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.
Getting to Huacachina: From Lima
🚌 B U S: 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 the list here to see what’s best recommended. Hotels and Hostels, of course, will always be happy to book/reserve for you.
🚕 T A X I 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
🚌 B U S: from Arequipa
12 h S/ 40-160 | AUD $17 – 65 | USD $13 -50
🚌 B U S: from Cusco
24h S/ 40-160 | AUD $26 – 20 | USD
Okay, if you’re actually going to go from Cusco, pay up and get the comfiest bus you can – it’s 24 hours. Please, please treat yourself. Otherwise, Fly to Lima & Bus it down. Change your route, don’t go.
MY TOP CHOICES
Let us be honest, this is essentially one of the main reasons people come here. You’re chucked in a Buggy, taken over the dunes at crazy speeds and then you get to relax sliding down the hills.
Okay, so the below are not technically in Huacachina, but make great day trips.
We organised the below through a tour guild AT the 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.
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 and Charles Darwin never visited, well that I know of. I haven’t actually researched that part.
Paracas National Reserve
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:
Eco Camp || TA
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
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.
Apart from the above, nothing really.
We really only spent two nights there with two tours, meaning after Sand Duning the second day we were off on an overnight bus to Arequipa.
Day 1 was the Paracas tour and Day 2 was sand duning. The one thing I would say is to NOT get the street hamburgers. It was the only place open, it was bad, we didn’t eat them.
As always, stay cool. Sarah.