South America is certainly a land of contrasts, and travelers often get surprised to discover astonishing places they wouldn’t even thought possible. When you travel to Peru during your South America tours, for example, you’d probably expect to see mountains, llamas, amazing archeological sites like Machu Picchu and maybe some beaches. But when you hit the roads of this unique country, the huge diversity of Peruvian landscapes will leave you breathless more than once.
Visit Huacachina, a Desert Oasis in the Middle of the Andes
Only in Peru you can run into an oasis in the middle of an endless desert… just next to the foothills of the Andes mountain range! Indeed, this oasis has a proper name, Huacachina, a tiny village whose lake and dunes have made it a quite popular destination between travelers in the last years.
How to Get to Huacachina
If you’re planning to visit Huacachina, it’s almost mandatory to stop by Ica, a neighboring, bigger town. Most bus and plane routes arrive to Ica, and from there you can get to Huacachina after a 15-minute taxi ride.
Most travelers who visit Huacachina come from the north of Peru, especially from Lima; or from the south, in search of new destinations after visiting Nazca and its world-known Nazca Lines.
How to Get to Huacachina from Lima
If you’re going from Lima, the capital of Peru, to Huacachina, you have to travel about 190 miles between Lima and Ica. To do so, there are convenient hourly bus routes with renowned agencies like Ormeño or Cruz del Sur. It’s actually a short, pleasant bus trip to Ica, with lots of beautiful coast landscapes along the way. On the other hand, there are no commercial flights to Ica, so you’ll have to hire a charter or private tour if that’s the case.
How to Get to Huacachina from Nazca
To visit Huacachina from Nazca, you have two options: a 80-mile bus trip to Ica (the simplest option), or traveling in a private plane tour, in one of the frequent air routes between Ica, Nazca and the famous Nazca Lines, which are only visible from a bird’s eye view.
Things to Do in Huacachina
Once in this incredible oasis, that will make you feel a totally different experience in your Peru travel, there are quite a few cool things to do. However, most tourists who visit Huacachina don’t spend more than 2 days there, and not without a reason. Given the tiny size of this town, it’s really not worth to stay more than 1 night here, as you’ll be able to enjoy all the things to do in Huacachina in that time.
Aside from sightseeing and walking around this colorful little town, the best things to do in Huacachina are essentially two, and they both involve sand and desert, of course! Sandboarding is one of the most funny things to do in Huacachina, even if you’re not an expert. There’s a wide offer of sandboarding schools and rentals in town, so you’ll certainly enjoy sliding down the sand slopes until sunset. The other popular attraction when you visit Huacachina are the sand buggies. If you’re an adrenaline lover, you can go for a thrilling ride around the desert, jumping from dune to dune on a fast sand buggy, Mad-Max style!
If you’re not much into extreme sports and adrenaline, the tranquil lake in the middle of Huacachina oasis is the perfect place to visit. You can rent a rowing boat and paddle across the lake while you enjoy the beautiful scenery with dunes, palms and sun. Additionally, the nightlife in Huacachina is quite lively for such a small place, so you’ll certainly find more than one bar or club to mingle and drink some Cusqueñas (a local beer).
When you get bored of this Peruvian oasis, you can always take a taxi back to Ica, when there is a whole new range of things to discover. After (or before) you visit Huacachina, make sure you spend at least a few hours in the nearby Ica, a place famous for its wineyards and wine cellars. Some of the best Peruvian wines are produced here, so wine tasting is something you can’t miss while you’re here.