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.
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.
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!
The 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).
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.
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.
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).
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!