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The dunes of Huacachina, Ica
The dunes of Huacachina, Ica | © 12019 / Pixabay
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Ica, Peru

Picture of Brandon Dupre
Updated: 20 April 2018
Known both for its vineyards and for the desert oasis Huacachina, Ica is a strong fixture on the Peruvian Gringo Trail. If you want to fit in everything that the area has to offer in one day, you’ll have to be strategic and plan ahead. Here is our guide to how to fit Ica into one event-filled day without missing anything out.

Stay in Huacachina

When you head to the Ica area, the only place to stay is Huacachina. You don’t have to, but you’ll be missing out on the most beautiful area of Ica if you decide otherwise. Huacachina has a great range of hostels to suit a variety of different budgets. Another reason for staying in Huacachina is that most of the things you will want to do while you’re in the area are located here.

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The desert oasis town of Huacachina in Ica, Peru | Mia Spingola / © Culture trip

Go sand surfing…

You have to make time to sand surf while you’re in Ica. If you’re not really the boarding type, all the hire companies also offers boards that you can lie down on and ride like a boogie board. Either way, riding down the giant sand mountains is a must, and will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your trip to Peru. The sand surfing trips can be arranged from any of the hostels you stay in, and plenty of signage advertising them will usually be on display.

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Two boarders bombing a sand mountain | Mia Spingola / © Culture trip

… and dune buggying

This adventure has to be seen to be believed. It’s part Mad Max desert apocalypse, part Red Bull extreme sports. You’ll hear the buggies blasting around the dunes all day, as the sound of the engines as they shoot off like rockets is hard to escape. You can choose to just do a tour on a buggy if the sand boarding doesn’t sound appealing, or you can do a buggy–boarding combo, in which the buggy takes you to all the best sand boarding spots.

The sunset

The sunset over the towering mountains of orange sand is one of the most beautiful sights in all of Peru. If you choose to ride the buggies at night, which is recommended for this very reason, your driver will take you to one of the highest dunes to catch the sunset. If you’re not on the buggies, just hike up the nearest dune from town and you’ll get a spectacular show unlike anything you’ll find elsewhere in Peru.

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A look at Huacachina’s oasis | Mia Spingola / © Culture trip

Wine tasting

Ica is famous for its wine and pisco and is the largest producer of it in all of Peru. In addition to being the largest producer, it’s also the best. The unique landscape of the area makes for one of the most interesting climates for a vineyard in the world, and a tasting tour is highly recommended. The tours and tasting can all be arranged from your hostel or hotel in Huacachina. If you don’t want to stay in Huacachina, then we recommend that you stay at one of the vineyards. They have become boutique hotels in their own right, and also offer trips to Huacachina so you that don’t miss out on that either.