15 Things To Know About Huacachina, Peru

6 Apr

Huacachina, Peru was amazing. I loved everything about it.

A beautiful oasis

If you like adventure… go to Huacachina. Sandboarding and sand duning while in the midst of an oasis. What more could you ask for?

If you are traveling with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance… go to Huacachina. There was definitely a romantic feel to it. There were a fair amount of couples. And there were some really nice hostels. I stayed at El Huacachinero for one night (left because it was out of my price range) and they had rooms for couples, a great pool, and the decór just felt very romantic. Almost like a little resort. I’ve heard Paracas is a really nice place in Peru for couples as well, but Huacachina definitely is better price-wise.

If you want to relax for a few days… go to Huacachina. It was so easy-going every day. Of course there are people trying to sell you things, but it wasn’t that bad. You can walk the whole circumference of the town in 20 minutes and you’re just completely surrounded by sand dunes, not to mention that it’s an oasis!

Huacachina was definitely my favourite place in Peru. Although, I’m probably pretty biased because I did meet some really amazing people there, which is part of the reason why I loved it so much.

I feel like I could talk about Huacachina forever, but for now…

15 things I think you should know about Huacachina:

1) Getting there is fairly easy. From Lima- you need to take a bus (about 4 hours) to the city of Ica and then you need to take a taxi to Huacachina. It’s a pretty short taxi ride. Shouldn’t cost more than 5 soles. From Nazca- same as Lima. Bus to Ica. Taxi to Huacachina. It’s a really small town so they don’t have a bus station/airport.

2) It is almost impossible to get lost because there is literally ONE road in Huacachina.

3) You can rent a sandboard for about $3 an hour. One guy offered me to rent his sandboard for an hour INCLUDING a massage. I respectfully declined.

4) It’s an oasis. If you don’t know what an oasis is, it’s a desert area that has vegetation in it, hence some type of body of water. In Huacachina, you can swim in the water. You can even paddleboat in the water. However, if you don’t want to swim in it, you can also find swimming pools at almost every hostel in town. My hostel didn’t have one, but I easily found a pool to swim in for free. Just walk around and look for pools and ask (or don’t) if you can swim for free.

5) The sand is really HOT. I suggest wearing socks and shoes. Seriously. When I went climbing up the dunes during the day I usually just wore socks and carried my shoes in a backpack. My friend got terrible heat blisters from wearing only sandals. It’s way too hot for human skin. Consider yourself warned.

6) There are only a few bars in town. The Pub is definitely the best one. It’s actually owned by the same owners as the hostel called ‘Desert Nights,’ which is where I stayed. The staff were really great. They would teach me to dance and would try to talk to me even though I spoke next to nothing of Spanish. There were also two ‘gringos’ working at the bar. The owner told me that she’ll give free accommodations at her hostel, free food, free drinks, free use of a sandboard, and even a small sum of money to people who speak English that are looking for work. The catch? Nothing really except that you only have Sunday off and you work until the bar closes which can sometimes be 5 a.m. I would go early (9-ish) when my friends started working to just hang out, but it didn’t get busy at all until around midnight. I liked going early because I could talk to the Peruvian staff one-on-one and this really helped with my Spanish skills.

The Pub

7) You can bring your own alcohol into the bars! A few friends and I went into Ica one day to have lunch and get beer from the grocery store because it was cheap. I brought a six-pack of Cusqueña right into the bar and they didn’t care at all. My friend brought in boxed wine and they even gave her a glass!

8) If you’re planning on going sand duning, make sure you look around to find the cheaper prices. I found that the prices ranged a lot! I went for about an hour and a half and it cost $15. They stopped every 25 minutes or so for us to go sandboarding on our stomachs down REALLY steep dunes, which was the most exhilarating thing I’ve done in my life (so far). Another tip: GO FOR SUNSET! Our sand duning excursion began at around 4:15 p.m. and we stopped on top on the dunes to take in the sunset. It was spectacular.

Click here to see a video from when I went sand duning!

