Huacachina, a Wonderful Desert Oasis

Today we are going on an interesting trip into the middle of the dessert. But we don’t run just into huge sand dunes and golden sand. We are going to explore the wonderful Huacachina oasis and discover all it has to offer.

Only five hours south of Lima we have discovered an oasis in the middle of the desert. And we are not talking just in a figurative way. Huacachina is a gorgeous oasis placed in the middle of a beautiful desert and well liked by tourists from all over the world. But the beautiful views and cool breeze are not the only reasons for people visiting this oasis. Huacachina is also home to an amazing adventure tour called the dune buggy and sandboarding tour. This tour is both exciting and jaw-dropping, taking tourists deep into the desert to visit and take advantage of the huge golden sand dunes. These ancient mountains of sand are a real sight for the eye and much more. The more adventurous travelers are welcome to try sandboarding down these beautiful dunes.

What is Huacachina?

Huacachina is a desert oasis located in the South of Peru. The closest city is a small coastal town by the name of Ica which can be reached in only 10 minutes. This oasis is basically a small lagoon surrounded by leafy palm trees and gigantic sand dunes.

In the 1940’s, the oasis had a burst of popularity due to being used as a beauty spa by the wealthy Peruvians in Lima. These people thought that the waters in this lagoon had healing powers and so, many people came here to soothe and heal their bodies and skin. Because of the increasing number of visitors, hotels were built in order to accommodate the guests and offer other services they would need.

Unfortunately, in the 1950s, due to an unknown event, this oasis lost its appeal and was abandoned, loosing business and being slowly forgotten.

In the 1990s however, a few businessmen came up with the idea to offer tourists the chance to explore the surrounding sand dunes in a 4-wheel-drive dune buggy. This idea caught very quickly and travelers transformed this into a successful business by taking advantage of the rare and enjoyable experience. Not long after, a few young Peruvians discovered that the giant sand dunes were a perfect location to practice the exciting sport of sandboarding.

Today, Huacachina is a popular tourist destination perfect for both young and old, rich and poor, foreigners and locals and men and women. All visitors come together to enjoy this beautiful desert escape, to explore these wonderful sand dunes in a buggy tour and practice the new and exciting sport of sandboarding down the huge desert dunes.

What is there to do in Huacachina?

The main activity available in the region and the most popular with the tourists is the Dune Buggy and Sandboarding Tour. This tour consists of being driven through the wonderful desert sand dunes in a dune buggy. The dune buggy is an interesting vehicle which looks like from a SCI-FI movie and due to being open you can observe all the details of the beautiful sand dunes, The tour of course ends with you trying the sport of sandboarding which is exciting and fun at the same time. For first timers, the sport of sandboarding can be a bit of a challenge. Many have come up with the solution of lying flat on their stomachs and using the sand board as a sled. This method is fast and fun, offering those who with to give it a try but are not that experimented a fair chance at it.

This tour can be taken as part of a group or as a private tour for those who prefer it. The public tour usually takes place three times a day, at 10 AM, 1 PM and 4 PM. The best tour to get on is the 4 PM tour due to the temperature in the desert being the most enjoyable and due to the tour lasting an entire 45 minutes longer than the previous ones. When it comes to tours, many travelers are also attracted of the Ballestas Islands Boat Tour, which is another great half-day tour of the marine wildlife reserve near the village of Paracas.

For those who wish to explore more of the surroundings, there are a number of wineries and pisco-producing factories, which serve as the basis for the Winery and Pisco Tour, just a few minutes away from Huacachina. This is a popular tour among visitors who wish to learn about how Peruvians make the sweet red wine that this region is famous for. Pisco is a potent grape brandy that is recognized as the national drink of Peru and any first time visitor is invited to taste it.

There is also a small but attractive Archaeology Museum filled with local ancient artifacts and even mummies from the local area. Two hours south of Huacachina tourists can visit the Nazca Pampa. This is a famous piece of desert where ancient tribes used to scrape gigantic figures into the desert floor. These Nazca Lines have become world-famous due to their mysterious and curious history.

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Hotels and Hostels

Being a very popular tourist destination, the hotel industry has developed inside this oasis and today tourists and locals have many hotels to choose from. The major advantage of staying right in the oasis is that this is the major point of action. All the surrounding tours start from this point and the main activity points are situated just a few minutes away. Another major advantage would be that by staying here you get to meet and make friends with all the other tourists a lot faster. You will be able to schedule tours together or even practice sandboard with the others.