huacachina oasis peru

Huacachina: The Complete Travel Guide to Peru’s Desert Oasis

Peru has a hidden gem lying hidden in the dunes. The Huacachina Oasis offers all the sceneries a travel enthusiast and an adrenaline junkie would want to experience. The small desert town is located near the city of Ica. It has become one of the most visited locations due to the lush lagoon surrounded by palm trees. The magic of Huacachina is waiting to sweep you away.

Exploring the Huacachina Oasis in Peru

Are you craving for a desert escape? Look no further than Huacachina in Ica! This rare gem is located on Peru’s southern coast. If you’re driving on the Pan-American Highway from Lima, it will take around 4.5 hours to arrive at the oasis. If you are exploring from Ica, you are in for a treat – Huacachina Oasis is only 10 minutes away by road.


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The oasis began with the tales of an Inca princess and her transformation into a mermaid. The princess was fleeing from a hunter, which led to her shedding her garments and mirror. The garment transformed into a dune, and the mirror formed the oasis. The reality is that an underground water source nurtured the oasis. The natural occurrence created a haven in the desert oasis of Peru.

The charm of the oasis bloomed throughout the 1960s and ’70s. People believed that the waters possessed healing powers. Therefore, it attracted the wealthy elites of Peru. Luxurious mansions and high-end restaurants sprung up. Consequently, Huacachina, Peru, transformed into a playground for the privileged.

However, times have changed, and the place has increased accessibility to a broader audience. It is no longer the domain of the elite. The Huacachina Oasis now welcomes adventurous souls from all corners of the globe. Its allure has shifted from perceived healing to a chance to explore a diverse and unique landscape.

Things to Do in the Huacachina Oasis in Peru

There is fun for everyone (regardless of interests) in the Huacachina Oasis, Peru. You can never go wrong with the choice of activities found in the location.


The golden dunes are its crown jewel. They provide exceptional experiences for adrenaline enthusiasts. Sandboarding facilitators on the dunes will tempt you to carve down the slopes. Imagine the rush of wind as you stand upright and master the toe-drag technique for control. You will also enjoy the playful tummy technique while zooming headfirst on your board.

Dune Buggy Rides

The rides drive the excitement at the dunes a notch higher. Strap in for a heart-pounding adventure as you power through the desert landscape. Adrenaline junkies will like the experience because it involves climbing to a dune’s peak before plummeting down. The secret is holding on tight as you navigate sharp turns. Just bring your sense of adventure, and the rest will be easy.


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Paddle Boating

The lagoon will offer a gentle pace for travelers who want to enjoy the serene environment. Explore the heart of the oasis through paddleboats. The paddleboats will provide a peaceful way to soak in the Huacachina charm. Rent one and glide across the calm waters while enjoying the vibrant flora and fauna. This activity will allow children to experience the magic of the oasis at their gait.

Vineyard Tours

Dive into the region’s rich flavors with a vineyard tour. Peru’s Huacachina Ica area is well-known for producing wine and pisco. You will enjoy the breathtaking views of the vineyards. Sample the pisco sours and wines as you take in the beautiful scenes. You will have the opportunity to learn about local winemaking traditions.

Hiking the Dunes

No visit to Huacachina, Peru, is complete without conquering the dunes on foot. Hike to their summits and feel the soft sand beneath your feet. As you hike the dunes, enjoy the vastness of the desert unfolding before you. At the top, capture breathtaking views of the oasis and the surrounding valleys. You will enjoy the unending dunes reaching into the horizon.

Watch as the sun sets and a breathtaking display of beauty occurs. The dunes transform into a canvas of vibrant colors. This is one of the most photogenic moments in Peru. So, do not forget your camera. Hike up just before sunset and witness the transformation.


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The Nightlife

The Huacachina Oasis transforms into a vibrant party scene at night. Numerous bars come alive with music. Immerse yourself in the infectious energy of friendly people. However, remember to keep your belongings safe if you go to a party at night. If you prefer a quiet place, choose accommodation away from the central area.

More Activities

Huacachina has more to offer. Other activities to do in this area include:

  • Take a day trip to Paracas National Reserve to see the marine ecosystem. The national reserve also has an ocean view and archeological sites.
  • Fly over the Nazca line using a private plane to view the mysterious ancient lines in the desert.
  • Hike the Lost Canyon, which is 70 kilometers from Ica. No direct public transportation will take you there, but a tour company will gladly do that.

