When I decided I wanted to go to South America my dad was very quick to say “Why the hell would you wanna go there?”. This seemed like a silly question to me, and I wasn’t quite sure why I had to explain this… but I started showing him all the places I wanted to visit… I showed him the Bolivia Salt flats, Machu Picchu and Patagonia BUT it wasn’t until I showed him Huacachina that he agreed that it was a pretty sick place to visit.
I was soooo surprised by how many travelers in Peru hadn’t heard of this GEM of a place. It is a freakin’ oasis in the middle of a freakin’ desert. This looks like a freakin’ mirage. It’s unbelievable and definitely has to be at the top of your list when visiting Peru. Huacachina is around 4 hrs from Lima (the Capital) so you can either go from Lima, stay a couple days and then head back to Lima, or you can do what I did and stopped at Huacachina on my way to Arequipa and Cusco. (For more information on Lima, check out my previous post on Top Things to do in Lima! and don’t forget to check out my South America Packing List, and Must Have Travel Items)
Alright, now that I have shamelessly promoted the rest of my blog, here are all the things you need to know about visiting Huacachina, along with some sweet photos (which lets be honest is the only thing 99% of you pay attention to).
Stay at Banana’s Adventures Hostel
This hostel is the bomb.com (Yes I still say that…. leave me alone). It has a private pool, a tiki bar, and comes with a dune buggy and sand boarding package. I was in Peru during their winter (Canada’s summer) and Huacachina was still hot AF. One day I was there it was something like 39 degrees Celsius, so believe me the private pool will be VERY nice, no matter the time of year.
Go Dune Buggying
The Dune Buggy tours in Peru are insane. These people have absolutely zero fear and will whip you around like you wouldn’t believe. Typically you’ll drive around in the dune buggy for about an hour and then they’ll take you to the highest dune where you can then try sandboarding. We went for the afternoon tour which was amazing because after sandboarding you drive back during sunset which is seriously breathtaking.
Sandboarding in the desert is something everyone needs to try atleast once in their life. Even if you’ve never snowboarded, surfed or wakeboarded (but seriously, if you haven’t tried any of those things what are you doing…) it’s something everyone can do. The best part is if you fall (and you will) you’re falling into warm sand, not hard ice so you’re fine. If you don’t feel like standing you can ride the boards on your stomach as well!
Go Camping in the Desert
This is an option that isn’t overly advertised, and isn’t really possible unless you get a decently big enough group together. BUT if you’re not too anti social, and you’ve managed to make a couple friends (I think they want something like 10 people) then you can ask your hostel to organize a night camping in the sand dunes. It is un-freakin-real. They drive you out in one of the dune buggys, set up some tents and a fire and you can sleep under the stars.
Go to a Pool Party
The great thing about Huacachina is that it’s this weird little “town” in the middle of the desert so there is literally nothing to do at night other than drink and party. So every single night without fail, a couple of the main hostels will throw a BBQ/pool party that goes until about 4am. This place literally only has 2 streets so you’re bound to find the parties within a couple of minutes of walking around. It’s typically something like $20 USD with unlimited food and drinks…. so you really can’t go wrong.
Sorry, I completely forgot to take pictures of this night so you’ll just have to use your imagination
Check out the Sand Dunes by Foot
The Dune buggys are a fun way to explore the sand dunes, but I recommend walking through them and getting a view of the oasis by foot. The sand gets insanely hot so just make sure you have closed toed shoes.