Huacachina Ica is one of the most famous destinations in all of Peru! This incredible desert oasis truly is a remarkable vista that has recently become an internet legend thanks to everyone’s favorite app, Instagram!
I have put together this complete guide of Huacachina Ica Oasis with everything you need to know including how to get here, things to do, and where to stay.
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WHERE IS HUACACHINA ICA?
Huacachina is located in the southwestern region of Peru approximately 300km south of Lima, Peru’s capital city.
Huacachina is the name of the village which is built around a small oasis surrounded by enormous sand dunes. Ica is the name of the nearby city that’s just 5kms away from the Huacachina Oasis.
HOW TO GET HERE
The best way to reach this desert oasis is by bus. The most reputable bus company in Peru that I discovered to be the most comfortable and reliable is Peru Hop.
They offer many different bus routes and itineraries throughout Peru and Bolivia and I highly recommend traveling with them.
For this particular trip, there is a bus from Lima to Huacachina Ica that departs daily and the journey time is around 4-hours.
Another popular route is from Arequipa, a city in the south of Peru. There are daily buses from Arequipa and the journey time is around 14-hours, with a stop for lunch.
Click Here to visit the Peru Hop website for more information and to book your bus tickets online.
Image source: Peru Hop
If you decide you want to book a Huacachina Tour as opposed to a self-guided trip, you can check out what itineraries are available on the Get Your Guide website.
Get Your Guide has many different Huacachina Tours on offer which includes transport, sandboarding, and buggies in the Huacachina sand dunes and even a boat tour to nearby islands in Paracas.
Click Here to search for all Huacachina Tours and book online ahead of time!
Drone shot of the Peru Oasis
THINGS TO DO IN HUACACHINA ICA
Depending on what time you arrive, the first thing you’re going to want to do is head over to South America’s ONLY natural desert oasis which is just a short walk from anywhere inside the village.
Sandboarding down the mammoth Huacachina sand dunes is another one of the best things to do when visiting this amazing Peru oasis.
Some accommodations offer complimentary sandboards for guests to use otherwise you can rent them from the locals in town. Grab a board, hike for around twenty minutes to the top of the highest dune and take the plunge!
Once you’re all done with sandboarding you can jump in one of the dune buggies with an experienced driver and zap around the desert dunes. Be sure to pack your GoPro camera to capture all the action. A dune buggy tour will set you back around $25.
Another one of the best things to do is watching the sunrise or sunset from the top of the nearest sand dunes.
I was amazed at the amount of cloud movement going on when I hiked to the top of the Huacachina dunes for sunrise one morning, watching them sweeping in and around the oasis, up and over the dunes, and into the oblivion.
Watching the sunrise was by far the best moments that I enjoyed most during my visit to this majestic desert oasis!
When the sun goes down, the bars and restaurants come to life. There is a party almost every night of the week and you can find a cranking bar with good music and cheap drinks, usually kicking off at around 11 pm.
There is no shortage of restaurants dotted around the Huacachine oasis offering just about everything from classic Peruvian dishes to pizza and pasta. Try getting into a restaurant in time for happy hour, kick back and reminisce on how epic your day just was!
Selfie in the dunes
THE LEGEND OF HUACACHINA OASIS
Peruvian legend has it that the oasis was created when a native princess stripped naked to bathe, but after looking in a mirror she spotted a male hunter approaching her from behind.
She fled leaving her mirror behind which turned into a lake. It is rumored that the princess still resides at the bottom of the Huacachina Oasis as a mermaid.
Swimming in the oasis is definitely possible and locals believe the water and mud to be therapeutic, ridding those of arthritis, asthma, and bronchitis.
If you’re not game for a swim or mud scrub, simply relax on the sandy shores of the Huacachina oasis or rent one of the paddle boats to take out onto the lagoon.
WHERE TO STAY IN HUACACHINA
Huacachina has hundreds of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: DM Hoteles Mossone
Located right in the heart of the oasis close by to bars and restaurants. This hotel features a swimming pool, restaurant, and free wifi. The rooms have private bathrooms, cable TV, air-conditioning, and an American breakfast is included.
Mid Range: Desert Nights Ecocamp
Desert Nights offer glamping at its finest! Located on the edge of the dunes and a minutes walk to the town, this Ecocamp features a restaurant, shared kitchen, bar, garden, swimming pool, and an outdoor terrace for guests to enjoy! Book a night in one of the luxury tents which also includes free wifi and a continental breakfast.
Budget: Wild Olive Guest House
Centrally located, this guesthouse features a restaurant, shared kitchen, shared lounge, and free wifi. Wild Olive has shared dorm rooms, private double rooms, and family rooms available at an affordable price. Perfect for travelers on a budget!
For all other accommodations, Search on Booking.com
MORE CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
- Mexico: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
- Cuba: 10 Day Cuba Itinerary
- Peru: Backpacking Peru – 3 Week Itinerary
- Bolivia: Things To Do In Bolivia
- Brazil: 2 Day Rio De Janeiro Itinerary
- Argentina: Things To Do In Argentina
- Chile: Things To Do In Chile
LONELY PLANET PERU
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Peru Guide!
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