In the middle of the Ica desert in Perú, there is a unique place in the world: the Huacachina Oasis. It might seem a mirage but it is actually a natural oasis, surrounded by local flora and a place that you can’t miss on a trip to Perú. This post is all about Huacachina and its famous sandboarding and buggy tour.
↣ How to get to the Oasis of Huacachina
First things first. Huacachina is located just 5 kilometres from the city of Ica. From Ica you can easily reach Huacachina by taxi. The trip is about 10 minutes and the cost is 10 soles.
To get to Ica you can take a bus from other cities in Perú or travel by car, since the city doesn’t have an airport.
- Bus from Lima to Ica. Cost: US$15. Duration: 4 hours.
I traveled to Ica from Arequipa on a night bus from Cruz del Sur (recommended company).
↣ Where to stay in Huacachina
Huacachina is a small place and there aren’t many options in terms of accommodation. If you want to live the full experience and spend the night in a tent in the desert, I recommend you stay at Desert nights ecocamp. The rooms are tents (very large and comfortable), it has a pool and shared bathrooms. It is one of the best accommodations you will find in the Oasis so make your reservation in advance. I loved this place.
What’s in Huacachina? Huacachina Oasis is one of the most attractive sites in Perú. In the sixties, Huacachina was one of the most exclusive resorts of the country and at that time houses, hotels and a pier bordering the lagoon were built. There is not much to do in the oasis itself more than walking, visiting the lagoon or going to the dunes, so I recommend you spend only 1 or 2 days on your Perú itinerary.
There are also full day trips tours available from Lima, including the buggy & sandboard tour, lunch transport between Ica-Huacachina.
How much does the buggy and sandboarding tour costs?
The most popular tour in Huacachina is definitely the buggy and sandboarding tour in the desert. Huacachina Oasis is surrounded by large sand dunes, which makes it the perfect place to practice sandboarding.
You will notice that the prices of the tours vary greatly They can go from 30 to 200 soles per person. It is important that before you book a tour, you know exactly what it includes. Most of the tours include the buggy ride (in group) and generic boards, which are not the same boards used for sandboarding, but low quality boards which you can use like a sledge.
If you want to do real sandboarding in Huacachina, you have to look for a tour that includes the complete sandboard equipment (board,boots and helmet).
Huacachina sandboarding and Buggy tour
My boyfriend and I wanted to do real sandboarding seriously so we took a tour with Peruvian Sand Adventures.
What does the tour include? The tour is super complete. It includes the buggy ride,the sandboard equipment and a class so you can really learn and understand how the board works. This is ideal for beginners like me, who’ve never practiced sandboard or snowboard.
- The price of the full tour (professional sandboard equipment, instructor and buggy ride) with Peruvian Sand Adventures is 150 soles (US$44) per person. You can also choose ski-boarding.
The first 45 minutes are spent in some dunes located next to the oasis, where the instructor will explain the basics about sandboarding. This is the hardest part of the training because you go up the dunes like 10 times, and you get really exhausted.
Then the buggy adventure begins. You will join another group of people to ride the buggies with them.
The buggy stops at different dunes so you can sandboard. In our case we were the only ones in the group sandboarding. The rest of the people in the buggy had the generic boards and went down on their stomachs.
The buggy ride is really fun because the driver goes crazy in the middle of the dunes and feels like a roller coaster. The tour ends around 6:30 PM with the sunset view in the oasis.
We took the sandboarding class with Gerson from Peruvian Sand Adventures and it couldn’t have been better. Gerson is a sandboard genius and he taught us everything. He was really patient with me who fell all the time and took some great pictures with his camera. If you want to do real sandboard, I highly recommend taking the tour with Peruvian Sand Adventures.
Peruvian Sand Adventures Website: gerson-valle.blogspot.com/
Tips for sandboarding in Huacachina:
- Wear sunscreen. The sun in the desert is VERY strong.
- Wear sunglasses. They are essential to practice sandboard so you avoid getting sand in your eyes.
- Wear comfortable clothes. The best thing is to wear ankle pants or leggings so the sand doesn’t scratch you when you fall.
- Bring water. If you’re going to sandboard, the training part is really exhausting.
- Don’t bring unnecessary stuff. You’re going to regret bringing things that you won’t use. Carry only the necessary: camera, sunglasses, sunscreen and water.
Other useful posts:
- 2 weeks in Perú Itinerary
- Rainbow Mountain tour from Cusco
- Taking the Vistadome train to Machu Picchu
- Colca Lodge Hotel review
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