7 Best things to do in Huacachina

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Huacachina is a small village in the middle of a green oasis with huge dunes surrounding it, giving it the appearance of a desert landscape. In the 1960s, the water of the oasis was believed to have medicinal powers. This has made it a popular destination among Peruvians and in recent years also among travelers.

Huacachina is often called Huacachina oasis and this is not only because of the landscape or the healing powers of the water but also because of the fun activities you can do here. Huacachina is a great destination to visit.

In this article, you will discover things to do in Huacachina, where to stay, nice places to eat, and more tips for Huacachina, Peru.

Huacachina sandboarding

Things to do in Huacachina, Peru?

Even though Huacachina is a small village, you can do plenty of fun things there. Read below our 7 recommended activities to do in Huacachina.

Tip: use the map below to see where the best things to do in Huacachina can be found. Click on the top right corner to enlarge the map. If you click on the star symbol next to the title you can save this map in your Google Maps account. On the map, you can show or hide different categories. You can then use this map to navigate when you are in Huacachina.

#1 Huacachina sandboarding and buggy tour

The reason to travel to Huacachina is undoubtedly to do sandboarding and buggy driving through the dunes. From Huacachina you have to take a combination tour where you will go buggy driving and sandboarding. We followed this combination tour and are very satisfied with it. It is recommended to buy tickets in advance because you are assured of a spot. The program for us was as follows:

From Huacachina you will depart in a buggy to the dunes. Only the ride itself is great as you are driving at full speed over the hills. Upon arrival in the middle of the desert, you receive your board to go sandboarding. There are several ways to go down the hills, namely lying on your stomach, sitting, or standing.

With the tour, you will visit three hills. They start with a small hill so you can practice several times and experience which position you prefer. At the bottom of the hill, the buggy is waiting for you to go to the next hill.

To start, we recommend that you first lie on your stomach so that you can grab the two ropes at the front with your hands for the best stability. If you want to reduce speed, you can put your feet on the ground.

The first hill you visit is small, the second is medium and the third is gigantic. If you liked it, you can ask the driver to do the last hill again. When we asked this it was not a problem. Check actual prices and availability for the combination tour here.

Tip: the tour we did leaves at 4 pm which is the best time because it is not so hot anymore. Also, the sun starts to set when you are in the beautiful desert landscape. It is also important to wear closed shoes so that you can reduce speed without hurting your feet. Bring sunscreen and water with you and do not wear jewelry.

Huacachina sandboarding standing

#2 Hike over the sand dunes during sunset

Another fun activity to do is watching the sunset. This is because of the landscape. If you stand on one of the hills you can see nothing but sand as far as your eye can see. When you see it in combination with the sunset it is breathtaking to see.

Later in the afternoon, when temperatures begin to drop, it’s a good time to hike to the top of a dune. When you are in Huacachina you will see one dune which is higher compared to the others, this is one of the highest in the area. If you climb this dune you have a beautiful view at the top. Depart about 1 hour before the sun goes down so that you have enough time to see the sunset at the top. Also, don’t forget to bring some water.

Huacachina sunset

Option 1 fun, affordable and good quality: Banana’s Adventure Hostel
We stayed at Banana’s Adventure Hostel and recommend it. The rooms, general area, pool, staff, and atmosphere in this hostel is great. In addition, the food they serve is excellent, so you don’t have to eat anywhere else.
Check prices and availability for Banana’s Adventure Hostel here.

Option 2 excellent base + well priced: La Casa de Bamboo
La Casa de Bamboo
is a hostel without a pool, this is not a big problem because you can use the Bananas Adventure pool for a small fee. The rooms in this hostel are nice and cool, even when it’s extremely hot outside. A great hostel that is appreciated by other travelers.
Check prices and availability for La Casa de Bamboo here.

#3 Fly over the greatest mystery from Peru: the Nazca Lines

For many, a visit to the Nazca Lines is literally and figuratively a highlight of their trip through Peru. The Nazca Lines have been a mystery to archaeologists, scientists, and researchers for decades. They were roughly made between 200 BC to 600 AD by the people who lived in the area. To get the best view of these drawings, you need to board an airplane.

If you are interested you can follow a Nazca Lines tour in combination with the Ballestas Islands in Paracas. We didn’t do it because we think it is too expensive.

#4 Day trip to Paracas

In Paracas there are a couple of islands where you can spot wildlife and next to Paracas is a national reserve where you can admire one of the largest marine ecosystems in the world. We recommend staying in Paracas, if you don’t have time for this then visiting Paracas from Huacachina is a good alternative.

A day trip from Huacachina is easy to arrange. Travel by taxi from Huacachina to Ica Cruz del Sur bus terminal. Here you can take the bus to Paracas. A ticket costs 15 soles ($4) per person.

The boats depart at 8:00 am or 10:00 am for the Ballestas Islands which are part of Paracas National Park. Please note that the journey from Huacachina to Paracas takes approximately 1.5 hours. In addition, you must be at the port 15 minutes before departure, so add about 2 hours of travel time just to be sure.

In case you want to book the tours independently, you can use the prices below as a guideline:

paracas wild life

#5 Wine and Pisco tour

The area around Ica is the most important wine region of Peru. Popular red wines of Peru and the drink pisco are produced in this area. If you like to learn more about this, you can visit a traditional brewery.

