Experience The Best Of Huacachina In 24 Hours
Whether you have two days or two weeks to travel, our Huacachina city guide covers the must see sites, local food recommendations, where to stay, how much the city will cost, an example itinerary, and how to get around the city - including how to get to and from the bus terminal.
Huacachina is a small desert oasis, located 5 hours south of Lima and 3 hours north of Nazca - where you find the famous ancient Nazca Lines. Huacachina is unique, quant, and adventure filled; made famous by the Dune Buggy and Sandboarding tours. Huacachina has a permanent population of around 100, though many thousands of tourists visit each year. The town is built around a small natural lake called the "oasis of America" and according to local legends, the water and mud from the lake has healing powers. All in all, Huacachina is worth your time when you are backpacking around Peru. If you're looking to party, go on a Pisco tour, take a wild ride on a dune buggy and sandboard down huge desert mountains, or relax near a lake, this unique town will certainly leave you with lasting memories.
Getting To & From The Bus Terminal in Ica
There is no airport in Ica (aside from a private one used mainly for pilot training), and if there were flights, they would probably be expensive - as most flights in South America are. Chances are you are exploring Peru overland, meaning via bus. There is a plethora of bus companies that cater to tourists and locals alike. Buses bound for Huacachina stop just shy in a nearby city called Ica. In many cities in Peru, including Ica, there is not a distinct bus terminal. The bus companies all have there own buildings where most of them depart and arrive. With that being said, Ica is a mere 5 minutes away from Huacachina - it is just on the other side of some sand dunes.
Therefore, there is just 1 way to get into Huacachina from Ica (aside from walking or hitchhiking):
1. Taxi: The journey takes just 5 minutes to Huacachina from Ica.
Cost: one-way trip will cost around 10 SOL ($3.00 USD)
First Things First - Where To Eat/Drink?
Must-See's Of Huacachina
Huacachina is an adorable little town situated in the middle of sand dunes just outside of Ica. This tiny town can be explored and mastered in 24 hours. Here are the must see sights of Huacachina that you can explore and conquer. There are 4 must see attractions in the city that have come to define its wide spread popularity. From the iconic sand dunes, the crazy discotheques, enchanting lake in the middle of the town, to the hidden side streets filled with cool restaurants and bars - it's all broken down below.
Exploring the Sand Dunes Huacachina
There are many different companies that offer Dune Buggy & sandboarding tour packages. You can find companies that will offer a trip for as little as $10 and as high as $100.
There are tours lasting only an hour to lasting most the day. If you are not staying at Bananas Adventure Hostel, we recommend you book a tour through them anyways. The tour lasts around 2.5 hours - 45 minutes of it driving and jumping over dunes. For the remaining time, we visited 5 different dunes where we were able to ride down.
You have the option to either ride down on your butt or stomach on a sled, or you can try standing up and sandboarding down the dune.
For more information on tour options, visit Bananas Adventure Hostel or Huacachina.com
Where We Stay
There are not many accommodation options in Huacachina. It is a very small town that consists of 2 roads in either direction.
With an overall rating of 9.2 on Hostelworld, "Banana's Adventure Hostel combines everything a traveler expects from a hostel. Moreover, every night booked includes 1 tour/activity per person + Breakfast. Activities you can choose from: Dune Buggy Tour & Sandboarding, Winery/Pisco Tour, or a massive, buffet style BBQ dinner." This hostel is essentially the place to stay among backpackers in Huacachina. The hostel provides guests with a nice and clean swimming pool and the hostel guests are always socializing, drinking at the pool bar, sun-bathing on the rooftop patio or planning a fun night out.
($25/night for a 6 bed mixed dorm - Remember, this price includes your activity for the next day).
Travel Tips & Helpful Hints
Do I need a visa? The entry into Peru for Citizens of most American and Western European countries does not require a tourist visa. The maximum period of stay granted by the authorities is 183 days. Visit Peru Travel for more information.
What is the power voltage? Peru uses 220v whereas the US is 110V - so your devices may get a little warm while charging.
What about smoking weed or drinking in the streets? Weed is not legal, though easily found. Drinking on the streets, go nuts!
Cocaine! Ok guys, yes, Peru is the king of Cocaine. Can you find it? Yep. Is it cheap? Yep. Will it blow your socks off? Probably. Just think about the kind of traveller you want to be. Is it fun and harmless or is it perpetuating the problem of drug tourism?
What is the currency and its value? The currency used in Peru is called the Peruvian Sol (PEN).
The current value (at the time writing) is 3.27 PEN = $1 USD.
24 hours in Huacachina Example Itinerary:
First things first, grab some breakfast!
Take a stroll around the lake and explore the streets leading to the dunes. Start early for good morning light - great for photos.
Try and get an early afternoon Dune Buggy tour. The sun won't be too hot and the lighting will still be nice for photos. Make sure to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, water, water, water, tennis shoes (the sand is hot!), and a plastic bag for your camera. Remember, you are in the desert. The little sand can easily get into any camera.
Once you get back from sandboarding, de-sand yourself and grab some lunch.
If you plan on going on a Pisco/winery tour, the tours last until 2pm. Once you de-sand yourself from the dunes, wait to be picked up for the tour, or head to the pick up location. Lunch is served on the tour.
For sunset, start your journey climbing the dunes for a great spot to watch before it gets too crowded. Or if you really enjoyed the dune buggy tour, you can always book a sunset tour, where they take you to great far away spots!
Head over to Bananas Hostel for a bomb BBQ for dinner!
After dinner, if you still have energy from the day, head over to Huacafuckingchina for a fun night drinking to loud music by the lake.
So What's It Going To Cost?
Here is how much we spent, and what we spent it on, in 24 hours.
Food: Breakfast: Breakfast was included at our hostel.
Lunch: We spent an average of $5 USD each day usually eating at the hostel.
Dinner: We spent an average of $5 USD each evening.
Total for Food = $10 USD each.
Beer: Between the beer we bought from the convenient store and from the hostel we spent about $1.50 per beer.
Total for Beer = $7.50 USD each.
Accommodation: Banana's Adventure Hostel is one of the best rated hostels in town. It is massive, has a great party culture and super comfortable beds, which make the value per night outstanding ($25 USD per night, per person - Remember, this price includes your activity for the next day).
For 2 people to stay 1 night, we spent $50.
Transportation (Including getting to and from the Ica): We took a taxi to and from Ica which cost maybe $3 USD each way.
Total for Transportation = $6 USD.
Activities: We basically walked around a bunch and found the free activities to do: like exploring the lake, watching the sunset, and exploring the dunes. Our 1-day dune buggy and sandboarding adventure was included in our hostel. So we did not spend any money on activities.
Total for Activities = $0 USD each.
So, What Did We Spend In 24 Hours?
$97 USD for 2 people. That's $48.50 USD per person, per day.