If you know anything about Huacachina, you’ll think sand dunes. Sand dunes after sand dunes after sand dunes. Originally, Peruvians believed that the waters had healing powers and would use the waters to heal their bodies. These days, it’s mostly for tourists to go and sand buggy. If you’ve got the time, I do recommend it.
Here are some things to do with your time in Huacachina, including day trips.
Getting to Huacachina: From Lima
🚌 BUS: to ICA.
5h S/ 21-85 | AUD $10 – 30 | USD $7 -24
You’ll have to go to ICA first.
If you’re not that fussed, a local bus will be cheaper if not a little longer. Otherwise, if you’re looking for more comfort, wifi and other tourists – check how-to-Peru’s list here to see what’s best recommended.
🚕 TAXI to Huacachina.
Majority of taxis will charge you $4-5 per person. You can try and negotiate these, and you may be able to get a cheaper price with local taxis outside the station of ICA.
Getting to Huacachina: From Arequipa / Cusco
|🚌 BUS: from Arequipa
12h S/40-160 |
AUD $17 – 65 | USD $13 -50
You can take a local bus which would be cheaper however if you’re wanting comfort –check how-to-Peru’s list here to see what’s best recommended.
|🚌 BUS: from Cusco
24h S/ 40-160
AUD $26 – 20 | USD
Okay, if you’re actually going to take the bus from Cusco, get the comfiest bus you can – it’s 24 hours.
MY TOP CHOICES
💰 $10 – $35 – If you’ve got a group, you can barter.
📝 Entrance fees aren’t included in tours 5-7/S.
If you’re experienced, you can upgrade to a standing board.
The recommended time to go is 4pm – this means you’ll see the sunset.
You’re going to get into the sand buggy and think “this will be fun and in no way terrifying at all” and you’ll be wrong. The tops of 500m sand dunes with the buggy rocketing down the slopes with sharp turns on the hills will have you screaming and your butt coming off the seat in no time. Luckily, this trip is broken up with a few different dunes you sandboard down whilst heading face first down. Will you fall off? Who knows!
The views of the sunset at the end are incredible, especially looking out over the lagoon.
Okay, so the below are not technically in Huacachina, but make great day trips.
We organised the below through a tour guild at ICA station. It turned out well for us, we paid s/120 | $50 AUD | $40 USD which you can DEFINITELY get cheaper – and if we hadn’t of had the budget, would have tried cheaper. We liked the guy, and he included the drop off to Huacachina for us. Turns out we chose well.
Ballestas Islands are caves and rock formations jutting out from the ocean. They’re also covered in bird poop. Visitors are not allowed onto the islands (probably for the best) but views of the wildlife are fine from the boat. If it makes you feel any better about the poop, it gets cleared off occasionally to fertilise the soil.
|Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Jacket (for the boat), Water, Snacks, Bathers.|
I’d also like to quickly advise if you’re not that fond of birds (like me) you might not like this a whole lot, but the island itself will show you some pretty cute penguins and sea lions. It’s also an a-okay view. You’ll also get to see a Nasca Line from the boat itself, which is especially cool if you’re not going to be doing the flights. If you’re interested in doing the flights you can check it out here.
Some people will call these the “Poor Man’s Galapagos” but I’m going to have to disagree with that on the fact it’s not in Ecuador, no turtles, you can’t go on it. Also, Charles Darwin never visited, well that I know of. I haven’t actually researched that part.
Part of Peru’s coastal shoreline, the National Reserve is a protected area that focuses on the conservation of the ecosystem and to promote the rational use of marine resources.
My favourite was the Red Beach or “Playa Rojo” because you’ve got beaches, and then you’ve got beaches. The colour is due to the washing away of the lighter coloured sediment leaving the heavy red colour underneath.
WHERE TO STAY
🏢 H O S T E L:
Located just outside the main strip – -which means having Sand Buggies drive past the main road can be a bit loud. This place is wonderful. It’s essentially “glamping” and it’s a little bit more pricey. When we were leaving for the tour, they even gave us our breakfast in a little takeaway bag.
Also – don’t forget to close your tent up when you leave. We did, there were lots of mosquitos as a result. Have mosquito spray.
|Free breakfast – fresh fruit, juices, eggs, bread etc|
|Shared, very clean bathrooms.|
|Tents with 2 double beds or 1 double bed.|
|They have a large pool.|
|Pool Bar (they call it a wet bar I don’t want to do that)|
WHAT I DID
The first time I had gone to ICA we had been told about a camping spot in someone’s backyard. We managed to find it, set up the tent for S/5 and had access to toilet/shower. We went out to a few restaurants for wifi, cold drinks and had a bite to eat. We found a buggy tour off someone on the street and had a few things from our bag taken – actually a knife and 50 soles. This isn’t to say it’s going to happen to you – but I mean, trust your gut. I didn’t have a good feeling about this tour and it turned out to be right.
When we returned, we didn’t have a tent but opted to Glamp instead. When we arrived in ICA, we were asked by a few tour companies and taxi drivers about what we wanted to do. I always like to get a little bit of breathing space so I can figure out my current situation after travel, so I asked if we could just have a moment or two in Spanish.
We really only spent two nights there with two tours, meaning our first day was spent doing the Paracas Tour and our second day was doing the Sand Buggies. We later took an overnight bus to Arequipa – I wish we had actually had 3 days to get the best out of our glamping experience and use the wet bar (I hate the term so much) and pool.
Have you been? Did you scream as much as me while going down the dunes?
Let me know!