9) Hostels. It is a small town so there aren’t many options. I stayed at two so I will give my opinion of them. First, I stayed at El Huacachinero for one night. It was 60 soles (!) for one night, but I went around the time of Peru’s Independence so prices were really high. It’s normally 30 soles for a dorm. El Huacachinero felt more like a resort than a hostel. The 6 person dorm had it’s own bathroom with shower. The room also locks when you leave it so the security was pretty good. The beds were comfortable. There was free breakfast, but it consisted of juice (which was gross), instant coffee (like the rest of Peru), bread and butter. The pool was great and had lounge chairs all around it. The staff was very friendly. We switched to Desert Nights the next night because it was MUCH cheaper (15 soles) and some people we met the night before recommended it. The security was not very good because there was no lock to the dorm rooms and anyone could easily walk into the hostel, but I had no issues. The staff seemed very genuine. The owner was amazing. She moved here from the U.S. because of a love interest and she opened a hostel in Huacachina! She helped me with anything I needed. There were 2 or 3 showers in both the boys bathroom and the girls bathroom. There was a restaurant attached to the hostel, which I thought was great. It had fairly priced food and was conveniently right outside the rooms. They really like to get to know you there too, which was nice. I felt really welcome and comfortable. I even got a few free meals out of it.

10) The dogs seem to come out at night. I literally got chased by a pack of dogs one night and it was actually pretty scary.

11) It feels really safe. Always be aware of your surroundings obviously, but compared to other cities/towns in Peru, Huacachina definitely had a safer feel too it.

12) You will get sand EVERYWHERE. I was so careful and still I got sand in my camera. It was broken for a day, which, let me tell you, really sucks. TIP: use a dry toothbrush to get the sand out of your camera. After hours of working at it, I got all the sand out of my camera. Consider a waterproof camera because they are also sand-proof, cold-proof, and can be dropped without breaking. Good luck trying to get all the sand out of your clothes and body. I scrubbed everywhere when I showered and still didn’t get all the sand out.

My camera couldn't handle the sand so I had to clean it out with a toothbrush

13) The weather is weird. I know weather is unpredictable, but I could easily predict how every day would be. The mornings and days were SO hot and sunny every single day I was there (and I was there during their winter). But, as soon as the sun went down, it got really, really, cold. I couldn’t believe how much of a temperature drop there was a night. Nothing like Canada.

14) Sunscreen is your best friend. Seriously. The dunes are really tall! Which means you are a lot closer to the sun and will burn incredibly easy. Believe me, it happened to me. Don’t let it happen to you.

15) If you’re up for a slightly-strenuous adventure, CLIMB THE DUNES. It was definitely my favourite thing to do. It took a while to get to the top, but the view of Huacachina was so worth it. Try going for sunset. I went during the day and at sunset and both were amazing. Leave early if you’re going at sunset because it does take a while to climb to the top. One REALLY good tip I got was to walk up the dunes in diagonals because it makes it a hell of a lot easier. Seriously, climb the dunes if you can. I have to warn you that it is very tiring. I was sweating buckets by the time I got to the top. AND if you’re even more adventurous… RUN down the dunes. It is such a rush! I felt like I was going to fall the entire time, but I actually only ended up falling when I came to a stop. DO IT. It’s so fun. Maybe a little dangerous, but no one I was with got hurt at all.

On top of the world

Click here to see a video of the view from the top.

Random tip: Try ARRIVING in Huacachina at night so when you wake up the next day and see how massive the sand dunes are you will seriously have a WOW moment. I went to The Pub the night I got there and my friend Chris said, “Have you seen the dunes yet?” and I told him I hadn’t. He laughed and said something like, “Oh wait until the morning. It will seriously knock you off your feet.” And it really did. You are completely surrounded by sand dunes, which you cannot see at all when it’s nighttime.

So, please, go to Huacachina. Before it gets too touristy. Yes, I know that posts like this are one of the reasons why a place like Huacachina will become a tourist destination, but I just loved it so much that I had to share it.

As soon as I left I wanted to go back. It’s a great place to just chill out, but it’s also a great place to have fun, adventurous, and breathtaking (literally) experiences. It has everything I’d ever want in a place. It truly is an oasis. It’s even on the 100 (50?) sole note.

I really wonder why it’s not a central tourist destination already.

Click here or the flickr icon on the home page to see more photos from Huacachina!


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