Huacachina Oasis Peru: Updated Guide 2024

Huacachina Oasis Peru: Updated Guide 2024

Huacachina is a small village built around a picturesque oasis in southwestern Peru. The massive sand dunes surrounding the oasis make this a perfect destination for adventurous outdoor activities such as sandboarding and dune buggy riding.

This little gem is one of Peru’s most alluring attractions, and it’s not hard to see why.

To help you plan an unforgettable experience in Huacachina, we’ve put together this travel guide on everything you should know before visiting the oasis. Let’s dive in.

Table of contents:

The Huacachina Legend

Huacachina is the only desert oasis in South America, and its waters were once believed to have healing powers. During the 1960s, the village became a hot spot for wealthy Peruvians looking to experience the magic of this tiny village.

As you stroll through Huacachina, you are bound to come across a statue of a mermaid. While there are several legends about its origin, one of the most popular stories refers to a young Inca girl.

According to the legend, she came to the desert to mourn the death of her beloved – a young Inca warrior. It is believed that, after crying for days, her tears turned into an oasis. One day, as she was glancing at the lagoon, she spotted a warrior watching her.

Frightened, the girl dove into the water to hide but when she came out, she found that she had turned into a mermaid and the robe that she had left behind had turned into majestic sand dunes.

huacachina oasis sunset

The Huacachina Oasis is beautiful all day round, but especially when the sun goes down.


How To Get There From Lima

The Huacachina Oasis is located just 5 hours away from Lima, near the city of Ica. To get there, you have two main options – go on a guided tour or take a public bus.

If you opt for traveling independently, it’s important to know that there are no public buses going directly to the village of Huacachina. If you’re coming from Lima, you’ll need to take a bus to Ica first. Cruz del Sur and Oltursa are two of the reputable Perivian bus companies that travel this route.

Once in Ica, you will need to take a taxi to Huacachina. There are plenty of taxi drivers waiting to take travelers to the oasis at the Ica bus terminal. With that in mind, it’s essential to be mindful of your surroundings and negotiate the price upfront (usually around 7-10 Soles).

What To Do in Huacachina Oasis

Once a resort for the elite, Huacachina Oasis is now a popular destination for adventure-seekers from around the world. While the most popular activities revolve around adrenaline-packed sports, there are plenty of other awesome things to do in Huacachina.

If you’re a little short on time, but don’t want to miss out on the experience, the Huacachina Oasis tour from Lima is a wonderful addition to your Peru itinerary. During the tour, you’ll be accompanied by a local guide who will take care of any challenges you may meet along the way and show you the hidden gems of the area.

Here are four of the most beloved activities you can do during your Huacachina tour.

Sandboarding is the most popular activity in the Huacachina desert and, trust us, it’s a lot of fun.


Sandboard Down the Dunes

The sand dunes around the oasis are one of Peru’s most unique geographic formations, and if you’re only going to do one thing in Huacachina, make it a sandboarding ride.

While it might sound intense, sandboarding in Peru can be a great activity for all levels of experience. If you’re a beginner, you can ride down on your stomach for more stability. If you’re more advanced, you can slide down the dunes standing up, much as you would on a snowboard (note that due to safety reasons this may not be allowed by some operators).

Although no outdoor activity is completely risk-free, in general, sandboarding doesn’t involve the same fast speeds as snowboarding or even skiing.


Ride in a Dune Buggy

The dune buggy experience is a must-do if you are looking for a rollercoaster-like adventure and spectacular desert scenery.

The buggies can go pretty fast, so don’t forget to belt up. Choosing a reputable buggy company or tour operator is important for ensuring you have a driver who knows all the secrets of riding over bumpy desert terrains.

dune buggy in desert

Buckle up for this speedy adventure in the desert…and make sure to hold on to your things so you don’t loose anything!


Because the buggies take you to the top of several dunes, this adrenaline-pumping experience is often teamed up with sandboarding stops for those looking to board down.


Enjoy the Views From a Paddle Boat

There’s enough to do in and around Huacachina, but paddling around the oasis is without a doubt the most relaxing activity on offer.

Going on a paddle boat ride is a wonderful activity for both adults and kids that doesn’t require much experience or instructions to learn how to maneuver.

At the shore, you’ll find a number of different paddle boats and rowboats available for rent. Once you’ve negotiated the price, you can start paddling and exploring the oasis and its surrounding boardwalk, sand dunes, and palm trees.


Take a tour at Hacienda Caravedo

In the guided tour you’ll visit the beautiful Hacienda Caravedo which is famous for its Pisco production. Pisco, is the country’s most popular liquor and is part of the national drink, Pisco Sour. 

Caravedo is the oldest continuously operating distillery in South America and has received numerous awards. Apart from that, its scenery is absolutely stunning.

In fact, some of Peru’s best and most prized Piscos and wines are produced in the Ica region. Here, you can visit both industrial and smaller, boutique vineyards.

hacienda caravedo with plants

In our Huacachina tours, we visit the Peru’s oldest continuously operating distillery. Apart from trying local pisco, you get to enjoy its beautiful architecture.


