Although Peru is best known for its mountains, it also has coastal deserts. And one of the best places to appreciate the sand is the Oasis Huacachina. Huacachina is a small town with a population that does not exceed 150 residents. It was built around a natural oasis in the middle of the desert. Among the large dunes of Peru, you can find Oasis Huacachina. This natural oasis is located a few hours from Lima. This small town has become a tourist destination par excellence in Peru and is visited by people from all over the world. This fertile and lush lagoon is surrounded by palm trees, hotels, and exquisite restaurants. Therefore, together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru, we have prepared an article about this wonderful place. Get to know this magical corner of Peru in-depth and enjoy everything it has to offer.
All about the fascinating Oasis Huacachina
- Oasis description
- How to get there
- History of the Oasis
- Adventure tours to enjoy in Huacachina
- Alternative tours around
- Where to eat and sleep
Huacachina Oasis is a small stop that is not far from the beautiful city of Ica in Peru. Huacachina is a small town that surrounds a natural oasis in the middle of the desert. The town of Huacachina is located around a lagoon that bears the same name. This small lagoon is fed by a natural spring, making it the only natural oasis in Latin America. The town is basically a collection of luxurious resorts and restaurants overlooking the lagoon. The oasis was originally built as a refuge for the upper classes. But today it has become a quintessential tourist destination.
The town is surrounded by huge dunes that are the main stage for different tourist activities. The small town subsists on the tourist industry for the most part. Thanks to this you will find a wide variety of travel agencies, restaurants and hotels. Inside and on the outskirts of the town, you can appreciate a great activity from both locals and tourists. Many locals have taken advantage and installed businesses, restaurants, souvenir shops, and much more. Today it has become one of the best destinations to enjoy summer in Peru.
HOW TO GET THERE
The oasis of Huacachina is located 10 minutes from the city of Ica and about 5 hours south of Lima. If you are looking to get to Oasis Huacachina, it is not difficult at all. Getting to the beautiful natural oasis of Huacachina is usually pretty straightforward. Numerous companies depart from Lima to Ica, where they try to provide a direct service to Huacachina from the Peruvian capital.
Buses to Huacachina can be taken from a wide variety of destinations. You can find bus options from Cusco, Paracas, Nazca, Arequipa, and other important destinations. Bear in mind that some public services run towards Ica and from there you will have to take a taxi. In case you are traveling on your own, the best way to get there is by bus from Lima to Ica. The services from the capital to Ica are daily and varied. Once in Ica, you can take a taxi to the oasis, which is only five kilometers from the wine city. The cost of the taxi is around 5 dollars approximately. Be sure to check out this unprecedented attraction.
HISTORY OF THE OASIS
The Huacachina Oasis is and was for a long time a popular destination for both national and international visitors. Before, it was fervently believed that the waters of the oasis had healing powers. And it was during the 1960s that the city became a tourist center for upper-class people. So for a long time, Huacachina was the resting place of the country’s elite. But now, the oasis is home to growing tourism industry. The restaurants and hotels that surround the lagoon are composed of unique architecture. Most of them tried to replicate the Spanish colonial period in numerous surrounding buildings. But today, Huacachina is much more popular with young adults looking for an escape from the routine. It is especially for adrenaline junkies and thrill-seekers. But even those who are not interested in these types of activities will find something to enjoy.
LEGEND OF HUACACHINA
Oasis Huacachina is not only a tourist destination, but it also has a great history behind it. And there is a particular story that is part of the Huacachina Oasis. At the main entrance to the Oasis, there is a statue of a mermaid and a wishing well. The reason for this is that there is a particular legend behind the oasis. The story goes that before the oasis existed, there was a young woman from the country. She was looking at herself and combing her hair in a mirror. The girl was extremely beautiful and had made a pact with a god.
One day, while looking in the mirror, she was able to discern a hunter, with whom she fell in love. The god found out and bewitched her, turning her into a mermaid. This meant that she could never be with him. When God converted her, her mirror fell to the ground, thus creating the beautiful lagoon. All of her dresses flew off to create the sand dunes in Huacachina we see today. Legend has it that the mermaid comes out on full moon nights to make singles fall in love and take them to her lake. Huacachina comes from the Quechua language. And when translated means “the woman who cries for her lost love.”
ADVENTURE TOURS TO ENJOY IN HUACACHINA
The vast majority of tour operators and agencies around Oasis Huacachina offer tours of all kinds. But the specialty of the oasis is adventure tours in Peru. Many offer the possibility of buggy riding tours through the great dunes. This is one of the most exciting activities to undertake in Huacachina. If you are a lover of adventure and adrenaline, you will be fascinated by this tour. Most tours last approximately two hours and are fairly accessible. In general, shifts starting at four in the afternoon are the best. Since the heat is not that strong and there is still enough light to see. Many times you can combine sandboarding and buggy riding in the same route.