Best Time to Visit

Visit the Huacachina Oasis, Peru, any time of the year for a memorable experience. During most parts of the year, the weather is sunny and warm. There is no rain in the area due to the desert climate. Therefore, brace yourself for a memorable session in the dunes without weather-related interruptions.

huacachina peru

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How to Get There

The oasis is only 10 minutes from Ica. If you are traveling from Lima, you can access the location in 5 hours. Reach Huacachina, Ica region, by traversing on land using these three options:

  • Taking a bus from Lima to Ica
  • Hiring a taxi from Ica to the Oasis
  • Driving yourself

Peru Hop is the only company with direct buses to Huacachina, Ica. The buses operate from Lima, Cusco, Paracas, and Nazca. They will take you directly to the oasis, saving you the hassle of booking a taxi from Ica. For the other public buses, you must travel to Ica and then get a cab to the oasis.

If you are driving yourself, set your GPS to Huacachina Oasis. The oasis links with Ica using a paved road. That will not be an issue with the GPS. It will only take you 10 minutes to reach the oasis. Remember to park your car safely. Don’t leave your belongings in the vehicle to avoid theft.

Where to Stay

Staying in accommodations near the oasis will give you a better view of the lush palm trees. Several hotels are suitable for all travel enthusiasts’ tastes, while many accommodation spots are backpacker hostels and hotels with bars and pools. Some of the accommodation options you need to try out include the following:

  • Desert Night Ecocamp
  • Hotel Curasi
  • Hotel las Dunas
  • Hotel El Huacachinero

During my last visit, I stayed in Desert Night Ecocamp. I paid 160 soles for a double bed hut with access to the swimming pool. The hotel has a bar, and you can enjoy the oasis’s beautiful landscape. It is a little expensive compared to the ordinary hostels in the oasis, but it was worth the money.

huacachina peru


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Where to Eat

Huacafuckingchina Restobar is a standout choice among Huacachina’s offerings. The restaurant has good burgers and delightful service. It is a must-visit spot for those craving a good bite and a stunning lagoon view. Restaurant Oasis de América is a lovely option for those seeking a taste of local flavors. It is renowned for its expertly boiled sweet potatoes.

The other places where I highly recommend you to eat include;

  • Wild Olive Trattoria & Guest House
  • La Casa de Bamboo
  • Desert Nights
  • Nuna Cocina

What to Bring

Are you planning a trip to the lovely Huacachina Oasis? Remember to bring the basics for an amazing experience! The trip requires careful consideration of essential items to ensure an enjoyable experience. Get ready to bask in the desert sun and carve your path through towering dunes! These are the items you should pack:

  • Sun protection essentials: Pack a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Do not forget your high SPF sunscreen. The desert sun is intense. So, be sure to protect your skin and eyes.
  • Carry comfortable attire: Lightweight clothing will keep you cool in the desert heat. Sandals will also be perfect for the oasis. Remember to carry sports shoes if you are doing sandboarding activities.
  • Water: Pack plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your explorations. Remember, the desert air can be deceivingly dry. So, take your water needs seriously.
  • One jacket for the evening: While the days are warm, the desert nights get chilly. Pack a sweater for comfort if you plan to stargaze under the clear skies.
  • Cash and Camera: Remember your Peruvian soles. They will come in handy when paying for your accommodation and the activities in the oasis. A camera is also necessary to capture the stunning scenery of Huacachina.

huacachina oasis peru

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Travel and Safety Tips

Peru is generally safe, but crime does occur. Practice these and you’ll have less to worry about:

  • There are no ATM outlets in Huacachina Oasis, Peru. Therefore, bring cash with you.
  • Beware of pickpockets in the area. Keep your credit card and passport safe while in Huacachina Oasis.
  • If you are taking a bus to Ica, be very careful with the taxi you pick for the rest of the journey.


Do you want to get a worthwhile experience? The Huacachina Oasis has something for everyone to enjoy. Sandboard down the dunes as you satisfy your adrenaline craving. If the sand is not your preference, the lagoon awaits you with a memorable experience.

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