During a tour, you will visit the Tacama vineyard, which was founded in the 16th century and is the oldest in Peru. It is nice to walk through the old factories and learn how they have been producing wine since then. You will also visit the El Catador vineyard where they produce pisco.

This tour is recommended for people who love to drink wine or a liqueur and want to learn more about it. Check availability for the tour here.

#6 Chill out by the pool

If you are traveling for a few days and have already done some things, it is also nice to do nothing. In Huacachina you can relax at one of the accommodations. The nice thing about Huacachina is that because of the dunes the temperature is often a lot higher than the places you have visited before such as Lima and Paracas.

We stayed at Banana’s Adventure Hostel and recommend it. They have a swimming pool where you can relax. They play good music in the background and there is a great atmosphere. The food they serve is good, we enjoyed our best lomo saltado here.

Lomo Saltado

#7 go camping in the desert

If you want a unique experience, go camping in the desert. If you want to enjoy the peace and spend the night in a special place, this is for you. In the evening when the sun is down you can see the stars in the universe because you are far away from civilization there is little light so it is a very good place for stargazing. Book your spot via this link.

How many days do you need for Huacachina?

This of course depends on what you want to do in Huacachina. We stayed in Huacachina for 1 night, which was enough for us. The first day you arrive in Huacachina and you can follow the sandboard and buggy tour at 4:00 pm. On the second day, you can do the other activities. In the evening you travel to the Cruz del Sur bus terminal and take the night bus to Arequipa, so you only have to book 1 night.

If you want to stay longer because you would like to relax and enjoy the weather, Huacachina is a great place. Depending on your planning and wishes, 1 or 2 nights is more suitable. Our advice is to book 1 night.

Where to stay in Huacachina?

There are only a few accommodations in Huacachina. Considering the temperature in Huacachina, it is important to choose a hostel or hotel with a pool. We stayed at Banana’s Adventure Hostel and highly recommend it. If you want to stay in Huacachina and Banana’s Adventure is fully booked, we recommend La Casa de Bamboo.

Tip: It is important to book your accommodation in Huacachina on time because there are not many options. In addition, the two hostels we recommend are affordable, others are very expensive.

Fun, affordable and good quality
Banana’s Adventure Hostel

huacachina v3

We stayed at Banana’s Adventure Hostel and recommend it. The rooms, general area, pool, staff, and atmosphere in this hostel is great. In addition, the food they serve is excellent, so you don’t have to eat anywhere else.

Excellent base + well priced
La Casa de Bamboo

huacachina v2

La Casa de Bamboo is a hostel without a pool, this is not a big problem because you can use the Bananas Adventure pool for a small fee. The rooms in this hostel are nice and cool, even when it’s extremely hot outside. A great hostel that is appreciated by other travelers.

Where to eat in Huacachina?

As you can read in activity 6, in our opinion, the best place to eat is at Banana’s Adventure Hostel. Here you can order various Peruvian and European dishes. We ordered lomo saltado twice because we liked it so much. It was the best lomo saltado we had during our trip through Peru. The nice thing about eating at Banana’s Adventure Hostel is that they have nice seating areas and pleasant music is played in the background.

In principle, there is no need to eat elsewhere. If you are looking for other places you can eat something at La Casa de Bamboo. Here they mainly serve Peruvian dishes and the nice thing here is that it is quiet. The best restaurant in the area is 8 Cepas in Ica, this place is popular because you can try amazing cocktails.

How do you get to Huacachina?

Getting to Huacachina is very easy. Wherever you are, you should always travel to Ica first. From Ica you can take a taxi to Huacachina for 7 soles ($2). Assuming you’re traveling from Lima or Paracas, here’s what you need to do to arrive in Ica.

Lima to Huacachina: go to the bus station (Javier Prado) and buy your bus ticket at one of the ticket offices to Ica. We recommend using Cruz del Sur. Travel time is 4 hours to 5 hours. The ticket costs 20 soles ($6) per person.

Paracas to Huacachina: buy your bus ticket at your hostel. Travel time is 1.5 hours. The ticket costs 15 soles ($5) per person.

To make it easy for yourself, you can buy the bus tickets to Ica in advance. This way you have all the options to choose from (departure times + seats). You can easily buy bus tickets here. You can also book your tickets at the Cruz del Sur counter upon arrival in Huacachina.

Best time to visit Huacachina

Because Huacachina is located next to a desert landscape, the climate in Huacachina is different compared to the rest of the region. For example, it can be cool in Paracas, and in Huacachina it can easily be 10 degrees warmer. The clouds don’t reach Huacachina that often because of the dunes. In Huacachina the weather is pleasant all year round, so you can visit it all year round.

What to do in Huacachina FAQ

1. I have not that much time, is Huacachina still worth to visit?

In our opinion yes because you only need to stay 1 day to do the most important activity, namely the sandboarding and buggy tour.

If you’re really short on time, you can travel from Paracas to Huacachina in the morning to take the sandboarding and buggy tour at 4:00 pm and take the night bus from Ica to Arequipa in the evening.

Want to see more of Peru?

When you read our Peru itinerary follow is your next destination Arequipa. Arequipa is one of the most beautiful colonial cities where you can see historical buildings.

If you do not follow our itinerary, you can also travel to Paracas or Lima in addition to Arequipa. Lima is the capital of Peru where you can visit the best museums in Peru. In Paracas, you can discover one of the best marine ecosystems in the world.

What do you think of Huacachina? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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