The oasis Huacachina is located south of Lima, north of Nazca and just a 10 minute drive from the desert city, Ica.
How to get to Huacachina
There are many options to get to the oasis. Depending if you go from the north (Lima) or the south (Nazca or Arequipa) to Ica. From Lima it is a 4 hour bus drive to Ica and from there you continue in a 10 minute taxi to Huacachina.
The price of the bus does of course depend on where you travel from. Most of the common visited cities of Peru offers a bus to Ica. You can for example take the PeruHop bus from Cusco and travel through Arequipa, Nazca, Ica, Parascas and end in Lima including many attractions: hereby Huacachina.
A PeruHop ticket from Cusco is approximately 150$, but if you do the steps separately and only visit Huacachina, you can make it very cheap. Bus from Lima to Ica is 10-15$, taxi from Ica to Huacachina is 1$, entrance fee is 3$ and the buggy ride and beginners sandboarding are approximately 10$ for a two hour trip.
So very affordable. If you are going to stay for a night, a nice hostel will charge you 10$ as well.
Where to stay
It is optional if you are going to stay in Huacachina/Ica or you prefer to leave the same day as you arrive – everything is possible. But I recommend to stay there for a night. In that case, Huacachina offers many cozy hostels for a fair price with pool and breakfast included. Very recommendable.
How much time do you need in Huacachina
There are many options for staying a night in Huacachina or just making a day trip. If you would like the fully exotic and oasis experience you should definitely stay there for a night to get the cozy vibes and spectacular sunset over the oasis and majestic sand dunes.
It is also possible to just make a day trip from Lima where busses go early in the morning and leave in the evening from Ica back to Lima.
I recommend that you stay there for a night and that is surely enough, but if you just can’t get enough of the cozy vibes, magnificent views and sandboarding, then stay there for a couple of days.
When to visit Huacachina
Huacachina isn’t seasoned. In fact you can visit the oasis during the whole year. It isn’t neither the main spot for tourism in Peru like Machu Picchu which means a decent amount of people at any time. Never crowded, just perfectly fine.
Tips about visiting Huacachina
If you are going to Huacachina there are two ‘must do’s’. First of all the oasis offers a big number of agencies who will take you out in the desert in buggy rides. This is exactly as fun as it sounds like. Here the driver will take you up and down the beautiful sand dunes. Adrenaline will definitely put a smile on your face and you will surely like it if you are into speed and roller coasters.
Secondly you must go for sandboarding. There are two levels of equipment: beginners and professional as they call it. The equipment of beginners are very simple and you are only able to go straight down the dunes. For professional it is a bit more fun… almost like snowboarding.
You will be able to make turns and get more speed. As a bonus you get to have the extraordinary view over the beautiful little city – do not miss this! But it is exhausting to do the hike in the sand dunes by foot in the heating sun. Therefore it is possible to rent a buggy ride driver who will guide and drive you to the best sandboarding spots.
It is much easier and you will get lots of sand boarding rides, but it is of course a bit more expensive – depending on how many people you are, the driver will charge you less if you are 2 guys compared to 6.
What not do do
The oasis Huacachina is unfortunately also a place where you should be aware of a few things. When arriving to Ica and immediately meeting the taxi drivers at the terminal who yells “Taxi, taxi, taxi!” is a thing every traveller can relate to.
These guys are tricky – when asking for a taxi to Huacachina they start offering you a full package which in the first place sound very cheap of 20$ including taxi to Huacachina and back again, buggy ride and sandboarding.
It is very overpriced and he will probably forget to pick you up. Nevertheless, you are only going to sandboard and buggy ride for 1 hour instead of 2 hours.
Why should Huacachina be on my bucket list ?
The oasis Huacachina must be on your bucket list because it is a wonder. A contrast like this oasis is beautiful. The point of having a never ending desert in the background of a civilized oasis is speechless.
Furthermore, you have to experience a sunset of this kind. Standing on the top of the majestic sand dunes while the last sunshine reflects on the oasis and the dunes is just breathtaking. Don’t miss the oasis while traveling in Peru!