Huacachina, possibly shortened from “wakachina qucha” meaning “hidden lagoon”, is a village built around a small oasis and surrounded by sand dunes in southwestern Peru.
Leaving Lima, I chose Huacachina as a stopover before taking 18 hour bus trip to Cusco. Being known as a home to extraordinary adventure, Hucachina is definitely not the place to be missed on my way south.
Located 4 hours by bus from Lima, it is very accessible by taxi from Ica bus station. About 15 minutes more on taxi, you will soon enough get to see an amazing landscape close by. I didnt even know that I was getting into an oasis until I climbed up those sand dunes and looked down at the scene below.
Huacachina brought to me feeling of a piece of heaven with an oasis nestled amidst the huge sand dunes. Feel like all my imagination of Arabian Nights was captured and then actualized to be this great little oasis. The formation of this place is also attached with a story of mermaid and along with the story, there had been time when people used to actually believe in the healing power of the laguna water.
I was totally drawn into the opposite beauty of Huacachina. The vaster expanse of immense sand dunes are, the smaller the oasis seems to be. You can just take a stroll on those promenades from this end to another of the lagoon within maybe 15 minutes.
The desert, of course, has more than that to offer. Being here at the afternoon was a perfect time to take those adventures that Huacachina has been known for: dune buggying and sand boarding.
One hour of buggy riding on the desert was absolutely insane. It was such a thrilling experience to have a mad ride across the huge sand dunes with full speed. Make sure your seatbelt is tight, put your devices in a safe pocket or if you want to take photo and video, then try to hold it carefully, prepare yourself sunglasses and keep your mouth shut. I was screaming all the ride and trust me I knew very well how it felt to have a mouthful of sand.
If you want a little more extreme, tip the driver and be well prepared, he will show you what is the craziest driving in your life. It was definitely a blast.
With a buggy tour, there will be a few stops over for the views, photo purpose and ... sand boarding. If you have never tried something like snow boarding or surfing, or even if you have, it is better to take this sand boarding with your belly on it, don’t try to stand up. It is not as easy as it looks and it is more dangerous than it seems to be. Some sand dunes were very high and steep. There was a boy taking the same buggy tour with me ended up in accident while sand boarding. I did it with belly on, and it felt like taking a roller-coaster, you know that feeling, right? Scary but extremmely excited.
When the sun was about to set, that is time the buggy brought us to the best sand dune to admire sunset. After those extreme and thrilling experience, walking slowly in the sand dune with our bare feet was just amazing.
The higher you climb up, the more teriffic your photo gonna be. Only there, in that huge sand dune, the whole stunning view of the oasis will totally be in your sight. Finding for myself a right spot, looking at the western horizon and admiring the sun going to set over the dunes. Those photos dont do it any justice. It simply took my breath way.
When the night started to fall on the desert, we also found our way going back to the oasis. The sunset, the picturesque view were the greatest way to end it all.
📍Huacachina 197, Ica 11000, Peru
Better for a short stay, a night or a day would be preferable.