The Huacachina Oasis is the only natural oasis in South America and is located just 5 hours away from Lima and 15 minutes away from the city of Ica, in southern Peru. Home to the biggest sand dunes in the continent, Huacachina is a MUST when traveling Peru! It’s the perfect place to do the famous sandboarding and dune buggy tour, or enjoy other variety of tours in the town or nearby. Click on any of the following links or keep scrolling to read everything you need to know about the Huacachina oasis!
This oasis was formed thanks to an underground current of water, which generated the growth of plants and trees in the middle of the ica desert. Currently, there are efforts underway in order to preserve the oasis, and to help to preserve the vegetation which is made up of palm trees, eucalyptus and carob trees.
Being a natural oasis, Huacachina has been one of the favorite tourist destinations of Peruvians and foreigners for decades. In the 1960’s it was a famous summer resort. This resort boasted houses, hotels, a boardwalk around the lagoon and even a spa for treatments. Today, Huacachina is visited by hundreds of people who come to enjoy the dune tours in buggies, try their hand at sandboarding and experience Huacachina’s famously wild nightlife.
Huacachina is a very small place but it has an undeniably fantastic spirit. It has a beautiful climate, friendly people, dreamy sunsets and also has the very unique experience of being in the middle of the desert next to a beautiful oasis.
It is said that the oasis originated from the tears shed of a maiden from the town of Tacara who mourned the death of her beloved, a young Inca warrior. After crying for days and nights, the lagoon was created, until one day before nightfall a warrior passed through the lagoon and saw the girl.
Feeling observed, the young woman threw herself into the water to hide for hours until the warrior left and when she tried to leave she realized that she had transformed into a mermaid. The girl’s name was Huacachina.
The legend says that every night of the Full Moon, the young woman leaves the lagoon to continue crying to her beloved dead in the war.
Huacachina is located in the Ica, just 5 hours away from Lima, and its only accesible by bus. To find the perfect bus company to travel with, make sure to check out our How To Get There page!
Huacachina is a beautiful oasis with plenty to see and do in the surrounding area. More than just building sandcastles, there are some truly unforgettable activities for you to enjoy while you are visiting Huacachina.
Undeniably the best activity in Huacachina and in Peru, after Machu Picchu, the sandboarding and dune buggies are sure to take your breath away. Peru’s answer to roller coasters, this is the most adrenaline packed fun you could ask for. Sandboarding is suitable for all levels as beginners can go down the slopes on their stomachs, and the pros can go down similarly to a snowboard.
A little outside of Huacachina is Paracas, the relaxed seaside town that is home to the biggest desert reserve in all of Peru. Take a boat trip out to the ‘Peruvian Galapagos’ to get up close and personal with some of the most unique wildlife in the country. Did you think you would see wild penguins in Peru? Here you will. You will also see thousands of birds and sea lions on your boat trip to the Ballestas islands!
Arguably one of the most famous historical sites in Peru (after Machu Picchu), the Nazca Lines flight is a must-do when visiting the country. These drawings go from monkeys and spiders to geometrical shapes. The actual lines are about 2 hours away from Huacachina, making them and their mysteries the perfect morning trip from the oasis.
You simply can’t come to Peru and not sample the most popular liquor in the country, all while learning about how it is made. This is a great way to see a real working vineyard close up, and you will have a great time learning and sampling all about the drink.
If you don’t get to watch the sunset on your buggy tour, or, if you prefer to stay in Huacachina for a couple of nights, then we recommend climbing to the top of the dunes to snap a picture or two. The sun sets over the desert and the view is simply unforgettable.
For the younger kids or for the adults who want to take it a bit slower, there are paddle boats and row boats available to rent for a small fee. You can paddle around the oasis and take in your surroundings from the beautiful boats, just watching the world go by.
Some useful items for travelers to bring with them to Huacachina are:
Huacachina has accommodation that suits everyone. From relaxed, quiet options to partying options, the choices are endless! Check out our Where To Stay page to find the perfect option for you.
Huacachina is in the Pacific Desert so its climate is hot and arid. It is sunny every day of the year and it rarely rains. These weather conditions make it a great place for a vacation in any season, especially when looking to escape from Lima for a few days or a weekend.
The best time to travel to Huacachina is ALL YEAR ROUND. It is sunny every month of the year and it is very unlikely to rain, so any time is a good time to plan a trip to Huacachina.