Where To Stay in Huacachina

Huacachina and the Ica area have a plentiful selection of accommodations to suit any wallet. Although there are a number of hotels and hostels to choose from, it’s important to set your expectations right before you book to prevent disappointment.

Here are two of the more popular options:

Wild Rover Huacachina

If you’re on a budget and like a good party, the Wild Rover hostel is the place to be. The hostel is mostly known for its lively atmosphere and fun pool parties and has some great facilities to offer, such as a bar, restaurant, and pool.


Hotel El Huacachinero

El Huacachinero is a more luxurious option that offers suites with air conditioning, an on-site restaurant, a modern bar, and an excellent pool. The location is central, offering good opportunities for exploring the oasis.


What To Pack for Your Oasis Trip

Huacachina is a pretty laid-back destination. That said, it’s still sensible to be well-prepared, even if you’re visiting on a day tour.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the sun in the Peruvian desert is very strong. It’s a good idea to pack high-quality sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.

On the buggy tours, as well as during sandboarding, be sure to bring sunglasses to protect your eye from all the flying sand. In addition, you might want to bring a scarf/buff to cover your mouth if it gets windy.

view of oasis

Looks just like out of a fairytale: the Huacachina Oasis.


Remember that the sand can get quite hot, too. Wear proper (close-toed) shoes to protect your feet and ensure a more comfortable experience in the dunes.

You may also want to note that a number of places in Huacachina only accept cash and the local ATMs tend to charge high withdrawal fees. Before you get to the village, make sure to bring enough cash.


Best Time To Visit Huacachina

Huacachina is situated at 404m (or about 1,325 ft) above sea level and has a mild year-round climate.

That said, summer in this area runs between November through March. During this time, temperatures in the oasis can reach 86°F (30°C), and this can affect the time of day you set out to hit the sand dunes.

During the colder months, April to October, temperatures at night can fall to around 50°F (10°C), so you should bring layers for the evening.

With an average of only 7mm of rain annually, rainfalls and storms are not a common occurrence here. During the rainiest months, January through March, Huacachina receives an average rainfall of just 3mm.


Our Huacachina Itinerary

Most travelers visit Huacachina on a day trip from Lima. Although it makes for a long day, this is still one of the best – and most exciting – tours around Lima. With our day trip to Huacachina, your first adventure is a guided tour of the Hacienda Caravedo where you will get to try Pisco, Peru’s national liquor

couple on sand buggy in huacachina

Make sure to get your unforgettable picture when doing the Huacachina tour.


After the tour, you’ll enjoy some lunch (not included) and head off to Huacachina.Once in Huacachina Oasis, you will get to explore the village, go on a buggy ride, try sandboarding, and enjoy the mesmerizing view as the sun sets behind the dunes.


Travel By Car

If traveling by car or van, your adventure will start at 6 am. Your driver and guide will pick you up at your hotel. Although breakfast is not included in your ticket, you will get a breakfast stop on the way to Ica at around 8 am. You will arrive at the winery at about 12 am.

group in huacachina desert at sunset

One of the most beautiful experiences in Huacachina is seeing the sunset in the desert. As you can see, our travelers love it!


Other Tour Options

The Ica region is a truly captivating place. So, if you have some extra time, it’s well worth it to visit some of the area’s highlights.

A two-day tour is a great choice for those looking to sample Ica’s finest as part of their Peru itinerary. It will take you through marine wildlife and allow you to immerse in unforgettable desert views and activities.


Paracas & Huacachina 2-Day Tour

Paracas is a charming fishing town located in the region of Ica. Possibly the biggest highlight in the region, however, is the Paracas National Reserve.

With a breathtaking mix of ocean, desert, and islands, the national reserve has one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world. Here you can spot million-year-old fossils, as well as wildlife such as flamingos, pelicans, and sea lions.

view of paracas national reserve

The Paracas National Reserve offers some of the most beautiful views of Peru’s coastline.


During the Paracas and Huacachina 2-day tour, you get to visit the national reserve on the first day. Along with witnessing spectacular landscapes, you’ll get to enjoy the stunning view as the sun sets.

On day two, you’ll head to the Ica region. Your first stop is at an authentic vineyard, where you can enjoy a guided tour by a wine expert and do some wine and pisco tasting. Afterwards, you’ll go to Huacachina for your next adventure  – a sandboarding and sand buggy tour at sunset– before heading back to your hotel in Lima.


Make the Most of Your Peruvian Adventure

If you’re looking for a unique and fun destination while in Peru, the Huacachina oasis might just be the place you’re looking for. From breathtaking sand hills to peaceful oasis waters, this natural phenomenon is a destination worth visiting for any adventure-seeker.

Ready to enhance your Peru itinerary? Check out the 11 things you should know before traveling to Peru.

  • 10 August, 2023 at 8:29 pm

    Interesting article. One correction, however: Huacachina is not the only desert oasis in South America. Pica, Chile is another.

    • 11 September, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      Thank you for this insight, we did not know that. Is it famous among tourists visiting Chile? 🙂

      Saludos from Peru,

  • 24 June, 2022 at 9:27 am

    This tour sounds like a lot of fun! We’ll definitely have it on our itinerary. Can’t wait to visit Peru.

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