So, there’s this really cool little spot tucked away in the centre of Peru and it just happens to be an oasis.
There’s something about Huacachina that invites the weary traveller to settle down for a while and hang out. You may come here for an action packed weekend of sandboarding down those soft and silky sand dunes, but you’ll stay for the company in this little paradise and the vibe it lends with the late breakfasts and the early afternoon beers or join the rest of us and hammock swing the days away with a good book.
When I could muster the energy to do more than reapply another layer of sunscreen, we signed up for a sunset sandboarding tour and strapped ourselves into a dune-buggy. I assumed that the buggies were just for getting us up to the top of the mountain sized sand dunes but I soon found myself clenching my belt for dear life as we flew up one side of the dune, the driver pausing as we slowly crested the top before soaring down the other side.
I was almost relieved when we stopped to pull out the sandboards, which seemed calming in comparison. Except of course, the first hill we set are to ride down is sky-high and from there the dunes only get higher and steeper.
Why did I sign up for this again?
Just about everyone went down on their bellies. Those that did attempt to do ride their boards standing up slid at half the speed before eventually losing balance and filling their pockets with sand. After the initial fright of flying of pushing myself over the top of the dune I was able to control my speed by digging my toes into the sand.
So, I did actually enjoy myself. Eventually.
Want to go to Huacachina?
From Lima, Huacachina is a four hour bus ride south to the city of Ica and from there it’s a five minute taxi to Huacachina. Stock up at the ATM in Ica before going on to Huacachina, the ATMs there are often empty.
We stayed at the Carola del Sur guesthouse, in a private room with bathroom for $30 a night (they have dorms too) – there’s have a large garden with plenty of hammocks, roaming turtles and puppies, (probably not puppies anymore) plus a pool.
We also ate at Huacafuckingchina (actual restaurant name) just about every day; they have decently priced meals compared to many of the other establishments in the Huacachina, but the oasis is still a tourist town and if you want to really keep your food budget down, visit the supermarket in Ica.
Sandboarding can be booked at any of the hostels or tour agencies around town for $15, wear covered sneakers, the sand is really hot, and avoid wearing clothes with pockets if you can, otherwise you’ll be sprinkling sand across South America.