A natural oasis amidst the dunes of the Ica Desert, on the Peruvian coast, it is one of the most popular and impressive destinations in the country.
huacachina is a small village located in the middle of the dunes of the Ica desert near the coast of the Peru. Inhabited by approximately one hundred people, the small village is located just 8 km from the city of Ica, capital of the region.
Built around a wonderful lagoon, the small village of huacachina It is a very popular destination and has tourist activities such as sandboarding and buggy rides through the golden dunes of the incredible desert. The destination flourished in the 1940s as a refuge for the Peruvian elite and, surprisingly, only began to be publicized in the country’s tourism campaigns in the 1990s.
Also, a local legend says that the pond was created when a curious young hunter disturbed a beautiful princess while she was taking a bath. She fled, leaving behind the pool of natural water, which became the lagoon of huacachina.
The small town has a little more than 10 streets a few meters from the gigantic dunes and, therefore, can be explored entirely on foot. Surrounded by palm trees, eucalyptus and huarangos, the lagoon is the great attraction of Huacachina. Mbut the destination offers other attractions just as impressive.
In addition to discovering the unique beauties of the immense Peruvian desert, those staying in Huacachina have the opportunity to discover other wonders of the country. The close location with Paracas provides options for tours to the Paracás National Reserve and the Ballestas Islands, two important natural habitats for the animals that live along the Peruvian coast.
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Things to do in Huacachina:
– Dusk on the dunes
Undoubtedly, a typical and unmissable program in the destination is to contemplate the sunset on top of some dune that surrounds the village. Every evening, tourists staying or just passing through Huacachina, seek the best spot among the high mountains of sand to enjoy the phenomenon.
– Buggy and sandboarding
Certainly, this is the most sought after activity among visitors to Huacachina. All agencies and hostels offer this tourist activity, which consists of exploring the highest dunes in the region. During the thrilling ride, the Buggy drivers make stops at incredible viewpoints overlooking a good part of the desert, where sandboarding (a kind of snowboarding on the sand) is also performed.
– Walk around the lagoon
Take a leisurely stroll around the charming lagoon and find the best angles for the perfect photo. In addition, you can enjoy and rest a little in some open area that refer to small beaches.
– Paracas National Reserve
The proximity to the nature reserve deserves a visit. The attraction is located in Pisco and is one of the most protected reserves on the Peruvian coast. During the tour, tourists will observe some species of animals that live in the region, such as pelicans, seagulls, condors and even penguins! Another highlight is the incredible rock formations sculpted by the region's strong winds.
– Ballestas Islands
Finally, to take the tour to the Ballestas Islands it is necessary to reserve a full day for the activity. This is because the islands serve as a refuge for various marine animals (Humboldt penguins, sea lions and dolphins), in addition to being a migration route for several species of birds, which land on their rocks and find the ideal place for mating. The island is home to so many animals that, as a result, it has been dubbed the poor man's Galapagos/Economic Galapagos. The boat trips leave several times a day from the pier in Paracas and last an average of 1h30m.
How to get to Huacachina:
huacachina it is so small that it does not have a bus terminal. Therefore, the transfer to the incredible village is done in the region's capital. Some agencies offer full day tour options, but you can choose to arrive by taxi and spend a night at the destination. Another option for those leaving Lima is to travel to the city of Ica by bus and then head to the oasis. Thus, the journey takes an average of 4 hours of travel.
Best time to visit Huacachina:
Certainly, the destination is a great option to visit throughout the year. Huacachina has a highly dry climate and rarely receives rain. But, the hottest months are between April and October.
Where to stay in Huacachina:
Around the lakes there is a modest variety of accommodations where it is possible to stay in the destination. THE Desert Nights Hostel is in front of the lagoon and offers rooms with shared bathrooms, common areas, free wifi, restaurant and its own travel agency, which helps to guide tourists to the main attractions of huacachina.
already the Banana's Adventure, offers a swimming pool to cool off from the high temperatures of the desert and rooms equipped with private bathrooms. Other options are Hotel El Huacachinero it's the Desert Nights Ecocamp.
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