This tiny oasis in the Ica desert is a stop on most backpackers’ itineraries when heading south. The town consists of a handful of hostels, restaurants and artisan stands. Here’s what to do in Huacachina.
There really isn’t much to do in Huacachina itself aside from relaxing on a hammock and drinking pisco sours. Doesn’t sound bad, does it?
Ica is also a good stopping point between Lima (check out our article on Lima, here) and Cusco for many travelers. But there’s another reason why this place attracts so many people: and that’s to go sandboarding.
This was my second experience sandboarding in Huacachina, and it was much different than the first. We stayed at the same hostel, took the same dune buggy, and even saw the same driver I had back in 2016. The difference was in the size of the dunes.
Two years previous, the dunes they took us on were massive. In fact, my friend and I both sprained our wrists, another friend broke her foot, and a guy in our group blew out his knee. If you were about to embark on something this dangerous in America (or in many other countries), you would at least have to sign a waiver.
But here in Peru they just took our money, then we buckled our makeshift seatbelts on the dune buggy and headed off on a crazy ride.
I was a bit apprehensive as we headed into the sandy horizon. I was imagining hiking the Inca Trail with a broken foot, but to my relief, the first dune was much smaller than my last time there.
Ben and I both waxed our boards and strapped our feet into the Velcro “bindings” – if you can call them that – and rode down the hill. We went to several dunes, which got progressively bigger – but nowhere compared to the mountains during my first time there. (I did hear rumors that there were several injuries and they eventually had to start bringing tourists to smaller dunes.)
Regardless, we still had a blast, and came away from the experience injury-free – albeit a bit sandy!
Where to Stay in Huacachina:
Banana’s Adventure – One of the only reasonable hotels in Huacachina when we stayed there, Banana’s Adventure can hook you up with the dune buggy ride and sandboarding. They have an outdoor pool and a tiki hut bar which hosts once a week BBQ nights.
This article was originally published on the blog Two Wandering Soles.
Cover photo: Amaraphotos.com