The Desert Oasis
Huacachina is a small little town on the outskirts of Ica. The oasis is actually a naturally formed laguna among the desert. A number of hostals and restaurants surround the laguna. From Huaraz we took a bus to Lima and then boarded another bus to Ica. Upon arriving in Ica we grabbed a taxi to the town and found ourselves a hostal where we could pitch our tent.
After spending so much time in the mountains it felt good to be near the ocean. The sun was shining, and the place we stayed at had a pool around which we could lounge. Of course we got terribly sun-burned but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves.
Riding the Sand Buggy
One of the main attractions at Huacachina is riding the sand buggy. For about 40 soles you are taken to the dunes. As the buggy drives around the dunes the sensation is quite thrilling. It feels a little bit like riding a roller-coaster. Midway through the ride the buggy stops at a few hills. We grabbed some boards and slid down the hills. The first few hills were relatively small so I was able to ride the board standing up. The last couple of hills, however, were much larger and it would have been too dangerous.
After riding down the hills a few times we then drove around a little bit more. At the end we watched the sun set on the dunes. It was a beautiful view. Afterwards we rode back into town.
Tip: the tours usually go out in the morning or late afternoon. Go for the late afternoon because you will be able to enjoy the sunset and have good lighting for pictures!
Hiking the Dunes of Huacachina
Another really enjoyable part of our stay was actually hiking up one of the dunes. We did this around sunset time and were treated to an amazing view. We watched the sun set over the dunes. The oasis below us was beautiful in the twilight. We then ran down the dune as the sand tried grabbing at our legs.
Due to the way we visited Huacachina, at times our stay was uncomfortable. As sort-of budget travelers it was a little frustrating that there was no market in town to buy fresh fruit or veggies. Obviously, its a resort town so most people would not use a market. This cramped our budget, however, since we rely on the local markets to help out with it. In addition, there were few options for cheaper food. It’s kinda the nature of the beast here, so if you are planning on going be prepared for it.
Heading Over to Cusco
After our time in Huacachina we were ready to head back up into the Andes. We took a bus back to Lima from Ica. In Lima we had a little bit of time to explore the city. We spent a few hours visiting various coffee shops and parks. Due to the fact that we would be flying to Cusco I needed to get rid of a propane tank for our mini stove. Although I got a wonderful opportunity to practice my Spanish, and it must have been hilarious from the side, I was disappointed at my failure. Finally I just handed it off to a street person. Ah well lesson learned.
We then boarded the plane and were off!
Places to eat and stay in Huacachina:
Hostel- Desert Nights EcoCamp Huacachina– (50soles for two people with their own tent) This is a great place to pitch a tent if you have one. They have a pool, bar, restaurant and you can also use the shared kitchen, bathrooms and showers. There’s also the option of staying in the eco camp (a set up covered tent with a bed)
Food- Desert Nights Hostel- right across the street of the EcoCamp you will find the Hostel where you can get food as well. I would say just little bit cheaper than getting it right at EcoCamp.
Wild Olive Trattoria-Italian food, pizza, vegetarian friendly. Most of the restaurants there are very similar.