Peru - Huacachina

sylvia13Starred Page By sylvia13, 16th Apr 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>South America>Peru>Nasca 7 The South Coast

Here I talk about Huacachina, a village and oasis in the Peruvian desert. Is surrounded by sand and dunes and it is very popular with locals and tourists who come to ride the sand dunes. It is also close to the Paracas National Reserve and the Islas Ballestas. The oasis features on the back on the 50 Nuevo Sol note.


Huacachina serves as a resort for local families from the nearby city of Ica and as an attraction for tourists drawn by the extreme sports of sand boarding and sand dune buggy riding on sand dunes that often stretch several hundred feet high. The desert surrounding the area is beautiful, but barren and they have palm-tree walkways, but unfortunately, no camels!
The village is situated about 3.5 hours by car and between 4 - 5 hours by bus from Lima. Huacachina is the Quechua word for Crying Woman

Sand boarding and sand dune bugging

Unlike snowboarding, where ski lifts take you up to the top of the hill after completing a ride, with sand boarding you have to walk back up the hill yourself, which is not only time consuming, but also a very exhausting activity. If you take a combined sandboarding/buggy tour, the drivers will take you to the top of the dunes, let you sandboard down and then pick you up at the bottom.
A dune buggy is a vehicle with big wheels, and wide tires, designed for use on sand dunes and beaches. The big advantage of sand boarding and dune buggy riding is that both are exhilarating sports and that they are available the whole year round, so you don’t have to go to any location in particular to wait for the sand to arrive!
The dune buggy ride is much like a rollercoaster, as it is driven at high speed up and down the dunes, with people shrieking in delight (or fear). Although many tourists come to Huacachina to try sandboarding, others say they preferred the adrenaline of the dune buggy ride instead.
If you are not into adrenaline producing rides, then a slow, relaxing exploration of the dunes would be more suitable for you! With its sensual curves of fine sand, and its playful fusion of light and shadow, the desert can be a surprisingly beautiful place indeed. If you would like to explore the dunes around Huacachina but are not interested in raising your adrenaline levels or your blood pressure, then a relaxing tour would be ideal for you. For about 50 minutes, a dune buggy would drive you, at a slow pace, around the sand dunes to see the beauty of the desert and watch the sun set. This relaxing tour is also perfect for young children, who might be scared of a fast ride, photographers who want to take desert photos, as well as older people who no longer see the appeal of a white-knuckle ride flying at breakneck speeds.

Paracas National Reserve

The Paracas National Reserve is located in Ica, Peru and it consists of the Paracas Peninsula, areas of the coast and the coastal desert. The reserve’s main purpose is to preserve the marine ecosystem and protect the historical and cultural heritage of the indigenous people, mainly from the Paracas culture.
The reserve is home to many species of wildlife, particularly birds, which are largely concentrated on the water's edge. Near the entrance to the reserve is the Museo Sitio de Julio C. Tello, named after the archeologist who made major discoveries about the Paracas culture and it features artifacts, as well as information about the flora and fauna of this special region.
The reserve is the oldest marine reserve in Peru and it was first established in 1975.
On the Paracas Peninsula one can also find the mysterious geoglyph called the Paracas Candelabro, which is believed to date to the Paracas culture.
People who visit this reserve, often mention the prolific wildlife and the great scenery as the Galapagos of Peru.
The reserve is large and it includes many acres of rugged shoreline, mountains and desert. Those interested in birds usually flock to the reserve to see condors, pelicans, flamingos and Inca terns. Those interested in marine life can see whales, dolphins, sea lions, (or lobos de mar), Magellanic penguins, leatherneck turtles, hammerhead sharks, dolphins and more.

Islas Ballestas

These islands can be seen only from the sea, as visitors may not land there, so as not to disturb the wildlife populations. Boats leave from Paracas or Pisco they will also stop so visitors can see the drawing called El Candelabro, which is similar to the Nazca Lines and which is on the hill overlooking the Bay of Paracas.
The small town of Pisco is better known for the grape brandy called Pisco that makes the delicious cocktail called Pisco Sour.


Dune Buggy Rides, Huacachina, Islas Ballestas, Paracas National Reserve, Peru, Peruvian Desert, Sand Boarding

Meet the author

author avatar sylvia13
I was born in Lima, Peru. After high school I migrated to Australia with my family and did a B.A and Librarianship. I worked in a library and then migrated again to Santo Domingo and then Austria.

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author avatar Retired
17th Apr 2012 (#)

Sounds lively. Well done on your star.

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author avatar avery sandiego
18th Apr 2012 (#)

nice to learn more about Peru..i think I like the sand boarding and sand dune bugging!

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author avatar sylvia13
18th Apr 2012 (#)

Thanks jennyreeve and avery sandiego for leaving your comments! Those dune bugging seem to be just like a rollercoaster though!

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author avatar mistyleaf
19th Apr 2012 (#)

I want to see Islas Balletas. Nice article. Thank you.

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author avatar Rose*
16th Dec 2013 (#)

South American landscapes are so different from everywhere else. I'd love to go on a dune buggy adventure!

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