looks like a great spot and lots of good stuff to do. Never been sandboarding (or snowboarding) so I guess we'll see how that goes :)

    Should be in the area Feb 2010 or so!

  11. dnatarrtlm7 March 28, 2011 7:09 pm #

    Salut à tous,

    Pour débuter , offrez-moi la chance de vous démontrer ma gratitude pour toutes les formidables connaissances que j’ai rencontrées sur cet excellent forum.

    Je ne suis pas certaine d’être au bon endroit mais je n’en ai pas vu de meilleur.

    Je vis à Kemptville, canada . J’ai vingt-cinq ans et j’éduque 2 très gentils enfants qui sont tous âgés entre neuf et 10 années (1 est adoptée ). J’aime énormément beaucoup les animaux domestiques et je tempte de leur présenter les marchandises qui leur rendent l’existance plus splendide.

    Je vous remercie d’avance pour toutes les très pertinentes débats qui suivront et je vous remercie de votre compassion pour mon français moins que parfait: ma langue de naissance est l’arabe et je tempte de m’enseigner mais c’est très complexe !

    A bientôt

    Arthru

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