Huacachina has emerged as Peru’s most popular layover between Lima and Arequipa on the country’s Gringo Trail. The orange mountains of sand and natural beauty make it stand out in the fierce field of Peru tourism. From running wild on dune buggies to sand boarding and chilling out in the small oasis pond, here’s what you have to do in Huacachina if you have only one day.
Nothing can be more relaxing than rowing on Huacachina’s small pond. The morning is the perfect time, because you won’t have to deal with the area’s intense midday sun and the atmosphere in the town is much more relaxed. You can also take a quick dip in the water. It may not look the most tempting, but it is said to have healing properties. Keep your eyes peeled for the mermaid who is said to live here.
Huacachina is located in Peru’s wine-producing city of Ica. The country’s best and most prized wine all comes from this area and the best vineyards are only a short taxi ride away from the oasis. Most tours can be arranged from your hostel or hotel and will take you vineyard-hopping. You’ll be able to sample both wine and pisco as you learn all about the wine-making process.
You’re in a hot desert, so there’s no need to overwork yourself. Most hostels and hotels in the area will be some of the best that you’ve stayed at in Peru. Enjoy the facilities, hang out by the pool and grab a beer.
The most popular things to do in Huacachina are without a doubt riding the sand buggies and sand boarding the giant sand mountains. You can arrange both the sand boarding and the dune buggying from your hostel, or you can walk around the oasis and choose one of the many operators. Shop around so that you get the best price, as they’re always changing. The dune buggies run all day, but the best times to be out on the sand are in the early morning or late in the afternoon, right before sunset. Be prepared to get scared and occasionally have your stomach in your mouth as you dip up and down the sand dunes.
If sand boarding sounds too intense, though, you can ride down the sand slopes on your stomach instead, which is just as fun and much less dangerous.
When booking your tours, remember to request that they take you to the top of a dune when it’s time to enjoy the sunset, although they will usually take you in any case.