Sandboarding in the wonderful Oasis of Huacachina
I had the pleasure of taking a little adventure to the beautiful oasis of Ica, called Huacachina. It’s on the way to Lima, from Cusco.
I took a lovely Cruz del Sur bus, which absolutely blew my mind. I had gotten used to the comfy buses of Argentina, and was sorely disappointed at the quality of buses as I headed through Bolivia. But not this one: the bus from Cruz del Sur, for a bargain price of 165 soles (approximately $25 USD), you get the following: dinner and breakfast, personal TV’s, 160 degree reclinable chairs and wifi! The 16 hour ride was comfortable and luxurious.
Once you arrive in Ica, you can take a 7 soles taxi into Huacachina. I stayed at Banana Adventures hostel and was so glad I did. Immediately greeted by a bunch of poolside backpackers, you know you’ve reached some sort of paradise. The entire town is build around the lagoon and Banana Adventures is where most backpackers will go to swim, drink and eat. While the food is a bit pricey (15-20 soles for a meal), you’ll find similar prices in most of Huacachina, given that it is a complete tourist town.
The 4-bed dorm room for two nights cost me 95 soles, which included the two hour dune buggy and sand boarding tour (which is normally 35 soles), so the room ended up being 30 soles per night. A good price, with the exception that the bathrooms were shared and pretty far away (by the pool). If possible, try and get a room with a bathroom.
The first night, I climbed up the dunes and watched the sun set. An excellent idea. The next day, it was a pool day, followed by the dune buggy tour. It starts at 4:30 pm and you ride the sand dunes like a roller coaster, not knowing when the next drop will come. You later break out the sand boards and experiment with all different forms of going down the giant dunes: face first, legs first…and if you are really brave, you stand up. It’s exhilarating and the definition of the traveler adrenaline.
Read more: The beautiful and mysterious Nazca Lines
You can also see the Nazca lines, depending on your determination to be budget-friendly (and if you’re rich). It costs between $90 – 150 USD. An activity meant for the wealthier of us fellow backpackers. I hear it may be worth the expense if you are an avid flier, however many reviews from fellow backpackers implied that you couldn’t see them too clearly from the sky.
Huacachina is a must-see in Peru. Even if just for the sand dunes – how often can you see an oasis in the middle of the desert?