Around Oasis Huacachina there are numerous adventure activities to take advantage of. The lagoon itself is perfect for taking a dip and cooling off from all the heat. Although there are also rowboats to rent and navigate the lagoon. But if you have more energy and are looking for adrenaline, you can enjoy sandboarding. It is one of the most popular activities around the Huacachina Oasis. In the small town, there are plenty of agencies and shops that rent boards. If you are on a tight budget, a hike to the top of the sand dunes can give you incredible views of the place. Enjoying the beautiful desert sunsets on top of the dunes is one of the best things to do. Make sure to bring your camera, hat, water, and sunscreen!
Sandboarding is one of the activities for which Huacachina is quite known. The sandboarding is a variant of the known snowboarding. The only difference is that instead of sliding on nine, we slide down sand dunes. The boards are specially created to slide on the sand. It is an activity full of fun and suitable for all audiences. Even the little ones can ride aboard if they wish. And depending on your experience on the board, you can enjoy different levels of difficulty. Even if you’ve never stood on two feet on a board before, other techniques make this activity suitable for everyone. Many choose to ride the boards with their “bellies”, that is, lying on the board. As long as you follow the safety guidelines, you don’t have to worry about getting hurt.
Another popular activity for adrenaline lovers is to ride on a Buggy. This is a wonderful buggy ride through the dunes. You will be able to enjoy a four-wheel-drive at full speed over a vast desert. Get ready for an adrenaline-pumping ride and buckle up. Buggy tours climb to the tops of the dunes and then speed down. Many tours within Huacachina tend to combine both buggy tours and sandboarding. You can ride the buggies to the top of the dunes and save yourself an uphill hike. Then you just throw yourself into your board at full speed.
In case you are not a fan of adventure activities, there are other calmer alternatives. For a more relaxed way to spend the afternoon, you can choose to enjoy the lagoon on a rowboat. You will find that there are boat rental options on the shore of the lake. While it is also a great way to enjoy the oasis if you are traveling with children.
Huacachina is conveniently and strategically located near numerous tourist sites in our country. From the wonderful Paracas National Reserve to the nearby Ballestas Islands. You can even continue your journey to the mysterious Nazca lines. The oasis of Huacachina can be one of the many stops on your itinerary in Peru. So you can connect this destination with some other places of great interest.
ALTERNATIVE TOURS AROUND
If you are not an adventure junkie, don’t worry. Oasis Huacachina also offers other equally fun tours. Being 5 kilometers from Ica, you can take advantage and sign up for one of the various tours through the wineries. The Ica region is where the vast majority of Peru’s wine and pisco comes from. Pisco is a kind of liquor made with grapes and the national liquor of Peru. One of the best things you can do while visiting Huacachina is to take a tour of a nearby vineyard.
You can learn not only how the famous Pisco is made and prepared, but also see the process of Peruvian wine. You will be able to enjoy the afternoon tasting a great variety of piscos and wines. All while enjoying the wonderful landscapes that surround the wineries. Being able to enjoy an excellent drink while touring the different wineries is a great way to spend your Peru vacations. Ica also has some excellent museums. One of the most interesting is the Regional Museum of Ica. Here you can enjoy a fascinating collection of ceramics, mummies, skulls with trepanning, and much more.
WHERE TO EAT AND SLEEP
Fortunately, being a great tourist destination, the site has many accommodations and restaurants. But adventure activities are not the only things to enjoy in the place. Oasis Huacachina has many excellent places to enjoy Peruvian food. From luxurious options to more classic ones, everything can be found in Huacachina. As for places to enjoy delicious food, we recommend Casa del Bamboo and Wild Olive. Please note that there is only one ATM in the entire town of Huacachina. but the vast majority of accommodations and restaurants accept credit and debit cards.
It is a destination highly visited by a lot of people. Therefore there are numerous accommodation options. La Casa de Arena is a popular alternative for backpackers. But for more luxurious hotels, the Mossone hotel is a great option. We also recommend checking out Hotel Curasi, Hotel El Huacachinero, and Desert Nights Ecocamp. And being so close to the city of Ica, you can also choose to stay in Ica. Both sites are only a 10-minute drive away. Keep in mind that Huacachina is on a popular tourist route, so from there you can take advantage and visit other destinations. Paracas or Nazca are two towns and tourist destinations that are relatively close. With so many things to do in Nazca and Paracas, you cannot miss these two destinations on your route.
“FAITH IS AN OASIS IN THE HEART WHICH WILL NEVER BE REACHED BY THE CARAVAN OF THINKING.”
As you can see, this wonderful place is one not to be overlooked. Especially if you plan to go through places like Nazca, Paracas, or Ica. We hope together with the experts from Machu Travel Peru to have explained a little about Oasis Huacachina. We believe that the best way to get to know this oasis is on your own on a personalized trip. If you want to start organizing your trip to the beautiful oasis of Huacachina, you can consult with our qualified advisors. They will be happy to help you make the trip of your dreams come true.