Moving right on along in my South American adventure… I stopped at a respite for a couple days of absolute joy in the sandy dunes of Huacachina, Peru. As the blog title suggests, Huacachina is a real-life, actual desert oasis. The small lake surrounded by mountains of sand as far as the eye can see, attracts people looking for a short and fun getaway.
I have embedded another fun video at the end of this post. And of course, lots of bright photos to entice your wanderlusting eyes.
If you are the sort of tourists that hates “touristy” places, Huacachina is not for you. The small village is only home to about 100 people who service the oasis’s visitor population year round.
This is a place to enjoy a day or two of sunshine, a vivacious nightlife, and of course, fun in the sand. Sand activities include the death-defying dune buggies, sand boarding, sand skiing, trekking up the dunes, quad bikes, building sand castles… and on and on… You can also rent row boats or swim in the lake (although I thought the water was kind of gross). This place is lovely for families with kids of all ages, friends looking to get their party on, or romantic getaways.
It’s hard to be unhappy in Huacachina. Looking around at the tourists, I couldn’t find anyone that wasn’t having a great time! It kind of warms you from the inside out to be surrounded by smiling faces.
If you are visiting on a backpackers budget, Huacachina is challenging. There are a handful of hotels and hostels, but the costs run higher than what you may be used to paying in Peru. For cheaper accommodations, it is possible to stay in the city of Ica and take inexpensive cab rides 5-20 minutes away from Huacachina.
The most famous activity for visitors at Huacachina is taking a ride in a dune buggy. Half way through, in the middle of the desert dunes you stop for a brief chance to sand board. I honestly did not know what I was getting myself into. Sand boarding sounded fun, “sign me up”. I did not know that the dune buggy was going to be so terrifying.
It was a lot of fun, and something that thrill seekers will love. I am glad I did it, but once was was enough for me! I have never been into roller coasters, and this was kind of like a roller coaster, but with less control and fewer safety measures. My video at the bottom gives some idea of that.
Dune Climb For Sunset
Another popular way to enjoy the oasis is to climb to the rim of any of of Huacachina’s surrounding dunes. From above, you get incredible views of the entire village and lake on one side. And on the other side there are mountains of sand that seem endless. The natural colors created by the sunset and shadows in the sand are stunning (you know I’m into that stuff)!