Huacachina – an oasis in the middle of the desert. A lake surrounded just by two streets and couple of houses, just 10 min driving from Ica. Almost every days sunny and dry weather – Huacachina is really a place where you can loose yourself for couple of days. Just ten years ago you could find only 12 hostels here, now the place exists almost solely of hostels, hotels and restaurant, similar to Aguas Caliente or other touristic places in Peru. The name of our hostel was Banana`s Adventures. With 80 Soles per night for mixed 6-bed dorm room its seemed quite expensive first, however it already included an activity: sand dunes -buggy/ sandboarding tour, BBQ-dinner or Ica city tour. We have of course decided for the first option – the dunes – buggy /sandboarding tour, a reason why most of the backpackers and tourists come to this place. The hostel was really lovely, with a cool pool, nice atmosphere and a bar where different cocktails and delicious dishes were served right next to it. The warm weather and lying next to pool felt really good after spending one month in the cold mountains.
As the oasis is really small, you can walk around the lake in the center just within couple of minutes. If you find time and energy, you should definitely climb the sand dunes surrounding Huacachina to see the oasis from above during the day if you want to get the typical postcard pictures as the dunes buggies will most probably not stop there during the tour and if yes, you will have only limited time to take the pictures. We bought some cold beers before, climbed the san dunes within 15-20 minutes and enjoyed the view from above.
However, as mentioned before, the sand buggy and sandboarding in the dunes are the main activity here. I would recommend to do the tour in the afternoon around 4 or 5 pm as the weather is not as hot at the afternoon and you can see the sunset later in the evening. Driving with the sand buggies is really a lots of fun! I haven´t realized how fast these small dunes cars can actually get! Sometimes I had the impression sitting more in a rollercoaster than a dune buggy. After 10 minutes driving the buggies stopped and we had some time to practice sandboarding on a small sand dune. However, do not expect professional sandboarding equipment. If you want some better boards you have to pay more in advance (around 25 Soles). If you know how to snowboard and surf, don’t worry, sandboarding is still a completely different feeling and you will fall exactly the same as the others as soon as you will start to try to carve in the sand. Still, it`s a lot of fun and maybe after a while you will manage to stand on board until the end of the track or even on bigger sand dunes. We had around one hour to practice sandboarding, first on smaller, later on bigger sand dunes. The highlight of our trip was definitely the sunset with its evening sun razes shimmering on the dunes and the night scenery of Huacachina.
After the tour you can enjoy a nice dinner in the hostel with couple of drinks. And when the bars closes, you can still walk around and find some other bars for more drinks, for example Huacafuckingchina, which is located right next to the lake.
All in all, for me Huacachina was a really pleasant stay after the cold, high altitude mountains. Refilling the vitamin D and recharging energy, I could have stayed here longer!